Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual People by 2S82Ev


									Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual People
  In Black & Minority Ethnic

       Conference Report

March 2005

It is a recognised fact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgendered (LGBT) people from black and minority ethnic
communities often face multiple oppression: racism, difficulties
around a range of lesbian, gay and bisexual issues including
homophobic bullying, cultural and religious conflicts.

The Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Lesbian and Gay
Switchboard is a voluntary group run by volunteers covering the
Nottinghamshire area. Switchboard provides information and
support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in
Nottinghamshire and in adjacent areas of neighbouring counties.
The group also works with a range of other voluntary and
statutory organisations which have overlapping aims.
The Switchboard recognises that lesbian, gay and bisexual issues
in Black and Minority Ethnic communities is extremely complex
and something, which is often dismissed or swept under the
carpet. The gradual changes in attitude and the many changes in
the law, which have taken place recently highlight that it is an
area, which needs to be addressed. It was with this in mind that
a successful funding application was made to “Nottinghamshire
Community Foundation” to organise a conference for all involved
and/or with an interest to look at some of these issues and
provide information and support thus helping organisations,
groups and individuals to learn more about this subject.

The conference was organised in a voluntary capacity and was in
two parts:
  1. For any interested individual, organisation or group involved
     with providing services and support to Black and Minority
     Ethnic people. This took place on Saturday March 5th.
  2. Specifically for Black and Minority Ethnic people who
     identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. This took place on
     Saturday March 19th.

The conference was widely advertised in the lesbian and gay
press, on various websites, such as Switchboard, Bassetlaw
Community and Voluntary Service and the Safra Project (Lesbian,
bisexual and transgendered women identifying as Muslim).
Invitations were also posted out to a wide range of voluntary
organisations, community groups and statutory organisations.

Saturday March 5th

This day drew 56 people. Some came as individuals; some came
from groups or organisations. 35 groups or organisations were
represented. Simon Nelson, the Sector Development Officer for
the Terrence Higgins Trust and co-founder of the Black Gay
Men’s Advisory Group provided the keynote speech, which
highlighted the issues affecting Black and Minority Ethnic LGBT

This was followed by personal stories and presentations from
local support agencies:
     Nottingham and Nottinghamshire LG Switchboard
     Bradford Asian and Black Communities LGBT Group
     Spice from Leicester
     The Refugee Forum (Nottingham)
     Derbyshire Friend
     Gai Project from Nottingham

Unfortunately the organisers were unable to draw any Black and
Minority lesbians or bisexual women to share their experiences.
Women from Nottingham and Bradford were approached but
expressed great concern about being ‘out’ and particularly at a
conference where there was the potential of meeting someone
who knew them or their families. The Safra project in London
were also asked if they could provide a keynote speech and run a
workshop but unfortunately they were unable to due to the fact
that Safra relies on a small number of volunteers and they didn’t

have the capacity to participate. A couple of Nottingham based
organisations providing services for women were also approached,
but the organisers were unsuccessful in eliciting a response.

The Workshops

Five workshops were organised and the first three of them ran
twice. The workshops were:
   1. Racism and Homophobia
   2. LGB issues in Muslim Communities
   3. Mental Health Issues
   4. Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Health
   5. The Legal situation: Past, Present and Future

Each workshop looked at the key issues and agreed a number of
actions to be taken forward.

Actions From the Workshops

  1. Racism and Homophobia
        More education on sexuality needed
        Important to use a partnership and holistic approach
        Remember that one size does not fit all
        More and better information into schools: inclusion in
          the curriculum
        Campaign <> schools bringing in “minorities”
        Raise awareness of the new employment legislation

  2. LGB Issues In Muslim Communities
       There is a need for resources – written and other
       Access to resources including co-operation among
       Make use of existing research evidence
       Need for funding

        Need to raise awareness of issues within LGB
         communities: e.g. conference report
        Need to find ways to engage with LGB Muslims
        Awareness promotion is needed:
           - start young
           - generalised diversity issues
           - engagement with LGB Muslims
           - promotion within LGB communities

