What you can do

Conference explores equality for LGBT disabled people

  • Sessions on specific barriers including access to the LGBT scene for disabled people

  • Speakers include experts from Attitude is Everything, Social Care Institute for Excellence and Independent Lives

  • New study launched to understand the challenges faced by LGBT disabled people

An event exploring the barriers faced by lesbian, gay, bi and trans disabled people was joint-hosted by Stonewall, the leading LGBT equality charity and Regard, the LGBT Disabled People’s Organisation. The conference at Coin Street, London on Wednesday 13 April was an opportunity for people to share ideas on how to achieve equality for all.

Sessions looked at the unique experiences of LGBT disabled people, such as the difficulties that can be encountered when trying to access the LGBT scene.  

The group also explored how to tackle hate crime when you have multiple minority identities and the role of volunteering and community support. Sessions also reflected upon what best practice looks like in social care.

A new study to understand more about the challenges LGBT disabled people face was also launched at the conference. It is funded by the NIHR School for Social Care Research and is a collaboration between the Norah Fry Research Centre (University of Bristol), the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), Regard and Stonewall.

Following the research, a range of online resources will be produced to support LGBT disabled people, their supporters and social care providers.  LGBT disabled adults who use social care in England will be surveyed and interviewed along with study groups of personal assistance and support workers who support disabled people.

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, said: ‘We can only say we have achieved true equality when all LGBT people are accepted without exception. For LGBT people who are also disabled, or who have another marginalised identity, there are still far too many barriers to equality.

'We know from our research that experiences in health and social care for LGBT people can be extremely poor, and for those disabled LGBT people who have regular contact with health and social care services, this can be extremely distressing.

'There is also the fact that LGBT disabled people face barriers when accessing the community support which other LGBT people take for granted – such as local Pride marches, bars and clubs or social meet ups. It was vital we explore practical solutions together so that everyone, everywhere can be free to be themselves.’

Dr Ju Gosling, Co Chair of Regard, said: ‘Regard was delighted to work with Stonewall to deliver this very important event. LGBT people are significantly more likely to be disabled than the population as a whole, for a variety of reasons.

'However, this is rarely recognised, and very little provision is made for us. This in turn causes social isolation and increases vulnerability to hate crime as well as impacting on wellbeing. With the support of Stonewall we want to achieve a cultural shift, so that disabled people are included on equal terms within LGBT communities in the future.’

If you are an LGBT disabled person living in England and organise some or all of your own social care support and would be interested in taking part in the new study, please contact David Abbott at d.abbott@bristol.ac.uk or on 011733 10972. Further information about the NIHR School for Social Care Research: http://www.sscr.nihr.ac.uk/