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LGBTI Recovery Fund

We’re pleased to announce the £20,000 LGBTI Recovery Fund. 

So far during the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve been able to distribute almost £120,000 directly to LGBTI groups and organisations across Scotland to support their efforts in COVID-19 relief and resilience.

We hope this further £20,000 fund will help in the recovery of LGBTI groups providing vital support to LGBTI people across the country. 

The LGBTI Recovery Fund is made possible through funding from the Scottish Government Communities Recovery Fund.

We will be working over the next few weeks to set criteria and commence distribution of the funding to where it is needed. LGBTI organisations and groups in Scotland can express interest in the available funding here.

Should you have any questions about the fund please contact scott@equality-network.org

Announcing new Scottish Trans Alliance Manager

We’re very sorry to say that James Morton has stepped down as Scottish Trans Alliance Manager, in order to take on a new career opportunity. James has led the STA since it began in 2007, and has grown it to four staff with a leadership role on trans equality in Scotland, so we will really miss him.

James will continue to work part-time for Scottish Trans Alliance as a consultant, for a few months, so he will still be around and helping us! Over the past few weeks, we have conducted an internal recruitment process to fill the STA Manager post, which completed last week.

We are very happy to say that we have appointed Vic Valentine as the new Scottish Trans Alliance Manager, starting from today. Vic was previously a Scottish Trans Alliance Policy Officer. Our recruitment panel, our Board and our staff team are confident that Vic will do a great job!

We’ve three new free training sessions this month – sign up now

These new training sessions taking place in October are free and help LGBTI people support each other as Covid restrictions continue. Please register using the links below.

Improving online LGBTI meetings

https://www.outsavvy.com/event/5140/improving-online-meetings

Online gatherings are here to stay. While many of us are familiar with the mechanics of platforms like Zoom, how confident are we with making sure that online gatherings are a safe, comfortable and empowering experience for all participants? This session will show you how to interact with your participants in more constructive ways than just watching a face on-screen and wondering if they’re actually wearing trousers.

This training session is being run twice on Zoom. You can choose between Monday 12th October (7pm-8:30pm) or Wednesday 14th October (7pm-8:30pm). PDF of the PowerPoint slides for the effective online meetings training session.

LGBTI groups and coping with Covid local lockdown uncertainties

https://www.outsavvy.com/event/5141/coping-with-covid-uncertainties

The ongoing risks of Covid, fluctuating Government rules and temporary local area lockdowns mean that in some ways we are living through a time of greater anxiety and uncertainty for many people than full lockdown was. There are questions about safety, social distancing, and what future small group meetings will be legal. As we face several more months of fluctuating restrictions, this session will help you think about the best ways to support your LGBTI group members to cope with Covid uncertainties.

This training session is being run twice on Zoom. You can choose between Monday 19th October (7pm-8:30pm) or Wednesday 21st October (7pm-8:30pm). PDF of the PowerPoint slides for the LGBTI groups and coping with Covid lockdown training session.

Organising LGBTI events in a socially distanced world

https://www.outsavvy.com/event/5145/events-in-a-socially-distanced-world

Events are important to LGBTI communities, both in terms of fostering a community spirit and sense of belonging and in terms of challenging discrimination and raising public awareness of LGBTI rights. With fluctuating Covid restrictions and a number of unknowns, how do we start thinking about future events such as LGBTI group meetings, conferences, training events, Prides and protests for the next several months? This session will help you plan successful community events in a complex and unpredictable year.

This training session is being run twice on Zoom. You can choose between Monday 26th October (7pm-8:30pm) or Wednesday 28th October (7pm-8:30pm). PDF of the PowerPoint slides for the events in a socially distanced world training session.

LGBTQ Fund – Apply

Apply for a grant for your LGBTQ+ led group or organisation
 

 

**Applications to this fund have now closed**

About the Fund

The LGBTQ+ COVID-19 Fund is funded by Comic Relief, and METRO is the lead intermediary partner distributing these funds to the sector, with Equality Network as the Scottish delivery partner.

The Fund will operate in every nation of the UK, and its delivery will be supported by delivery partners in each nation.