3. Mental Health Issues
        Need for training and better communication
          particularly about mental health and sexuality within
          Black and Minority ethnic communities: services need
          to be much more culturally aware and sensitive
        Support systems needed to help to maintain
          psychological well-being
        Multiple sources of support needed
        Need to move away from Heterosexism (where
          everything in society is based on the assumption of
        Visibility awareness needed re:
            - Black and Minority Ethnic
            - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered
            - Non-threatening images: there is a mismatch
              between projected versus “real” gayness
            - Need to change the negative media images which
              have a big impact on shaping identity

4. The Legal Situation: Past, Present and Future
       Training needed in all agencies because there is great
        ignorance in general on the law as it applies in this
        country. People whose background is from other
        countries where the law may be more severe could be
        equally or more confused.
       A holistic approach is needed LGBT Black and Minority

         Ethnic people may also be disabled, old, young etc.
        Policing in LGBT issues in BME communities requires
         cultural sensitivity, for e.g. not merely using
         translators, but training the translators.

5. Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Health
       There is a need for the provision of and access to
         specific services
       Need to increase awareness via training, publicity and
        other means among:
            - lesbian and bisexual women’s communities
            - professionals
            - resources
       Health promotion needs to be:
            - culturally specific
            - lesbian/bisexual specific

Closing Remarks

This unique day was very much about a beginning, starting the
journey and creating a foundation on which to build: a good start
has been made. Not everything has been perfect – lack of female
presenters/women’s groups and disabled people. However, there
was a good range of people participating and giving up a Saturday
to do so, which says a lot about their interest and commitment. A
few comments from participants include:

                  “ Generally raised my awareness.”
  I have gained “more understanding of issues surrounding BME
     “Simon’s opening speech gave a good start to the day. “
                   “Very good speakers generally”.
                “Too much focus on gay (men) issues”.
    “All of it very interesting – some food for thought, useful
                 contacts and a greater awareness”.

Where To Next?

   To hold the event on the 19th March – specifically for LGBT
    BME people.
   To produce and circulate a conference report ensuring that
    it gets to senior managers of key service providers and
   To explore the possibility of holding more regular
    events/another conference in 12-18 months time.
   To encourage different agencies to take action on the
    issues raised.
   Finally, that all participants play their part in their various
    roles by raising the issues and demanding action.

Saturday 19th March

This day was specifically for LGBT BME people and there were 18
participants. The day centred on exploring what support
provisions are wanted/needed, what is available locally and
identifying how gaps in provision could be filled.

The Bradford Asian and Black Communities LGBT Group gave an
overview of how their group was started, the need for a sessional
worker to organise and run the group and the advantages and
disadvantages of the group. This led into a general discussion of
the issues raised and also resulted in other issues being

Issues Raised:

   Safety          -      Particularly about access to the
                           Building, but also publicity material.

   Confidentiality, particularly an issue in smaller cities.

   Where do groups meet? Safety, community buildings
     need to be anonymous. Lots of complex issues, including
     confidentiality, and ensuring any paid staff and volunteers
     are aware of it, have it in their remit and stick to it.
   Representatives from BME LGBT groups must fell safe to go
     to the venue.
   Website with appropriate, safe links
   Training needs all met
   Develop a support group – political and social activities. A
    mixture. Also ensure links, networking with other groups
   from other areas and globally.
   Should there be a group where men and women come
    together? Not only men and a women’s group.
   Set up a group that brings them together and is Black-led.
   How to advertise and publicise it? Use of website. Only use
     symbols? Not words?
   Support system geared towards empowerment :crucial – black
    gay men good at doing gay but not that good at being gay.
    Need to talk about difficult issues – what are they, confront
   Need to be inclusive – LGBT. Much discussion around this and
    it was agreed that it needed further discussion.

Where To Next?
It was agreed to:
    Set up a group very slowly
    Gain funding to meet again and on going – Terrence Higgins
     Trust, CHAPS, etc. Fazal offered to do this
    Ensure it’s not London based – something is needed here
    Make sure publicity literature targets community it’s going
    Ensure information goes into clubs etc.
    Advertise on local Asian radio
    Learn from other groups: What has worked/has not worked

   “This shouldn’t end here to day. We need the ability to
    contact each other – politically or socially”. Agreed to send
    out contact list for those who want this
   Look at developing an Internet Forum
   Need to ensure that recommendations from the conference
    on the 5th are included in a report with recommendations
    from to-day and taken forward
   Need to look at childcare and other care issues
   Look at having a mail address for small groups/individuals
    who don’t want things sent home.

