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Out in the country lgbt rural isolation

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  • Irish Independent Tuesday July 20 2010
    Gay people in rural areas suffer isolation and discrimination and feel unable to fully integrate into their communities, it was claimed today.
    A significant number find it difficult to reveal their sexual orientation and remain in the place they were born and raised, according to a new national programme designed to support the needs of homosexual people.
    A top official with LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Diversity said mainstream services cannot provide proper support, leading to profound isolation and a heightened risk of mental health problems.
    "Many LGBT people migrate towards Dublin or other cities because they feel they cannot play a full role in the community in which they were born and raised.
    "Service providers - ranging from health to education - currently lack the capacity to respond effectively to the needs of these people, which can result in profound isolation and increased exposure to mental health issues."
    LGBT Diversity said inequality was a contributor to isolation for many people, including lack of access to services, especially in rural areas.
  • "It's about low self-esteem and the self-hating gay man. But the time has come to find the strength to face it and realise that, while it's not our fault this has been inflicted on us, we do need to deal with it." For Todd, realising he was gay at the age of 10 sent him "freefalling into shame".
    The toll? Increased vulnerability to mental illness. Social isolation is a huge risk factor for the onset of major depression, which has more than doubled in prevalence over the past decade.  And there's growing evidence that isolation increases vulnerability to various forms of addiction, as well. Social Isolation: A Modern Plague.
    Published on July 13, 2009 by Stephen Ilardi, Ph.D. in The Depression Cure
    Often when people are depressed they avoid social contact, so depressed people tend to become more socially isolated. On the other hand, people are generally social creatures who seek and enjoy the company of others. When infants and very young children are deprived of social contact, even when all other physical needs for food, water, warmth etc are met, they will die. When older children and adults are deprived of social contact, they tend to become depressed. Social Isolation can contribute toward many emotional, behavioral and physical disorders including: heightened anxiety, panic attacks, eating disorders, addictions, substance abuse, violent behavior and overall disease.
    Answer
    Social isolation is the act of withdrawing from society in general. There is usually not much interaction with other people, illnesses and phobias are major factors in social isolation.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2010/aug/22/gay-attitude-depression-isolation
  • Breaking the taboo over the mental health crisis among Britain's gay men Tracie Mc Veigh, Observer, 22 August 2010
    (Matthew Todd)
  • The ten dimensions of equality
    Life - including avoiding shortening life expectancy
    Physical security - including freedom from violence and physical and sexual abuse
    Health, well-being - and access to high quality healthcare
    Education - including both being able to be creative, to acquire skills and qualifications and having access to training and life-long learning
    Standard of living - including being able to live with independence and security; and covering nutrition, clothing, housing, warmth, utilities, social services and transport
    Productive and valued activities - including such things as access to employment, a positive experience in the workplace, work/life balance, and being able to care for others individual, family and social life
    Participation, influence and voice - including participation in decision-making and democratic life
    Identity, expression and self-respect
    Legal security - including equality and non-discrimination before the law and equal treatment within criminal justice system.
    Individual, family and social life - Including self-development, having independence and equality in relationships and marriage.
     
