Older August 2018 to 2016 Network News Items Archive

Network support to Gay Star News on perceived homophobic abuse conduct of elements of UK Immigration personnel against Proven genuine LGBT asylum-seekers:

LGB&T Dorset Equality Network has provided vital information to our friends in Gay Star News on the attempted forcible deportation of a legitimate LGBT asylum seeker who had been allowed to reapply for asylum, of an LGBT community member by the current UK immigration services.

As supporters of the Network are aware from our news updates (below), the Network was one of the key supporters of Gay Star News initiative, Rainbow Rush Scandal (detailing the perceived, de-facto persecution of LGBT community members who are genuine asylum seekers / refugees / visa applicants, by the UK immigration authorities. The Network, due to our work in this field, was one of the key signatories to the GSN Open Letter to the Home Secretary (provided on the 6th June) still unanswered  — similarly in October 2017 we learned of the Home Affairs Committee actively considering an inquiry into LGBT & protected characteristics abuses: no action has resulted, but in regard to Forced Marriages the HAC Chair provided a swift response on action being required — within 48 hours the Home Secretary took action —  just as our own supportive representation has also remained unanswered:  https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/read-this-open-letter-demanding-uk-to-stop-sending-lgbti-asylum-seekers-to-their-deaths/

Clearly in Government and Parliament, in this area at least LGBT lives don’t matter or count less than others.

On Sunday 5th August, the Network was contacted by Jagat (a gay Nepali man and well-evidenced genuine asylum-seeker in fear of his life) on his horrific experience at the hands of four UK immigration services employees; this contact to us being provided within 20 minutes of being freed by the courageous action of Jet Airways crew and pilot, albeit with Jagat being left with bad bruising to his hands by the Home Office employees. We promptly contacted Gay Star News, who replied within literally two minutes, and today (6th August 2018) issued the following Exclusive: UK: Pilot ‘saves life’ of gay asylum seeker by refusing to fly him to Nepal.

The Network is concerned that there seems to be indifference to LGBT safety & human rights abuses, or even the courtesy of acknowledgement of representations such as the GSN open letter (this is rightly commented on in the article) and is mirrored in much of the mainstream news media, as rightly commented on in the GSN exclusive. This treatment contrasts starkly with swift action by our Home Secretary on for example the disgraceful scandal of the Forced Marriages visas granted by UK immigration officials.  https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/sajid-javid-acts-after-times-investigation-into-forced-marriage-nskl7hsfl

Joining with Gay Star News, the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network salutes the courage and humanity of the Jet Airways Pilot and his crew, that refused to condone the brutal conduct of the immigration officials involved: we wish to associate with GSN in sending our appreciation & congratulations to Jet Airways, that through this action joins with the principled stand against de-facto bullying and injustice that Virgin Airlines has recently also taken. We hope that British Airways may follow suit, especially as BA publicly state their LGBT human rights supportive position through funding, for example Brighton Pride, something All Out has recently drawn to the LGBT public’s attention.

The Network commenting on the Home Office immigration authorities statement at the end of the GSN exclusive, notes:

‘If it looks like homophobia, tastes like homophobia, and smells like homophobia, it is a 1000 to 1 that it is actual homophobia. … clearly the nameless spokesperson using this [Home Office] oft repeated position statement, has no awareness of the Indirect Discrimination particulars of the Equality Act 2010.  These were included in the Act precisely to combat such perceived [homophobic/racist, etc.] indirect discrimnation malpractices and abuses of processes as the GSN Rainbow Rush Scandal has graphically illustrated. As it stands, the Home Office statement can only be perceived as, as tasteless — in such circumstances as the GSN article reveals — as it is disingenuous.  

It may be that the Home Secretary is comfortable with civil servants [Home Office officials] making such statements on behalf of his Department, but the Network doesn’t believe so. Rather, it feels it is much more probabable that he may not have even been consulted before an unnamed, unelected civil/public servant made what in effect is a major government position statement.  This in the circumstances is, in light of the facts of operational level performance, protections abandonment, and abuses of process, as exposed by Jagat’s horrific experience, and by Gay Star News through the Open Letter on the Rainbow Rush Scandal, not acceptable.