A few comments from participants:

                          (I gained…)
“Exchange of ideas, good fun, the sense that I have contributed
                        to something”

                  “Lots of contacts and ideas”

      “The feeling of confidence that others with similar
backgrounds can overcome, or deal with the same problems that I

                    (What was most useful…)
    “Listening to people talk about their experience in being out
                            and invisible”

                   “Meeting other BME-LGB”

                          “Equal rights”

 Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People in Black & Minority Ethnic
            Communities Conference 5th March 05


1. Why did you come to this event?

1. To gain more of an understanding of the issues facing LGBT
people in Black and ethnic minority communities. To see whether
I could learn anything to support our students within this group.
2. Because my organisation wants to engage with BME LGB people.
3. To learn and pass information to my community, union & work.
4. Networking – Ways to work with BME LGBT communities.
5. As a guest speaker.
6. As a lesbian I’m interested in issues for BME lesbians.
7. To inform and refresh the work that I do as a freelance
8. I thought it was promoting support groups among one for BME
9. Better awareness of barriers facing BME LBG people.
10. Work with HIV and people in Derby and services poorly
geared for BME people.
11. To gain knowledge and awareness of LGBT issues prior to
carrying out consultation.
12. Work in the LGBT support area.
13. Education. To learn about the needs of our coloured
14. To gain an insight into the problems BME people experience.
15. To get a general experience about homosexuality in BME
16. To gain more knowledge about these communities with the
aim to engage in groups in Lincolnshire.

17. To find out more information on the above.
18. Employed by an organisation that works with parents of LGB
people, need more understanding of BME issues and how to reach
BME parents.
19. Work with young gay people in general and work with LGBT
20. Professional reasons – issues raised regarding LGBT
accessing drug/alcohol services with regards to the “I Count”
Survey. Also leading on issues facing BME (specifically mixed
heritage if possible) in relation to substance use.
21.To gain more knowledge and understanding on BME
22. To learn from others how Sheffield Gayphone could support
23. To learn more and to be able to take back this knowledge to
my organisation, to enable us to improve our services to BME
LGBT people.
24. Individual interest.
25. To improve my understanding of needs of LGBT BME people.
26. To learn and network.
27. To gain awareness, resources and network.
28. To become more aware of BME issues in enabling me to use
this awareness to further my knowledge of LGBT lifestyles and
29. Needed to raise awareness and am interested in this issue as
I want to make my work inclusive.
30. For information and awareness.
31.To gather information about services. To gain ideas for
practice. To meet other professionals. To get information to
take to community and work place.
32. To understand the issues faced by LGBT and BME community
and take a look at my work to see if we have any gaps that can be
plugged in our service.
33. Interested in the subject.

2. What did you gain from the day?

1. To gain more of an understanding of the issues facing
LGBT people in Black and ethnic minority communities. To see
whether I could learn anything to support our students within
this group.
2. Made some good contacts.
3. A lot of ideas are appropriate for work and union.
4. Contacts. A different way to work with BME communities.
Knowledge around other groups.
5. Contacts. Knowledge.
6. Good networking. Interesting topics.
7. Ideas for integrating new information, contacts and a sense of
being “fired-up” again! Great!
8. Awareness of different groups and campaigns. Ways of
promoting awareness.
9. Actual facts from research on BME LBG.
10. So much about looking at the whole subject from a
different perspective – the realisation that our organisations
don’t even know that they are not doing, what's needed due to
white hetro worldview pervading.
11. Improved awareness of potential horrors which need to be
overcome re moving towards ensuring appropriate support is put
in place.
12. Knowledge of new group providing support for asylum
13. Knowledge and wisdom.
14. Very much! The talks were excellent and it was great
meeting so many new people.
15. I had lots of different information about this topic
(homosexuality), which I think was what I needed to know about
this issue.
16. Knowledge + inspiration + networking.