  • Transcript

    • 1. ‘Out’ in the country?: Focus on LGBT rural isolation Brenda Weston Equality South West
    • 2. UK Government initiatives and priorities  Small state: cutting/privatising public services and access to justice  Localism: rule by local majority  ‘Cutting Red Tape’/deregulation: reducing protections  Coalition Equality Strategy : end of identity politics  Review of Equality Act : reversing by stealth  Restructuring the EHRC : minimal control on govt breaches of Equality and Human Rights legislation  NHS reform: post-code lottery in LGBT services
    • 3. Irish government action on LGBT isolation Launch of ‘LGBT Diversity’ programme “Gay people in rural areas suffer isolation and discrimination and feel unable to fully integrate into their communities... “Service providers - ranging from health to education - currently lack the capacity to respond effectively to the needs of these people, which can result in profound isolation and increased exposure to mental health issues.” (Derek McDonnell, Programme Manager) “Young LGBT people who felt isolated in rural communities, and unable to be true to themselves, have often felt forced to move away to cities.” (Pat Carey Irish Minister for Community and Equality) (Report: Irish Independent, July 2010)
    • 4. What is isolation? What does it do? Deprived of, or withdrawing from, social contact  Social isolation is a huge risk factor for  The onset of major depression  vulnerability to various forms of addiction  Social isolation can contribute toward     heightened anxiety panic attacks eating disorders overall ill health.  LGBT social isolation is/should be a key issue for policy makers
    • 5. incredibly scene is to "The gay me out in . Kids co d ld where sexualise lised wor a this sexu and lots o f b ooz e ts there is lo re's nothing that's the of drugs, entle and ealthy, g just h relaxed.” a is ess he bas r opp on t to , asy ample s office ty of e ery ss ori ex es is v y, for harml a min expre ” “It g o y d. rit ino mingl llowin dom t lenge m e e a al f se r and ple fre unch o te s o ban ted pe ic view o big ophob hom T he i “(ag solatio n wor e 10) It begins s w me t five y as the in child ear then h b dow and s of m eginni ood: able n by so for kid y life. I ng of th c s no feel e par to talk iety. I ents sho w total for to m u ly . real ly u I don't y teac ld have let Mat he th b thew nders tand ink ma r, to m een To d y ny p d, E ditor the tr aum eople ‘Atti “I w e tu d e a." nt t o ’ a rel som e me ig mbe ious sch rs open o ly ho of the s ol where ta mop hobi ff were c...” “Y o sus u’re g dee pect. ay yo Th p in This u’re t e ma fact he ps is s alla de pa sho yche y p ram uld . reju ou be dic nt t o e.”
    • 6. Conditions creating rural isolation  Adverse social, political and cultural climate attitudes, policies, priorities  Absence of equality advocates in local councils, schools, communities  Lack of social support systems family, friends, LGBT groups  Exposure to prejudice , bullying, harassment, ‘banter’  Invisibility of LGBT people - no effective challenge to status quo  Lack of information about LGBT rights  Restricted mobility – access to friends, leisure, social groups and support services difficult
    • 7. Adverse social, political and cultural climate Rural Councils  Low spending/poorly funded - fewer/underfunded services  New responsibilities (HWBs and public health)  Councillors (mostly) ‘male, pale, stale and straight’  Limited equality and diversity awareness/interest NHS  Orgs facing abolition doing what they can...  Front line staff? “Never had a gay person on the ward...”  New NHS bodies – Council and GP-run LGBT groups – few and far between
    • 8. Exposure to prejudice and lack of support  “...The worst prejudice has come from religious friends and relatives.”  “...staff not accepting that I should be with my civil partner during discussions with a doctor immediately prior to a procedure...”  “... no practical support for young LGBT people in my area ... no social groups for just being able to chat with other people or get support for the little things.”  “Teachers would not take me seriously, and no idea how to report...”  “I was continually called names at work and physically assaulted, but was not backed up by the management, leading to a mental breakdown and ill-health retirement.”  “(police following an assault) just could not imagine or really deal with how I could be feeling as they were uneducated in Trans issues. I felt unheard, pacified and patronised.” Pride, Progress and Transformation
    • 9. Exposure to prejudice – PP&T  Experienced homophobic/transphobic incidents in the previous two years (68% not reported to anyone )  11% in school, college, university or in the workplace  16% in their local area after dark  12% in their local area in day time  Violence at home related to LGBT identity – (Over 80% not reported to anyone )  19% had experienced violence from parents/ guardians  26% from intimate partners  8% from other family members  2% from own or other children in the household
    • 10. Influence and invisibility PP&T showed LGBT people more likely to vote than the general population: for most who commented, voting behaviour was strongly influenced by candidate’s/party’s attitudes to diversity. But they are mostly ‘invisible’ to the politicians’ eye! “Most surveys don’t ask me about my sexuality ... so they have no idea and this makes me feel that they simply don't care... not once have they ever asked me about how my sexuality affects where I live, the assumption is that everyone is straight and has children.” “I am in the closet at work and in the community at large as I fear negative reactions.” “... the most isolated and hard to reach are likely to be those most in need of help.” “I feel happier writing an email (complaint), a computer feels less judgemental.”
    • 11. Knowledge of LGBT rights PP&T survey:  30% respondents ‘Very aware’ of equality protections;  22% had ‘Very little knowledge’  63% did not know where to get advice on LGBT rights
    • 12. Suggestions from PP&T survey  “more accessible information on MP's and their voting records re LGBT issues... take this down to District and Council level ... this is where decisions on services which have a high impact on our lives are made.”  “Schools need far more openness and tools to address ... homophobic bullying, abuse and discrimination.”  “Access to gay friendly GP practice ...”  “Specialist services that recognise being LGBT is a complicated issue in itself.”  “More counsellors with a positive attitude to LGBT.”  “Ask me about my sexual identity...not just my gender.”  “When sending through information they could do more to say that homophobia will not be tolerated...”
    • 13. What’s to be done? Priority 1: scrutinise and challenge  Check that local shadow Health and Wellbeing Boards acknowledge their equality responsibilities  Monitor how they, and Clinical Commissioning Groups are covering LGB and T issues in their discussions and  Check what evidence they are using in their Joint Strategic Needs Assessments  How are they dealing with issues affecting young LGBT people and those requiring social care in particular?  Find out how they and Clinical Commissioning Groups are engaging with LGB and T people  Draw their attention to failures to address LGBT issues
    • 14. What’s to be done? Priority 2: Check how rural councils, NHS and other agencies and voluntary bodies are addressing LGB&T issues in general  Are they publicising their responsibilities under the Equality Act and Public Sector Equality Duty?  What do they say about equality and diversity?  Do their communications indicate inclusiveness?  What LGBT evidence are they using in policy-making and practices, and how are they seeking to address LGBT equality?  What training do staff have in equality and diversity?  Do they include sexual orientation/gender identity in surveys etc?  Are they working with other agencies to develop services and share good practice?
    • 15. Discussion and questions?