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00:37 | 29th April 2017

News: UK

Thu 24 May, 2012
By Robert Ingham


We want to find out what interests people from across the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities have so that we can set up groups which we know will appeal,”

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GMFA to tackle social isolation amongst LGB&T communities in London

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The UK has just been named the gay friendliest country in Europe. Our capital city, London, is a vibrant place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to live in. There are more lesbians, gay men, bisexual people and trans people in London than any other city in the UK or Europe. And yet, despite this, reports suggest that about two-thirds of us ‘sometimes feel lonely’.

Living in a city that’s chock full of other LGB&T people offers no protection from feeling isolated.
Whilst anyone may feel lonely, research suggests that older LGB people, HIV+ gay men, trans people and LGB&T people who belong to Black or other minority ethnic groups are particularly likely to experience isolation.
Older gay and bisexual men were almost three times more likely to be single than heterosexual men and 41% of LGB older people live alone, compared to 28% of heterosexuals ([i]). Gay and bisexual men living with HIV suffer from loneliness and have difficulty seeking support from family and work colleagues ([ii]). 41% of gay men living with HIV had experienced problems with friendships in the last year, and in particular reported that they had difficulty making new friends ([iii]). The social exclusion of trans people starts at an early age, with 70% of gender variant boys and girls suffering bullying in schools, and continues into employment, with nearly half of transgender employees reporting experience of discrimination or harassment in the work place ([iv]). The twin challenges of racism and homophobia leads to many Black gay men feeling isolated, and less able to access support, services or information from family, community or statutory sources ([v]).
GMFA, which now has a remit to improve the health and wellbeing of lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people as well as gay men, are proposing to tackle this problem by hosting groups, which will help bring members of the LGB&T communities together to make new friends.
Matthew Hodson, Head of Programmes at GMFA said, “I know that lots of LGB&T people want to find new ways of meeting and socialising away from the scene. We have a great meeting space in our office and it is often free in the evenings. We want to use this space to host social groups where people from the LGB&T communities can do a hobby together, discuss an interest or learn a new skill. We’re making a commitment to provide a welcoming space for all members of our communities - where everyone is able to be themselves, make new friends and enjoy themselves.”
To ensure that the groups meet the needs and interests of local LGB&T people, GMFA are running an online survey. “We want to find out what interests people from across the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities have so that we can set up groups which we know will appeal,” says Hodson. “Whether you’d like to join a book group, set up a Manchester United fan club or just play cards or scrabble with like-minded people, we want to hear about it.”

The survey is at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/7MTRWC3.


 

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