Rural life in Wales

Findings from Counted Out, Stonewall Cymru's first-ever survey of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people in Wales, indicated that a large proportion of LGB people were unlikely to be 'out' to their neighbours or work colleagues.  This situation may be exacerbated for LGB people living in rural Wales where the lack of a visible LGB community can increase feelings of isolation.

This social exclusion was highlighted in the Stonewall Cymru (2004) assessment of services and organisations supporting LGB in Wales, Count Us In! The research illustrated how neglected and poorly funded LGB service providers were in Wales. 36% of LGB peer support groups reported no annual income and a further 36% operated on less than £1000 income.

The lack of community groups or a proper community infrastructure across much of rural Wales has made it difficult for rural LGB people to access services, and that can lead to many people feeling like 'the only gay in the village.' LGB people in rural areas not only have little access to participation in mainstream culture and politics but often no access to other lesbian and gay social, political or cultural events. This often leads them to leave rural areas.

Things may start to improve with the Welsh Assembly Government's recognition of the LGB population in Wales as a 'community of interest.'  This should lead to better provision for LGB services and increasing social and economic inclusion.

Look Out are often asked to comment on the Little Britain character, Dafydd. Dafydd is an amusing, and ironic character because he is almost the exact opposite of how life for lesbians and gay men can be in rural villages.  Whilst LGB people living in rural areas may not be 'out' and find it difficult to find other LGB people locally to socialise with, Dafydd exhibits, quite outrageously, his sexual-orientation and doesn't look for other gay people. The boldness of his behaviour is what attracts LGB people to his character.  Also, the fact that the village is actually full of other LGB people (including the lesbian bar maid, for instance), who Dafydd doesn't notice, is a reminder that invisibility is a key experience of being lesbian or gay.


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