Other delivery partners are:

  • NAZ
  • The Rainbow Project
  • Umbrella Cymru
  • Yorkshire MESMAC
  • Birmingham LGBT

The Fund is for LGBTQ+ community-led organisations and groups to support their vital role in supporting LGBTQ+ communities through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Five regional panels will assess and allocate the funds.

The five Panels will be for the following areas:

  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wales
  • North and Midlands of England
  • South of England

Are we eligible to apply?

Applications are open to groups and organisations with an annual turnover under £100,000.

Your group or organisation must also:

  • Consist of 3 or more people
  • Be led by LGBTQ+ staff or volunteers (if you are a group within a larger organisation, then the staff/volunteers leading on this proposed project should identify as LGBTQ+)
  • Be not-for-profit
  • Be committed to equality and dignity for all LGBTQ+ people, including trans people

What types of projects will be funded?

The fund is intended to support grassroots, local groups and organisations who can support LGBTQ+ communities through the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

  • Awards will be between £500 – £15,000 (Award levels: micro up to £500 or £1,000, small up to £5,000, medium up to £10,000, and large up to £15,000) 
  • Each organisation/group can only apply for one grant, not multiple grants adding up to £15,000
  • Funding must be used by July 2021
  • Public sector organisations cannot apply for funding, nor can they hold any of the funding on behalf of other organisations
  • Projects should address the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector

The programme will not fund:

  • Individuals
  • Items which are due to be paid for by other public or private sector grants
  • Statutory fines, criminal fines or penalties
  • Liabilities incurred prior to the date of this agreement
  • All paid for events, conferences and exhibitions, including hire of venues for ‘purely’ promotional events
  • Projects that are purely based around marketing/communications such as newsletter projects or advertising campaigns
  • Projects that are purely making payments to statutory organisations, such as Local Authorities, schools, the Police Force and arm’s length public sector organisations. This includes organisations that are in any way controlled by, for example, a Local Authority, a Clinical Commissioning Group or agencies of these
  • Any party-political activity
  • Activity where the key purpose is to promote a religious doctrine or the beliefs of a particular faith
  • Commercial ventures
  • Funding of organisations which support or promote extremist views or which do not support human rights; equality before the law, democracy and full participation in UK society

How do we apply?

Small grants applications will close on 22nd September 2020.

Medium/Large grants applications will close on 30th September 2020.

You must submit your completed application by emailing it to niazy.hazeldine@metrocharity.org.uk by 5pm on the relevant closing date.

There are two separate application forms:

Please ensure you submit using the correct application form.

For small grants applications (under £5,000), you may choose to submit a video application. If you choose to submit in this way, you will need to ensure that all questions in the application form are covered in your video. If there is another format you would like to use to present your proposal, please do get in contact with us.

How will funding be awarded?

METRO will do an initial sift of applications to sift out applications which have not been completed or are not eligible. The remaining applications will then be sent to the relevant regional Panel.

Alongside assessing for quality, we are also aiming to ensure that, as far as possible, the whole geography of the UK and the intersections of the LGBTQ+ community are represented in the funding. This will guide the panels’ assessment process.

For small grants (under £5,000)

For small grants:

  1. the relevant regional Panel will first assess your application form/video
  2. The Panel will then shortlist applications
  3. Shortlisted applications will be invited to a short, Dragons Den style interview.
  4. The panel will then recommend successful applicants to the Partnership Board, who will award the funding.

All applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Project design is of high quality
  • Feasible project delivery
  • Excellent value for money*
  • Clear need for the project in the community*
  • Excellent monitoring and evidence sharing plans*
  • Reasonable governance of the project is in place*

For small grants, you will be assessed on the first two criteria with your application form/video, and then the starred criteria at interview stage.

For medium/large grants (over £5,000)

If you are applying for a grant of over £5,000, you will cover all criteria in your written application. The Panels will award successful grants based solely on your written application.

All applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Project design is of high quality
  • Feasible project delivery
  • Excellent value for money
  • Clear need for the project in the community
  • Excellent monitoring and evidence sharing plans
  • Reasonable governance of the project is in place

What will happen at the interview stage?

Medium/Large applications will not be interviewed, they will be decided by application only.  

Shortlisted small grants applicants will be invited to a Dragons Den style interview with the relevant regional Panel.