17. Some contacts for the future and increased awareness of
black issues.
18. Knowledge of BME issues. Understanding to local work in
Notts. Ideas to “borrow”.
19. Networking, advice and resources. Problem solving.
20. Generally raised my awareness. Got me thinking out of the
box, outside my own heterosexual perceptions regarding health
21. More understanding of issues surrounding BME communities.
22. Better understanding of issues facing Muslim LGB and their
religion, culture.
23. To learn more and to be able to take back this knowledge to
my organisation to enable us to improve our services to BME
LGBT people and networking.
24. Knowledge and further commitment to diversity.
25. Access to resources. Contact information. Approaches to
work to be implemented in my organisation.
26. Contacts and lots of knowledge.
27. Awareness, resources and networks.
28. Re-enthused – information, knowledge and skills.
29. A deeper understanding of the issue relating especially to
ethnic minorities and the problems/oppression they need to
30. Information and greater awareness of issues relating to
BME. Helped to answer a number of questions I had and for this
information gained to be used positively in my work with young
31. Information re: services. Ideas for improvements to
practice. Meeting people. Lovely lunch.
32. An idea of difficulties faced by LGBT in BME communities.
33. Awareness of a variety of issues.

3. What did you find most useful?

1. Simon’s opening speech gave a good start to the day. Very
good speakers generally.
2. Muslim research project.
3. All – need to be yearly.
4. All of it.
5. Workshops and discussion within these.
6. Being in a queer friendly BME inclusive space.
7. Update on law. People I met. Honesty about gaps.
8. Update on law/legislation.
9. The research figures from Dr. Yip.
10. Networking. Challenging my ignorance about BME LGBT
11. Opportunity to network and to be made aware of main issues
affecting LGBT people from BME communities.
12. –
13. Broad arena of speakers and the various groups that
14. The networking.
15. About Muslim and homophobia in Muslim community and
racism and homophobia.
16. Initial talk and workshops.
17. Information, contacts and awareness of black issues.
18. Personal case studies/experiences.
19. Networking/information sharing.
20. Keynote presentation and workshops from THT.
21. Discussions on mental health.
22. Learning how Sheffield Gayphone can support BME LGBT and
understanding issues facing Muslim LGB.
23. Everything.
24. All interesting and useful.
25. Muslim LGB workshop. Opening comments by BME speakers
Bradford and Leicester.

26. Well all really but Dr. Andrew Yip’s report and discussion and
case studies.
27. Resources and networks.
28. All of it very interesting – some food for thought, useful
contacts and a greater awareness.
29. All the information.
30. Workshops and the opportunity to get involved in small group
31. Meeting other professionals and information giving out.
32. The whole thing.
33. Discussion.

4. What did you find the least useful?

1. I’m not sure what I was expecting from the mental health
workshop and didn’t feel knowledgeable enough to contribute as
much as I would have like.
2. -
3. -
4. –
5. Not enough time.
6. Lack of women speakers and information based around women.
7. Bias on gay men; nothing-new there.
8. Racism and homophobia workshop (the discussion however, was
very useful). Emphasis on gay men; basically too male-dominated.
9. Nothing, I knew very little before I came here.
10. The law stuff was hard to think about application, but good
to use as a further training tool.
11. Nothing!!
12. –
13. –
14. –
15. Everything, was just great to be into it and involved.
16. -
17. –

18. Law workshop – too many dates and acts. Needed
information on actual situation/cases.
19. Lecturing type sessions –little interaction. Little direction
about where to go forward and how in relation to racism and
20. Nothing although would have liked to more time to address
specific health issues affecting BME lesbians/bisexual women.
21. -
22. Workshop on racism and homophobia – dealt mainly with
health issues. I thought it would be about homophobia in BME
communities and racism from white communities and how to
challenge them.
23. –
24. All interesting and useful.
25. Racism and homophobia sessions was “off the shelf” Sexual
health issues presented with a “BME dressing”!! No genuine
examination of needs.
26. Confusion about start time – I thought it was 10.00am.
27. Nothing.
28. –
29. –
30. –
31. Extreme focus on gay men with same speakers – although
understand this is their area of expertise.
32. –
33. Too much focus on gay only issues.

