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Out in the country - Older lgb people and rural isolation

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Out in the country - Older lgb people and rural isolation

  1. 1. ‘Out’ in the country?: sexuality, ageing and rural isolation Katie Pratt CEO Equality South West
  2. 2. The 2010 PP&T survey Wanted to identify the real issues for LGB and Trans people in the South West of England:  Highlight issues specific to ‘sub-groups’ as well as those common to all  Bring the voices of contributors directly to readers  Assist LGB and Trans ‘equality-proofed’ policy making  Support LGB and Trans groups to influence and challenge local policy-making  Stimulate debate and further research ...
  3. 3. 362 contributors  Rural areas/small towns – 45%  Housing tenure: 52% owned; 29% private rented; 6% social rented; 15% no tenure         Relationship status: 34% single (17% civil p’ships) Income: majority under £25k (largest group £15-20K) Sexuality: Lesbian 34%; Gay 41%; Bisexual 14% Age range: 14 – 87 years Disabilities: 23% self-identified Race/ethnicity: 21 BME respondents Religion/belief: 86 identified a religion or belief Knowledge of LGB rights: 22% - ‘Very little’; 63% did not know where to get rights advice
  4. 4. Health and well-being  Top health concerns: mental and sexual health  Key health care issues  Practitioners’ lack of LGBT knowledge/awareness  Practitioner prejudice can lead to unnecessary health risks  Health and care issues vary between sub-groups  Ageing – Anxieties around care and support in heterosexist environments
  5. 5. Equality and Diversity in today’s UK Equalities in peril post-PP&T survey  Small state: cutting/privatising public services and access to justice  Localism: rule by local majority  ‘Cutting Red Tape’/deregulation (reducing protections)  End of ‘identity politics’ : Coalition Equality Strategy  Review of Equality Act provisions : reversing advances  ‘Restructuring’ the EHRC: threat to independence  NHS reform: post-code lottery in LGB and T provision
  6. 6. Meanwhile in Ireland ... Launch of govt sponsored ‘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) (Irish Independent, July 2010)
  7. 7. Conditions underlying rural isolation  Adverse social, political and cultural climate attitudes, policies, priorities  Scarcity of diversity awareness and advocacy in local councils, schools, communities  Invisibility of LGBT people - no effective challenge to status quo  Direct/indirect ‘low level’ prejudice  Lack of information about legal protections  Restricted mobility – for non-drivers/lower income LGB people  Lack of access to social/emotional support - family, friends, LGBT groups
  8. 8. Adverse social, political and cultural climate Rural Councils typically  Low spending/poorly funded - fewer/underfunded services  New responsibilities (HWBs and public health)  Councillors ‘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
  9. 9. Sexual diversity, ageing and a heterosexist world “The biggest problem I face is assumption of heterosexuality.”
  10. 10. Influence and invisibility  PP&T showed LGBT people more likely to vote than the general population  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... the assumption is that everyone is straight and has children.”  ... 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. 11. uffer t I will s tha sI “Worry similar a d i a or dement l get confuse from d wil l older an ntity which wil get y ide e about m oblems with th l r il cause p dignity that I w and t.” respect s a human righ a require a riting B ly w rrent Older LG cu “ I' m on rt ... t require I've repo e tha t wha pl peo nd from very a care ered I'm v disco ned.” te frigh “Old age... the prospect of be ing banged up in a care home w ith a bunch of straig ht old men is not appealing!!” “... it will not be too long before I will need residential/similar care - I do not think the providers are geared up to this.” “Getting old and 'heteros being exualise d‘ - th say, my age mak at is to ing my lesbianis m sudde nly invisible .” “T prob he bigg e le ass m I fa st hete umptio ce is n rose xua of lity. ”
  12. 12. Thank you

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