The interview will be:

  • 30 minutes long
  • Held via Zoom
  • Attended by 3-4 regional Panel members

At the interview you will need to:

  • Present your idea in 5 minutes or under (PowerPoint presentations are not necessary, but could be used if you wish)
  • Answer follow-up questions about your project
  • Answer questions about why your project is needed in the community
  • Answer questions about how you plan to capture data and share stories from your project
  • Answer questions about how you plan to keep those you work with safe (Safeguarding)
  • Answer questions about how you plan to keep information about those you work with secure (data protection)
  • If you plan to have paid staff, or volunteers, you will be asked about how you will make sure you have safe and legal working practices
  • How you will manage the finances
  • There may also be other questions that come up, depending on your application

If you are not sure about any of these questions, METRO will be offering training on these areas. If you are a small group/organisation who has not thought about these things before, please get in contact with METRO so that they can support you.

Can we get help with our application?

Please do get in contact with us if you would like some support with your application. We are happy to support you, especially if you do not frequently engage with funding and grants processes. You can email scott@equality-network.org. You can also email contact METRO either by emailing niazy.hazeldine@metrocharity.org.uk or call them at 020 8305 5000.

In other parts of the UK you can also contact your local partner for support:

Most local areas of the UK will also have a Community Voluntary Services who can support you. To see if your area has one, you can check on the following sites:

What will we need to do if successful?

METRO Charity will send you a grant acceptance email, which includes a declaration that you accept the terms and conditions of the grant, and will also ask for your bank details so that we can pay you (if relevant). You will need to complete this and send back to niazy.hazeldine@metrocharity.org.uk.

We will have several scheduled phone calls with you during the delivery of your project, during which you will need to update METRO with details about how your project is running. We will provide further support at this stage where needed.

We will ask for some case studies from your work, half way through and at the end. This may not be applicable, depending on the size and scope of your project.

METRO will also be collating video evidence of projects supported by the fund. You may be asked to provide some video footage of aspects of your project delivery, if this is appropriate to the project you are running.

Once your project is finished you must submit a monitoring form that details how your project went, and the money you actually spent. METRO will provide a template for this report. You will need to return any unspent funds to METRO.

Downloads

 

£585,000 of emergency funding for LGBTQ+ organisations and groups

LGBTQ+ organisations and groups across the UK will soon be able to apply for grants of up to £15,000 to support their vital role in supporting LGBTQ+ communities through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

METRO Charity in partnership with NAZ, Equality Network, The Rainbow Project, Umbrella Cymru, Yorkshire MESMAC and Birmingham LGBT, will be cascading the £585,000 fund from Comic Relief, raised from ‘The Big Night In’.

The partners will be convening grants panels in each nation – Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England to ensure the maximum reach to grassroots community-led LGBTQ+ organisations across the UK. Organisations and groups with income under £100,000 will be able to apply for over 100 grants ranging from £500 to £15,000.

Scott Cuthbertson at Equality Network said, “LGBTI groups and organisations across Scotland have been hit hard by COVID-19, having to adapt to a whole new challenging environment, while continuing to provide vital social support and services. We’re pleased to be the Scottish organisation, working with partner organisations across the UK, on disseminating this much needed Comic Relief funding. With COVID-19 there will undoubtedly be challenges to come, and I’m glad that we are addressing them together.”

Jacqueline Onalo, Comic Relief Trustee said, “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on many grassroot projects, especially those supporting diverse LGBTQ+ communities, has been truly devastating. Our ring-fenced funding aims to directly address these inequalities and empower LGBTQ+ led organisations, with specialist expertise, to support grassroot local projects that are a lifeline to the people they help. Comic Relief has a long and proud history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community and I hope this funding will make a real difference throughout the pandemic and its recovery.”

Dr Greg Ussher, CEO at METRO Charity said, “We couldn’t agree more with Comic Relief’s identification that LGBTQ+ grassroots community-led organisations need support right now to ensure that they can in turn support LGBTQ+ communities across the UK through this pandemic and beyond. We are very pleased to be working with partners in each of the UK nations to maximise the reach of the fund and the diversity of organisations and groups we will collectively be encouraging to apply.

“As delivery organisations ourselves, we already have first-hand experience of the needs of LGBTQ+ communities and the new and increased demands placed on services – especially around mental health and isolation – and the challenges these bring.