He is not alone in suffering such experiences, as the Network is aware, for through direct compelling evidence provided to us by the individual afflicted/affected, and others we are aware that UK agencies and entities that work closely at operational level with UK immigration, that are supposed to be independent of the latter, prove in some instances to be anything but, sadly compromising their good names through breaches of codes of practice, etc.

You can also access this news item here.

Network support for Gay Star News ‘Rainbow Rush Scandal’ national campaign — update: All Out enthusiastically joins the momentum to challenge British Airways on deportations:

Further to our recent news article on Gay Star News ‘Rainbow Rush Scandal’ GSN recently provided an Open Letter to the Home Secretary calling for independent inquiry into UK Immigration services anti-LGBT abuses against LGBT genuine asylum seekers, refugees, and same-sex visa applicants. You can read the article here.

The Network applauds and directly supports this LGBT human rights & LGBT lives protecting initiative by Gay Star News, and is one of the signatories to the Open Letter, joined locally by Bourne Free, Proud Cherries, and Network Co-Patron Lindsay England’s ‘Just a Ball Game?’ organisation, with other signatories including the Peter Tatchell Foundation, Schools Out, UK Black Pride, and All Out.   As a result of the GSN Rainbow Rush Scandal initiative and open letter, momentum for independent scrutiny of immigration services anti-LGBT abuses has come at last fully into the public domain, and with a momentum that is snowballing.  Through the GSN initiative an environment has been created that is effectively challenging some of the most brutal and injust anti-LGBT practices.

For example, recently, Virgin Airlines has taken action to no longer allow its flights to service deportations: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jun/29/virgin-airlines-no-longer-help-deport-immigrants-lgbt-windrush.

Following this major development All Out has initiated an online petition campaign for British Airways to follow suit: https://go.allout.org/en/a/british-airways/?akid=24203.3898995.GBT69e&rd=1&t=8&utm_campaign=british-airways&utm_medium=email&utm_source=actionsuite.  The Network is delighted to be actively supporting this LGBT human rights & lives protective work, that results from Gay Star News important Rainbow Rush Scandal and the open letter initiative. We will keep you posted on further news …

Lush makes our community & the Network Proud through fundraising event over Bourne Free LGBT Pride weekend:

The Network provides a very Big Thank You to Lush, and Tom and all of his fantastic team at Lush Bournemouth for their Charity Pot fundraising for the Network and the thousands of pan-Dorset LGBT+ community members we serve, for the Lush Charity Pot fundraising that took place on Bourne Free / LGBT Pride weekend (14th & 15th July) at Lush Bournemouth.  The Lush team’s enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication in the fundraising weekend event were exceptional!  We provide some images below in recognition and Appreciation.

In the fundraising, Lush Bournemouth went the extra mile in coming down to visit the Network information stall in the Lower Gardens and visiting the other stalls to fundraise.

Fantastic company and team!! Thank you Lush from all of us at the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network!

Lush support for the Network – Charity Pot Party at Lush Bournemouth store 14th July!

Through a Charity Pot Party initiative taking place this Saturday, 14th July, to coincide with Bourne Free Pride Festival, the Network and Lush are delighted to share their mutual support and perspectives on LGB&T equality & inclusion.

The Charity Pot Party is being held between 11am and 4pm at Bournemouth Lush (25 Old Christchurch Rd, Bournemouth BH1 1DR – close to Bournemouth Square).

The Network is deeply appreciative to Lush for identifying our charity as this year’s focus for support through the Charity Pot Party.  Both Lush and the Network have similar values and perspectives on inclusion, diversity, and the need to sometimes challenge proactively to deliver the type of support victims of prejudice and other forms of abuse, that is effective.

If able, and you are attending Pride, please do visit the store this Saturday (14th July).

Network support for national campaign to end UK Immigration Services anti-LGBT abuses:

More detail coming soon, but the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network is Proud to be closely supporting and commends Gay Star News ‘Rainbow Rush Scandal’ campaign (started today, 14th May) highlighting the scale and severity of Home Office perceived — on the basis of all too compelling evidence — institutional homophobia. The Network is directly aware of this and taking action to support those of our community members bullied, whose lives are being knowingly destroyed and put at risk . Watch this space, and in the meantime please take the time to view this link from the Gay Star News team!  https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/uk-official-told-gay-asylum-seeker-to-find-religion-and-be-cured/#gs.cLmvTek

Network representation regarding appointment of a public sector funded equality organisation chief officer:

‘We the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network are apalled by this revelation, and speak out about it for all LGB&T people in Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole, calling for an independent inquiry into the decision of this appointment by Dorset’s Race Equality Council Board.  

