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LGBTQ+ awareness in advocacy

1 June 2023

Discrimination can stop people accessing support with their health, care and wellbeing. VoiceAbility provides training to empower advocates and the people they support.

The Learning and Development team at VoiceAbility have developed an LGBTQ+ Awareness training course for staff and volunteers. The course aims to help advocates and other staff feel confident when supporting people, and to promote a genuinely inclusive workplace.

Learning and Development Officer Anna Tabbush developed and delivers the course with other LGBTQ+ members of staff.

We’re creating a space where people can be open and ask questions.

It’s not OK to find out someone is LGBTQ+ and then start asking them intrusive personal questions, so we’re creating that space and saying, please do ask me.

We’ve had all sorts of people come along on the courses: people who are gay themselves or trans or queer in other ways, who are coming to chat through these things with their colleagues. We’ve had people who come in knowing absolutely nothing, who find the whole thing difficult - but then by the end, we always get a group of people that have a lot better understanding of each other, and really enjoy their time as well.

We talk about advocacy stories, we talk about language. We talk about identity and we just chat it all through a very safe and welcoming space.”

Why it matters

Anna notes that discrimination, or the fear of it, can put people off from accessing help with their health, care and wellbeing.

If you know that your partner is going to constantly be referred to as your brother, or that when you go into a care home, you’re not going to be given the same visiting access because they don’t really believe you’re in a real relationship - are you really going to want to pursue all the options?”

Would you have the same experience if you were straight?

The rights of LGBTQ+ people are still under question in this country, and a lot of us are living with the fear that our hard-won rights will be taken away. “

There are still ways that this is really does affect people. That’s why having access to advocacy support that is empowering and respects who you are as a person is so vital.”