“We are delighted to be continuing our long-term relationship with Comic Relief and of course with our delivery partners.”

Parminder Sekhon, Interim CEO at NAZ said, “Small community BAME led and BAME LGBTQ+ led organisations are the backbone of the voluntary sector and are built on the principle of self-organisation and self-mobilisation. We need to protect small organisations delivering vital frontline services, plugging the gap of unmet need during this health and economic crisis, because we are going to need them even more as we move into recovery.

“BAME LGBTQ+ people have been and continue to be, at significant risk of poor health and wellbeing outcomes, often on the margins of an already underserved population group. COVID-19 has exacerbated and magnified that risk. NAZ is so pleased to be part of this partnership, distributing grants to amazing LGBTQ+ and Black LGBTQ+ organisations delivering lifeline health and wellbeing services up and down the country, keeping LGBTQ+ people safe, connected and supported. Thank you Comic Relief.”

**Applications to this fund have now closed**

Funding Notes:

  • The LGBTQ+ Sector COVID-19 Fund will be opening for applications this summer.
  • The programme is funded by Comic Relief.
  • The funding cascade partnership is led by METRO Charity and delivered in partnership with NAZ, Equality Network, The Rainbow Project, Umbrella Cymru, Yorkshire MESMAC and Birmingham LGBT.
  • Grants will be available in a number of sizes up to the following: £500, £1,000, £5,000, £10,000 and £15,000, with a total grant fund of £585,000.
  • Applications will be accepted from LGBTQ+ community-led organisations and groups with an income under £100,000.
  • Grants panels will be convened across the UK: in Scotland led by the Equality Network, in Northern Ireland led by The Rainbow Project, in Wales led by Umbrella Cymru, by Yorkshire MESMAC for the north of England and the midlands, by METRO Charity for London and the south of England. Supported by NAZ and Birmingham LGBT.

About the partners:

  • METRO is a leading equality and diversity charity delivering services across London and the South East, with national and international projects. They support anyone experiencing issues around sexuality, gender, equality, diversity and identity across their five domains: Sexual & Reproductive Health, Community, Mental Health & Wellbeing, Youth and HIV. To find out more visit metrocharity.org.uk.
  • NAZ is a BAME-led sexual health agency working to address sexual health inequalities in BAME communities. They have 29 years of experience working across London to provide culturally specific interventions to BAME communities disproportionately impacted by poor sexual, reproductive and HIV health compared to their white counterparts. They have national reach through their events and some programmes. NAZ was born out of the necessity to make a response to the health inequalities faced by BAME & BAME LGBTQ+ people across London during the HIV pandemic. 30 years later we are facing similar inequalities under the COVID-19 pandemic. NAZ work across four key areas: Care and Support Services to people impacted and living with HIV, Sexual health prevention and promotions services, Clinical Services: HIV/ Selected STI pop up services and Psychotherapeutic counselling, Research, Influencing and Policy. To find our more visit naz.org.uk.
  • The Equality Network is a leading charity working for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights in Scotland. To find out more visit equality-network.org.
  • The Rainbow Project works to promote the health and wellbeing of LGBT+ people in Northern Ireland through research and campaigning and through the provisions of health and wellbeing services including counselling, sexual health testing, hate crime advocacy in addition to peer and social support. To find out more visit rainbow-project.org.
  • Umbrella Cymru is a gender and sexual diversity support specialist organisation that provides a range of services to people across Wales. Their teams, managed by qualified registered social workers, work with LGBTQ+ people of all ages individually, in groups or with family and partners, to develop and deliver free tailored support to help them achieve their goals. The organisation provides a range of services from information and signposting to emotional and practical support. Umbrella Cymru has recently partnered with a Health Board to jointly provide the Welsh Gender Service (the only GIC in Wales) working alongside all Health Boards in Wales to deliver local care and support to trans and non-binary people including, medical and psychosocial support and interventions. To find out more visit umbrellacymru.co.uk.
  • Yorkshire MESMAC is one of the oldest and largest sexual health charities in the country. They offer services to most at risk communities across Yorkshire, including men who have sex with men, African and other BAME people, people using drugs, sex workers and LGBT+ young people and adults. To find out more visit mesmac.co.uk.
  • Birmingham LGBT is the city’s leading charity advocating for and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities in Birmingham and beyond. They offer a range of services focused on improving the health & wellbeing of individuals. They also believe passionately that Birmingham should be one of the best places in the UK for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) people to live, work and socialise, and work to enable a thriving, visible and PROUD LGBT community in the city. To find out more visit blgbt.org.
  • Comic Relief raises money to support people living incredibly tough lives. Through humour and stories of hope, we’ve shown that people can make a massive difference. We fund hundreds of amazing organisations who are working on the ground to support the most vulnerable people and communities in society including many of those hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. This includes vulnerable children and young people, people who are homeless or living in extreme poverty, women and families at risk of domestic abuse and those struggling with mental health issues.

