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LGBT Foundation announces new initiatives to tackle racism and discrimination in LGBT communities

Published: 06 February 2019 Tags: By Emma Meehan

On 6th February, as part of the first week of LGBT History Month, LGBT Foundation are proud to announce new initiatives to tackle racism within LGBT communities and improve representation and inclusion of BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) people in our own organisation.

A review, led by LGBT Foundation’s Deputy Chair Olivia Butterworth, trustee board 'People and Inclusion' lead Sharmila Kar, and Deputy Chief Executive Rob Cookson, will look at improvements to recruitment processes to increase the number of BAME staff and audit BAME participation in LGBT Foundation events, groups and services. Additionally we will invite stakeholders from the Gay Village and other LGBT spaces in Greater Manchester to participate and take concrete steps to reduce the prejudice and discrimination that many LGBT BAME people have told us they experience on a regular basis.

The review will run alongside LGBT Foundation’s LGBT History Month campaign around “hidden activism”, where we will be highlighting the tireless work of LGBT activists who may have previously been overlooked.

Olivia Butterworth, Deputy Chair of LGBT Foundation, said: “We want to be a leader in inclusion and ensure that all feel welcomed, included, and visible within our organisation and the wider LGBT community.”

“Focus groups conducted as part of LGBT Foundation’s State of the City report (2016) revealed that many LGBT BAME people in Manchester have felt unwelcome in LGBT spaces including in Manchester’s Gay Village , and have felt forced to express one part of their identity at the expense of another.”

“As an organisation that is continually striving for a fair and equal society where all LGBT people can achieve their full potential, it is right that we look at our own practices to ensure we are doing all we can for our communities. We acknowledge that as an organisation there is more work we can do to promote inclusion of BAME people and have therefore agreed this as a priority area for our trustee board in 2019."

“This review will ensure that we are not just meeting, but exceeding, our responsibilities to our community, and we are an organisation in which all feel welcome, heard, and represented.”

Rob Cookson, Deputy Chief Executive said:

“Many LGBT BAME people have felt invisible, excluded and unwelcome in our own community for too long. This review will put BAME people at the heart of solutions and look at best practice from LGBT BAME community groups and organisations, as part of our longer term ambition to develop a dedicated BAME inclusion programme.”

“LGBT Foundation is committed to using this review to build on our existing work - which includes dedicated spaces for BAME lesbian and bisexual women, and providing space in our Richmond Street LGBT Community Centre to those who need it - such as the incredible First Wednesdays group which supports LGBT people seeking asylum and refuge”.

The outcome of the review will be due in the coming months. LGBT History Month will be marked throughout February. If you have a story of hidden activism you would like to see highlighted, contact: [email protected]