5. What do you think are the most important things that
should happen as a result of the issues discussed today?

1. Things continue to happen-that more people are made of this
day and possibly get involved with future events. Possibly set up
another forum for enabling discussions to happen.
2. ACTION - Create partnerships on making action.
3. Working together and contacts.

4. To have a follow on conference.
5. Create more dialogue.
6. Next one needs to make women more visible – more agencies
need to be aware they are working with LGBT/BME people.
7. Another event, regular annual conference? Regular events are
a good way to get better involvement and networks and
partnership rather than 1 off’ s and re-inventing the wheel.
8. More intense support groups, issues raised intense.
9. Pass on information and contact numbers to my co-workers
and to keep up-to-date of legislation.
10. Health promotion monies to be more appropriately directed
to BME HIV+ people and companies more accountable for meeting
highest risk groups. Better education mandatory in school.
11. This is first of many conferences but need to avoid becoming
“talking shop” only – need to decide on actions and see they are
carried out!
12. Development of support for people from LGBT communities
particularly where people are isolated or at risk of isolation.
 13. That members of the group will be “charged” and be more
capable of bringing about changes. Go out and challenge
14. We have been given much food for thought and we can all go
home trying to think of new ways to tackle the problems.
15. Basically, to be continued - more awareness, lots like these
until we see huge change in BME communities.
16. Reducing heterosexism, more awareness, engagement and
17. -
18. More education around LGB issues in schools. More
awareness of legal position.
19. Feed information strategies from main agencies and target
support for young and old LGBT – need for specialist services for
20. Action!! Follow up conference in a year so we can start
seeing developments.

21. Try to take on board comments that have been made from
the participants. Particularly education issues.
22. Networking and partnerships with other support groups
especially BME support groups like the ABC group. Future
conferences to look at work done since this conference.
23. Further visibility of issues and possibly a follow-up day.
24. Education and a raising of awareness in society generally.
25. –
26. Joining up/sign posting – access to up to date information.
27. Take recommendations back to Notts. County Council, Young
People’s Division to increase profile of working with LGBT young
people and LGBT/BME young people.
28. More inclusive – Directive practice, service, support for
LGBT people raising greater awareness of the diversity of
sexuality within society. Getting information out there and seen,
work with schools.
29. More awareness – individuals realising they can make a
difference – actively challenging homophobia – more training to
provide support.
30. For our questions and issues raised to be used in future
awareness sessions.
31. Regular updates and meetings. The opportunity to be more
32. Bio-psycho-social partnerships introduced to improve access
to services.

6. Any general comments about the day?

1. Very good – lunch was very enjoyable. Sessions weren’t too
long and information was well received.
2. Good. Began an important process.
3. I enjoyed the event and would wish for more like this in other
4. Very good

5. –
6. Thanks for the hard work in organising it today.
7. Thank you for making it happen, it’s a great starting point. I’d
love to be a part of keeping it going. Well done.
8. Food – have a choice of vegetarian and gluten-free veggie
9. Structure of day –very good. Research was a little rushed but
very useful.
10. Fantastic – emotive as well.
11. Excellent day, would have liked to have been able to go to all
workshops. Hope there are more conferences and more BME
LGBT people are confident, comfortable about attending.
12. –
13. Lovely lunch! Thank you.
14. It was a very good day, I have learned something (well quite
a lot actually!) and if you have another “day” I would look
forward to coming. Thank you.
15. It was absolutely fantastic! And thanks to the organisers
and volunteers who enabled this to happen.
16. Excellent – really informative.
17. -
18. Very good-learnt loads.
19. Very, very worthwhile. Thanks for organising it.
20. Good day. Didn’t mind giving up a Saturday because I got
something out of it. Can’t remember the last time I stayed at a
conference until the end!!
21. Thank you for a very successful day. Good trainers
important issues discussed. Lots of ideas to take away.
22. Fantastic – congratulations to all concerned and I wish we
thought of it first!
23. Why is the second session only available for BME LGBT
24. A good day, interesting work, interesting people.
25. In general very good. I can take useful points and
information back.