 

Funding Announcement

We welcome the news that a partnership of LGBTI organisations including, Equality Network; LEAP Sports Scotland; LGBT Youth Scotland; and LGBT Health and Wellbeing, has been awarded £87,700 from the Scottish Government’s Supporting Communities Fund via The National Lottery Community Fund.

For our share of the funding the Equality Network will be distributing £26,250 directly to LGBTI led community groups and organisations to support their COVID response.

There is an additional £10k to support online Pride and cultural events. This may include support for purchasing software and payment for artists.

And finally there is a £20k fund to support LGBTI community organisations and groups to enfranchise LGBTI people facing digital poverty.

We will be working directly to disseminate this money to the groups that need it as quickly as possible,

This fund is designed to be as easy to access as possible, and as such is not intended for large grants. Groups and organisations needing more substantial support should either apply directly for COVID-19 relief funding, as many organisations have already done. Alternatively for grants of upto £15k groups can register interest in our LGBTQ+ Fund, in partnership with METRO Charity, NAZThe Rainbow ProjectUmbrella CymruYorkshire MESMAC and Birmingham LGBT, which will be cascading £585,000 in Comic Relief money raised during ‘The Big Night In’. More information here.

Funding Criteria

We have set out the following fund criteria to ensure maximum benefit for LGBTI community organisations and groups across Scotland:

  • Groups must be not for profit and LGBTI led.
  • Individuals cannot apply.
  • Requested funds must be for a purpose.
  • The fund is not designed for large amounts.
  • All money must be committed by the 30th September 2020.
  • We are unable to fund duplication.

There may be exceptions, especially to ensure the representation of under represented groups within the LGBTI community, which we are happy to discuss.

If you are an LGBTI sports group specific funding is available through our project partner LEAP Sports Scotland, more information here.

Neil Ritch, Director, National Lottery Community Fund Scotland said, “We know LGBTI community groups have significant experience in responding to challenges so they are well placed to support people and communities across Scotland as they look to support a local response to COVID-19.

“This Scottish Government Supporting Communities Fund award of £87,700 will make a key difference to many LGBTI people, helping them become more resilient in the face of this crisis.”

As well as direct funding support for LGBTI groups, sports groups, young people and asylum seekers the funding includes support for online prides, LGBTI social and cultural events, and a package of support for LGBTI people facing digital poverty.

Scott Cuthbertson, Development Manager, Equality Network said, “LGBTI people and groups have faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, we welcome this funding that will support many LGBTI groups and people as we move to the next stage in this pandemic. We will work to swiftly disseminate this money directly to those that need it.”

Hugh Torrance, Executive Director of LEAP Sports Scotland said, “It is vital to work to mitigate any disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has on LGBTIQ+ communities, and community organising efforts are central to that. We are pleased to be a part of this partnership to ensure that sport and physical activity groups and initiatives are able to benefit and able to play their critical role in our journey through this pandemic.”

Dr Mhairi Crawford, Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland said, “We welcome the news of funding to support young people to access technology and data to engage with our services and receive vital 1:1 support from our expert team of youth workers.

“It is often assumed that young people have everything that they need to be able to make digital connections, but this isn’t always the case. We know that LGBT young people can experience high levels of poverty or lack access to the basic resources that they need to access digital support. This funding will allow them to access the support that they desperately need.”

