On May 12th at 6.00pm, there will be a protest against the ongoing abuse and ill-treatment of LGBTs in care after an increase in reportings. It will take place outside the HQ of the Department of Health and Social Care at 39 Victoria Street, London, SW1 0EU (1).
The ‘Gay Liberation Front’ (2) activists who started UK Pride are catalysing the protest, which marks ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’(3) with other LGBTQ+ people of every age and from other movements, who are all worried about the current suffering of LGBTQ+ people in care and their own future should they be in need of the Care Services.
The protest will take place to demand answers from the ‘Care Quality Commission’ (CQC), the UK’s national regulatory body. Their report entitled ‘A Different Ending’, published in May 2016 flagged up that the the experiences of LGBT+ people at the end of life are often overlooked ‘and evidence shows that discrimination continues to have an adverse impact on people’s access, needs and experience of services’ (4) In view of their own report, what action are CQC taking to address these serious abuse problems?
“An aspect of the homophobic abuse inflicted upon both residents and their loved ones/ supporters that’s often overlooked is care services refusing to recognise even legal relationships between LGBTQ+ residents and visiting/supporting partners as Next of Kin (NOK). In the current care system LGBTQ+s are not provided the same recognition, authority or support provided to heterosexuals. despite the existence of long-term loving relationship, or even legalised statuses, such as civil partnerships, Power of Attorney Litigation Friend, Relevant Person Representative, etc, life long lovers partners, visiting residents, are sometimes forced into pretending to be ‘just a friend’ or ‘an acquaintance’ in order to hide their sexuality and shield the resident from potential homophobic abuse. LGBTQ+ are not provided the same recognition, authority or support provided to heterosexual in the current care system.” Ted Brown, Gay Liberation Front (GLF)
Compassion in Care (5) knows of fifty cases where LGBTQ+ people in care were abused,either mentally, emotionally, or physically. Of these, forty-eight were in London. This is shocking and begs the question of the number of LGBTQ+ people – and their partners – suffer prejudice, bullying, or other abuse whilst in Care, but are too fearful to bring it to light which violates CQC’s own ‘Equality Objectives’ (6). The Gay Liberation Front (GLF) are currently launching new Freedom of Information (FOI) investigations about the cover-ups and instances of LGBTQ abuse and harassment in care homes.
“When these have been reported to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), it seems that nothing is done, despite CQC statements about recognising that LGBTQ+ people’s identities, needs and lives must be respected and that no-one should suffer homophobic abuse whilst in Care.” Geoff Hardy, Gay Liberation Front (GLF)
“Next year, 2022, is the 50th anniversary of the modern Pride movement in the UK (7) and there isn’t one accessible LGBTQIA+ care home in the whole of the UK or any permanent LGBT+ care home in London. As a result queers have to go into the closet or risk abuse and attacks in places which cannot cater for us. The cruel irony of legends who have fought their whole lives for freedom like this suffering homophobia at the end of their lives is so cruel. We are protesting to help raise awareness and ensure that hospitals, care homes and councils give LGBT elderly, disabled or hospitalised the full respect and care they all deserve, instead of forcing them into the closet to avoid abusive maltreatment.” dan glass, Gay Liberation Front (GLF)
“LGBTQ+ people who fought the earliest battles for equality now face so much fear about discrimination, or worse, in health care/long-term care that they hide their past lives, are afraid to ask for help, and die earlier. But we are determined to change that.” Geoff Hardy (GLF) and Stu Maddux, the Director of Gen Silent (8)
Imagine someone living in a care home, or accessing care support who feels unable to talk about their life, their experiences, memories, hopes, family and relationships. Who we are, what we feel and how we act in our present life is all based on our past. If the past includes experience of prejudice, discrimination, criminalisation, harassment – this is bound to have an impact on how we see ourselves as older people and how open we are with others.” Sue Gorbing, Director, SAND (Safe Ageing No Discrimination CIC), referring to the reports ‘Addressing Inequalities in End Of Life Care’ (9)
“Our LGBTQ+ elders deserve to be happy, safe and treated with dignity. It’s devastating that many of our elders experience abuse, discrimination and exclusion. We want to see clear, meaningful action from the Government, regulators and service providers to make sure all LGBTQ+ elders get the care and support they need.” Robbie de Santos, Director of Communications and External Affairs at Stonewall
- We demand that the CQC and Care Services recognise that our needs are different, that we have lived different lives and we need to be treated with respect.
- We demand that training for staff and the understanding of individual identities MUST be at the forefront of all internal welfare provision and training.
- We demand that all homophobic bullying and abuse ceases and that, when it arises it is challenged, acted upon and treated with the seriousness it deserves.
- We demand that the Care Services undergo training around LGBTQ+ issues.
- We demand a future where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans people are fully integrated into the community. A community that values their experiences, meets their needs and offers appropriate personalised care as they age.
We ask the public to email (email@example.com) and bombard the Care Quality Commission with requests for answers to seek, collect and refer to other instances of homophobic and transphobic abuse from authorities. The Care Quality Commission currently says that they do not have anything in place to care for LGBTQ people as they treat ‘everybody equal’.
“Out of sight out of mind no longer! CQC – End the abuse of LGBTs in care!”
Join the Gay Liberation Front and Bishopsgate Institute for the following weekend at our livestreamed “Bishopsgate Debate” at the ‘Revolutionary Peoples Constitutional Convention’ (10)
Press contact –
Notes to Editors
- ‘Department of Health and Social Care at 39 Victoria Street, London, SW1 0EU’ – Nearest tubes are Victoria or St James Park – Google maps (https://www.google.com/maps/place/39+Victoria+St,+London+SW1H+0EUfirstname.lastname@example.org,-0.1419552,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x487604dc66a3003f:0x4f59889bde4ced16!8m2!3d51.4979518!4d-0.1332005)
- ‘These Are the Radical Roots of British Gay Pride’https://www.vice.com/en/article/wjvawn/uk-gay-pride-history-gay-liberation-front
- CQC Document regarding LGBTQ people – www.lgbtsand.com/2016/05/01/a-different-ending/
- ‘We use our legal powers to take action where we identify poor care.’ Regulations for service providers and managers in – (https://www.cqc.org.uk/guidance-providers/regulations-enforcement/regulations-service-providers-managers)
- ‘Gay Liberation Front’ (https://vimeo.com/495763208) by Jessica Ives and Manuel García-Calvo Gutiérrez
- Gen Silent, The LGBT Aging Documentary: Official Trailer – (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV3O8qz6Y5g&ab_channel=StewartMaddux)
- ‘A different ending – Addressing inequalities in end of life care’ – (chrome-extension://gphandlahdpffmccakmbngmbjnjiiahp/https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/20160505%20CQC_EOLC_OVERVIEW_FINAL_3.pdf)
- “Bishopsgate Debate” at the ‘Revolutionary Peoples Constitutional Convention’ – http://www.bishopsgate.org.uk/whats-on/activity/the-bishopsgate-debates