Addressing the needs of BME LGBT people is crucial says new LGBT Foundation report

Published: 05 December 2016 Tags: bme, report, lgbt By John Walding

The needs and experiences of black minority ethnic (BME) lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people have for too long been overlooked and urgently need to be addressed according to the findings of a recent LGBT Foundation report produced in partnership with Manchester City Council.

The research explored a range of issues faced by BME LGB people in Greater Manchester, including feelings of isolation and alienation from the LGBT and ethnic communities resulting in low esteem and confusion over identity, and health inequalities faced by ethnic minority LGB people.

The report also identified that LGB ethnic minority people are subject to discrimination from both BME and LGBT communities forcing some to express one identity at the expense of the other. A key recommendation includes a call for the need for more comprehensive Equality and Diversity training for public and charitable service providers that acknowledges the intersectionality of characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Other recommendations include exploring opportunities to challenge racism in the LGBT community, improvements to demographic monitoring, and further research to identify the needs and experiences of BME LGB people including the trans community and asylum seekers.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Paul Martin, Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation, said:

“The report highlights the collective responsibility we all have to challenge perceptions of what it means to be BME, to be LGBT, and to experience multiple identities. There are great examples of groups and organisations which promote understanding across communities which are often assumed to be at odds, for example faith and sexual orientation. However, some groups and organisations promote discrimination against minorities, and we must challenge this rather than excusing it as cultural differences.

“We should also be alive to changing trends and demographics in our city region. Greater Manchester receives relatively high numbers of refugees and asylum seekers who are LGBT, in part because Manchester is seen as a tolerant and diverse city. We welcome these people into our communities, and must work to recognise and address their specific needs.LGBT Foundation’s Board of Trustees has identified work with and for BME LGBT people as a priority going forward. This report is a starting point, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with all stakeholders.”

Councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said:

"The report, one of a number produced in partnership with the LGBT Foundation, contains important insight into the specific needs of a section of the LGB community whose identities are sadly too often overlooked.

"Manchester is a diverse, welcoming and inclusive city and this valuable evidence based research can now be used by the city's service providers to help develop more effective ways to engage with, and provide support for our BME LGB community."

A full copy of the report is available at www.lgbt.foundation/bmelgb

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