Maruska Greenwood, Chief Executive, LGBT Health and Wellbeing said, “LGBT Health and Wellbeing are delighted to share in this award, which will bolsters our ability to support asylum seekers and refugees. This award will make a real difference to some of the individuals we are working with through our LGBT Refugee Project, many of whom were already very vulnerable, but have now been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and face severe hardship and destitution.”

The work will now commence to distribute the funding to where it is needed. The application was led by the Equality Network, with each organisation receiving funding for areas of work they lead on.

The amount granted to each organisation is £60,550 to Equality Network, £15,650 to LEAP Sports Scotland, £6500 to LGBT Youth Scotland and £5000 to LGBT Health and Wellbeing.

LGBTI organisations and groups in Scotland can express interest in the available funding here. Should you have any questions about the fund please contact scott@equality-network.org

How accessible will the new, post-lockdown normal be?

The impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to be felt acutely across Scotland, the UK and the rest of the world. Our Intersectional Team looks at how the easing of the lockdown in England can give us some clues of what to expect when the time comes for Scotland to do the same. People flock back to town centres, cafés and shops. Life gets some level of normalcy. But social distancing rules are still in place, so long queues outside remind us that this new “normal” is not what it used to be.

What can we learn from England’s experience so that when this “new normal” reaches us, we can make sure that everyone can benefit in a safe and inclusive way? Some of us can’t wait to get out to the shops and support our local businesses, or are in desperate need for some new clothes or shoes but can’t buy online for one reason or another. Surely, being allowed to shop and use some services again will be a time of excitement and relief?

People with intersectional identities may be at higher risk of harm

Unfortunately, more people queuing in the streets to enter shops increases the potential risk for hate crime. Queues make everyone stand next to each other for long periods of time. You notice those standing next to you much more than if you were inside the shop crossing paths in an aisle. When tiredness and frustration sets in, tempers can fray.  

The queue, for all the boredom and frustration it brings, is also a place of vulnerability. If you leave, you miss your chance of buying food and other necessary items. So if someone starts being abusive towards you, you’re trapped. You have to endure it, or risk going hungry or missing the activity and losing out on some much-needed social interaction.

While this is true for any minority group, people with intersectional identities may be at higher risk in these circumstances, as targets of multiple discrimination.

If you need a carer or assistance while out and about, others may target you for bringing an extra person along. The carer could also be misread as a partner, which brings risk of being targeted with prejudice if you are then perceived as a same sex or LGBT couple (this is more likely when queuing for LGBT-related services).

Being an LGBT-friendly space does not necessarily mean that service users/customers will automatically feel safe, especially if required to queue outside, exposed to people who are not part of the service and could be hostile towards it.

Additionally, BME people may be at higher risk of discrimination while wearing a mask, so if you are not white, being out and about caries an additional layer of risk. This needs to be taken into consideration, especially when providing a safe space such as support groups and LGBT spaces.

Our 5 top tips for making events and services safe and accessible

Fear of discrimination puts people off going out altogether, and so those most vulnerable get left out when “everybody” is allowed to go out again. With that in mind, what can we do as business owners, club hosts and event organisers to make sure everyone can share the excitement and relief of easing the lockdown? 

  1. Have a clear designated space with a chair or two for people who cannot stand for long periods of time.
  2. Where possible, provide specific times or a separate line for people who have limited capacity to queue due to access needs.
  3. Put signage along the queue space reminding people that discrimination will not be tolerated, along with the measures taken to enforce this (for example, removing those causing disturbances), then make sure your rules are properly enforced.
  4. Believe (and support, where possible) service users and customers who report incidents to you.
  5. If you have staff at the entrance controlling the number of people coming inside, have them pay attention to what is going on in the queue and proactively de-escalate or disrupt incidents before they need to be reported.

 

Remember that this is a stressful time for everyone. Anxiety and frustration are high. But by following some of these guidelines, you can ease the stress on both yourself and your service users. And then, hopefully, the eventual easing of lockdown can be for everyone.

The Intersectional Team

Equality Network response to today’s Sunday Times front page

Update 18th June: A huge thank you to everyone who let the Prime Minister know that you oppose these proposals. We think this is really piling on the pressure to stop them. We’ll keep everyone updated via our social media channels.

