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Regard campaigns to raise awareness of LGBT issues within the disability community and of disability issues within the LGBT community, and on issues which specifically affect disabled LGBT people. Each month we attend a number of consultation and other events covering a wide range of areas to raise issues which are of particular concern to disabled LGBT people. Listed below are some of our ongoing campaign activities
Working with the Care Quality Commission: the CQC is the new regulator and inspector of health, social and mental health services in England . It replaced the three separate Commissions that worked in these fields, including the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), from April 2009. Phil Gosling has been representing Regard on a number of consultations concerning CQC’s use of enforcement powers, involvement of service users, and registration standards.
Update – Phil has been appointed to the CQC’s new Voices for Equality and Human Rights Group. If you have any concerns around equality and human rights issues in your experience of care services, you can let Phil know at email@example.com (but sorry, Phil cannot help with individual cases).
Equality Bill: Regard
is responding to the lack of harassment provisions in the Equality
Bill. Click the link below to find out more:
A Regard Note on Equality bill.doc
Brighton LGBT Disability Action Group: The first meeting of this group took place on 14th January 2009. The purpose of the meeting was to launch the Action Group as a partnership between the Brighton and Hove Federation of Disabled People (FED - www.bhfederation.org.uk) and Spectrum (Brighton's LGBT umbrella group - www.spectrum-lgbt.org) to encourage development of a group in Brighton and Hove that caters for the needs of people who identify as both LGBT and disabled. Joanna Rowland-Stuart our Trans Liaison was there to formally represent Regard, and other Regard members were present. The notes of the meeting are at LGBT Action Group: Discussion Summary
The meeting was very useful and our next meeting will be on 18th February 2009 (times and venue to be confirmed). If new people are interested in attending please contact Joanna (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Alex Hawkey email@example.com who is the Involvement Officer for the "Fed".
London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
We were disappointed that there was still very little access for disabled people at this year's festival at the National Film Theatre (NFT). Even though we wrote to the festival organisers last year. The festival is a chance for visitors from throughout the UK, to get together as well as showing the best selection of LGBT films available. We are fed up with not being able to get tickets because we are wheelchair users, or not being able to access the films because we are BSL users, or need audio description where none exists, and/or need to be able to book seats near the front in order to see or hear and none have been reserved for us. Because of this, we wrote to all of the Trustees of the British Film Institute (BFI), who run the NFT, demanding better access. We have now had one very positive meeting with them about improving access to next year's festival, and more are planned. If you would like to be part of the group meeting with the BFI, or would like to know more about our work to improve access at the festival, then please let us know.
Equalities Law: We are currently in the process of responding to the Green Paper on a new single Equality Act (the deadline is 3 September 2007). Our response will be available here from September, but email us if you would like a copy sent directly to you. In 2006 Regard has responded to the Interim Report of the Equalities Review. The Review is intended to set the agenda for tackling all social inequality. Click here to read a copy of our response. Our Co-Chair Ju Gosling also spoke at the London consultation event organised by the Cabinet Office, and on a panel at the annual State of London debate.
Social Care: Regard is working to raise awareness of the needs of disabled LGBT people amongst social care providers and the Government. In the summer of 2005 we made a detailed submission in response to the Government's Green Paper on social care - click here to read it.
In September 2005 Ju Gosling and Phil Gosling (no relation!) were asked to represent Regard on the Commission for Social Care Inspection’s Equality and Diversity advisory group. CSCI is responsible for inspecting all residential care facilities, as well as social services departments. Ju and Phil are both service users, and will continue to raise issues relating to LGBT people who receive any form of social care. The group meets quarterly, and Ju and Phil will report back via the newsletter and website.
Policing: In 2005 Ju Gosling, Julie Newman, Lee Elliott and Charley Hasted represented Regard at a consultation meeting on policing the LGBT community. One issue we highlighted was the fact that many disabled LGBT people experience high levels of homophobic harassment and abuse, due to their isolation as well as their perceived vulnerability. On an ongoing basis, Kirsten Hearn, our LGBT liaison officer, is also a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority.
Access to Pride: We have been working to create a 'Pride access template' for regional Pride organisers. This is because we have gained lots of experience while we have been working with London Pride over the past 15 years. You can download this guide from our website NOW by clicking this link. If you are involved with a regional Pride, and wish to give us feedback on the guide, please let us know and we will respond.
Unfortunately, Pride London has become more and more uncooperative over the past few years. Access issues have become less and less important. Our 'needs' have been based on the Medical Model of Disability and that we need 'looking after'. Over the past few years a big 'festival' for Pride has become too expensive to put on. Many of the people previously involved with Pride Festival have become involved with the march instead. Before this, the march was under the direct control of the community. We have put together a report about access problems at London Pride. Regard will be presenting this to their funders and sponsors to ask for their support in improving access again. If you have any experiences of London Prides from 2006 onwards to report, good or bad, and you haven't told us about them before, then please let us know as soon as possible (our contact details can be found by clicking the Contact Regard link at the top of this page).
Access to ‘the scene’: We soon hope to be launching a new campaign to open up ‘the scene’ to disabled members of the LGBT community. We believe that the LGBT community has a much higher proportion of disabled members within it than the population at large, due to the physical and emotional effects of homo/transphobia, together with HIV. We also have an ageing community who have access issues too. However, very little progress has been made to open up access to LGBT community venues, despite the implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act. As a result, many disabled and older LGBT people are isolated from their community and are more vulnerable to homo/transphobia as a result. We will initially be campaigning in London, in conjunction with the disability organisation Artsline, but will later be broadening this to cover the country as a whole. If you would like to get involved, please contact Regard.
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