26. All was useful and a great lunch! Organisation – excellent!
Thank you to everyone.
27. A good start – more please and charge statutory
organisations more/something.
28. Very interesting, informative. However a lot of information
to take- in, in the time provided. MU workshop could have
required more time.
29. Well thought out and planned.
30. –
31. Great day – thank you! Well put together and presented.
32. As an independent. It appeared the day was focussed only
on gay issues in BME community. I’m sure some discussion on
lesbian and bi-sexual and transgender would have made the whole
event more inclusive.
33. Well done.

  Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual People in Black & Minority Ethnic
         Communities Conference – 19th March 2005

1. Why did you come to this event?

1. I was asked by the Project Worker of my Group
2. To learn
3. For my work as Black Members Proud PCS LGBT
4. I hoped to meet other LGB black people – It was not the event
I thought it was – I expected less people representing groups and
agencies (I thought that was the last workshop) and more
ordinary folks like me with a range of experiences etc. which may
have led to setting up of more local groups and activities
5. To network. To learn from others
6. To find support, share ideas, give support
7. Invited as a speaker
8. Just out of interest

9. To meet other Muslim gays – I had wanted to attend last
weeks meeting – to find out information about support networks
10. Came to get information on LGBT
11. To support what needs to happen in Nottingham
12. To mix with other ethnic gay/lesbians

2. What did you gain from the day?

1. Exchange of ideas, good fun, the sense that I have
contributed to something
2. Validated some of the issues identified in my research into
sexuality, race and religion
3. More ideas of the needs of the community
4. Very little
5. Other peoples’ views, contacts and the importance of BME-
LGBT issues
6. To find support, share ideas, give support
7. Contacts, insight into other BME LGBT’s issues
8. Networking
9. –
10. Some experience of communication group work
11. Lots of contacts and ideas
12. The feeling of confidence that others with similar
backgrounds can overcome, or deal with the same problems that I

3. What did you find most useful?

1. The general discussion/s
2. Listening to people talk about their experience in being out
and invisible
3. Links – ideas
4. Listening to activities of groups/organisations from Bradford.
Information giving was useful
5. All of it
6. Discussion led by Shirley, towards the end on ‘what’s next?’

7. Open discussions - leads to gaining more/new ideas
8. Meeting other BME-LGB
9. –
10. Equal rights
11. All of it
12. The group discussions

4. What did you find least useful?

1. Not applicable
2. –
3. The very short day compared to the first day. Needed more
4. I hoped to meet other LGB black people – It was not the event
I thought it was – I expected less people representing groups and
agencies (I thought that was the last workshop) and more
ordinary folks like me with a range of experiences etc. which may
have led to setting up of more local groups and activities
5. None
6. Can’t think of anything
7. Amount of time
8. –
9. –
10. Political issues and discrimination
11. None of it
12. -

5. What do you think are the most important things that
should happen as a result of the issues discussed to day?

1. This should be the genesis of a support group network for
black and Asian LGBT
2. People be empowered and do something to support others
3. Yes, a follow up

5. More gatherings and political issues to be covered also to
break taboos and myths within BME communities
6. Follow up – reaching out to others who are not
comfortable/not feeling safe about their sexuality. More
7. This is a start. We should meet again and take a step at a
8. Need to get hold of more BME in Nottingham
9. As discussed on the overlay posters
10. Making sure that LGBT is being run by black people,
11. We need to keeping contact and move forward together
12. Keep communication going between groups from different

6. Any general comments about the day?

1. Thanks for the food!
2. –
3. Maybe more seminar workshops in areas and how to move
4. I hoped to meet other LGB black people – It was not the event
I thought it was – I expected less people representing groups and
agencies (I thought that was the last workshop) and more
ordinary folks like me with a range of experiences etc. which may
have led to setting up of more local groups and activities. Also – it
was a shame there were few people from Nottingham.
5. Would have liked a full day, lots to cover not enough time
6. Wheat-free diet (?). Thank you for organizing!
7. Wonderful food, location, company
8. We need more
9. –
10. Was good! Really good!
11. –
12. Better than expected


To top