Today (14th June 2020), the Sunday Times has reported that an unnamed UK Government source has leaked to them a draft of what the UK Government Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, apparently proposes to do to try to undermine trans equality.

The report claims that Liz Truss will completely ignore the 70% of respondents to the UK Government Gender Recognition Act consultation who supported removing the intrusive medical evidence requirements for correcting a trans person’s birth certificate. The Sunday Times bizarrely claims the consultation result was unfairly influenced by trans people. In actual fact, the Sunday Times and other media intensively promoted anti-trans campaigning against the reforms and trans people represent less than 1% of the population.

The report also claims that Liz Truss will try to force local councils not to provide gender neutral toilets and to restrict trans women’s ability to use women’s toilets. We know from looking at similar attempts in North Carolina and Texas that exclusion of trans people from toilets is unworkable but harmfully increases the risk of transphobic hate crime.

The report also made mention of Liz Truss apparently trying to make it more difficult for trans teenagers to access puberty delaying medication but gave no details.

For Scotland, Gender Recognition Act reform, toilet regulations and access to healthcare are under the control of the Scottish Government rather than the UK Government. We call for the Scottish Government to uphold their positive commitments to trans equality. We are appalled that the UK Government Women and Equalities Minister appears to be considering a deplorable roll-back of trans people’s safety, privacy and dignity. Across the UK and internationally, trans people, LGBT organisations, wider equalities organisations, academics, medical professionals, lawyers, service providers, businesses and thousands of individual allies will strongly resist any such roll-backs.

We note positively that the Sunday Times reports these draft proposals have not yet been approved by @10DowningStreet. We call on @BorisJohnson to leave trans people in peace and not follow in the footsteps of anti-LGBT bullies such as Trump in the USA, Bolsonaro in Brazil, and Orbán in Hungary.

Everyone can help by urging @BorisJohnson not to take forward any of these potential anti-trans proposals: https://email.number10.gov.uk/

Support for LGBTI groups during COVID-19

Since the crisis emerged we’ve been working to continue our capacity building support LGBTI groups around Scotland.

In the first instance we set up a facebook group for LGBTI groups to join, share good practice and network. If you run an LGBTI group in Scotland please consider joining, the group can be found here.

To help reduce social isolation we have secured funding from the Scottish Government Covid-19 Relief Fund to provide free Zoom Pro accounts, for a period of 4 months, along with training, to a number of LGBTI groups. If your group/sports club/organisation would like a free zoom account please fill out this expression of interest.

So far we have received an expression of interest from almost 50 LGBTI groups. We have also held zoom or phone conversations to assess the needs of 42 LGBTI groups so far. We’ve supported 6 applications for funding, delivered one-2-one training for 8 groups and continue to support pride organisers around the country with contingency planning.

Training for LGBTI Groups

We have four online training events planned in the next few weeks for groups trying to get up to speed on how to use zoom and how to run their online meetings. Please register using the links below.

Zoom 5.0 for LGBTI Groups – Thursday 11th June, 6.30pm

Zoom 5.0 for LGBTI Groups – Tuesday 16th June, 6.30pm

Marvellous Online Meetings – Thursday 18th June, 6.30pm

Marvellous Online Meetings – Tuesday 23rd June, 6.30pm

Support for LGBTI People During COVID-19

We’re coordinating closely with the other national LGBTI organisations. Both LGBT Youth Scotland and LGBT Health and Wellbeing are providing increased direct support services to the the LGBTI community.

LGBTI people may be separated at the current time from those who best know, understand, and support us. And for many reasons including health, discrimination, and poverty, some of us will be particularly hard hit by the current crisis. We have included below details of expanded support services available to all LGBTI people, provided by our friends at LGBT Health and Wellbeing, and LGBT Youth Scotland.

If you or others you need support, don’t hesitate to reach out to the LGBT organisations – they are here for you.

LGBT Helpline Scotland
Phone: 0300 123 2523 (Tue & Wed 12-9pm, Thu & Sun 12-6pm)
Email: helpline@lgbthealth.org.uk
Chat online: www.lgbthealth.org.uk (3-9pm)

LGBT Youth Scotland
Text: 07786 202 370 (Mon-Fri)
Email: info@lgbtyouth.org.uk
Chat online: www.lgbtyouth.org.uk (6pm – 8pm)