Rural Life in Wales

As the National Census questions do not cover sexual orientation, there is no evidence that there are more LGB people living in urban than rural parts of Wales. Anecdotally we know that sexual orientation affects life choices and many young LGB people will migrate to cities to live - in Wales or England - and meet up with other LGB people.

Cardiff and Swansea now have a number of commercial gay venues, an annual Mardi Gras and some social and support groups. But Wales is a nation with only a few major cities and more smaller and geographically remote towns and villages. Rural areas often operate on an extensive and family system of support and the quality of life for a LGB person can depend on the nature of their relationship with these systems. When this relationship breaks down or a LGB person feels unable to come out life can be very isolated and marginalised for that LGB person.

The gathering of statistics on sexual orientation is directly related to the number of LGB people who feel safe enough to be 'out' and counted. Evidence shows that there are more out and accessible LGB people in urban areas, but it does not tell us whether more LGB live in urban areas or whether more or less LGB people were born in urban or rural areas.

Stonewall Cymru's Counted Out 2003 survey of LGB people which suffered from the difficulties of dissemination across rural areas accessed people through internal networks and at the Cardiff Mardi Gras and found that of the 354 respondents in Wales:
62% gay men and 47% of lesbians lived in the South, 22% of gay men and 42% of lesbians lived in the Mid and 16% of gay men and 11% of lesbians lived in the North - but these figures may be effected by these difficulties of identity and access.

A report by Health Promotion Wales in October 1995:

It might be hypothesised that whilst gay men migrate to the city in search of anonymity and a less hostile and more supportive environment, women seek anonymity in rural settings.

'Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles in Wales: Implications for Health Promotion' - Technical Report 15

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