It is important for LGB&T Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole community as the Dorset Race Equality Council (DREC) receives and is sustained only by local authority & public funding to demonstrate their commitment to not only an anti-racism remit but also a full commitment to gender and LGB&T equality. This is clearly not the case with this appointment. The LGB&T community want to know what went wrong with the vetting process, and how the decision could have been approved subsequently by this particular organisation’s public sector funders. Is it they see Race as the salient issue for DREC rather than a full non-discriminatory and prejudice free Dorset. 

The Network is proud to work actively as a partner with Dorset’s oldest multicultural and multifaith communities organisation, Unity in Vision, that holds inclusive not anti-LGB&T views — to quote its lead, Unity in Vision “Cherishes the Family Unit in ALL its aspects” — and collaborates with us on safety and inclusion work in a number of areas.  We emphasise this to affirm that the anti-LGB&T views we have learned off the news link above is of the particular individual appointed by DREC and are NOT those of the community within Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole.

The LGB&T Dorset Equality Network is Proud to represent and support, with no compromises, the voice on issues and the needs of all Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole LGB&T’s community that often encounter such anti-LGB&T prejudice and therefore actively seek a prejudice free Dorset.’

Chair & Board, Convenor and Team,  LGB&T Dorset Equality Network

Context to the statement:

We received this distressing news through the link below from a concerned member of the public.Link: https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/local-news/call-race-equality-chief-sacked-2698983#


… The video shows Mr Tufail confronting one of the men distributing the leaflets.  Mr Tufail … is seen to say – referring to Mr Watkins – “He is openly gay”   When the leaflet distributor says: “It doesn’t matter – it’s about policy”, Mr Tufail responds: “You’re from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee. The man is openly gay and you say it doesn’t matter?”  The Muslim activist says again: “That’s not the issue.   Mr Tufail states: “What is the issue?” before turning to the cameraman and saying: “Switch that camera off or I’ll ram it down your throat”.

The LGB&T Dorset Equality Network before providing its position statement to the news media, searched the internet for evidence of any apologies or retractions concerning the views detailed above: despite our best efforts we have not seen any, and we imagine the DREC Board and its funders must, we hope, be undertaking such steps too.

Network once a month Social Group Pop Ups:

Monthly pop ups for community members who are socially isolated.

Our Weymouth Pop Up (a partnership with & For the local LGBT community), partly funded by a Weymouth & Portland grant, started in February.  Every third Wednesday in the month (April 18th next meeting) 2 – 4pm at Revolution Vinyl Cafe, Trinity Road, Weymouth (on harbourside). DT4 8TJ.

Bournemouth: new Women’s [Trans friendly/welcoming) pop up group, 3 – 5pm, 1st Wednesday of every month, starting next month (May 2nd), at Café Erte, 19 Queens Rd, Bournemouth BH2 6BA.  Come along or for information contact Alex on 07742957676

Bridport: Diversity Bridport – LGB&T Dorset equality Network Pop Up staring this month, April.  Contact Annabelle (Diversity Bridport) on 25th April at 2pm at 6 South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NQ

Boscombe: being organised and will be in welcoming café in Pokesdown (we had hoped to start two months ago but a recommended café, turned out to have no interest in being the venue for this important social group meeting for vulnerable and socially isolated community members – work to do in Boscombe it seems!).

NHS — engagement with NHS organisations,For our communities & For the NHS:

The Network is continuing its work to enable the pan-Dorset area NHS to address the deficit of confidence (reference findings of our July 2017 survey) many members of our community feel it has in regard to effective communication and fully LGBT appropriate & inclusive frontline services.  Both areas have been sadly highlighted as the NHS locally has pursued despite strong community representation, including that led in a number of areas by the Network itself, its decision to effectively close Over The Rainbow.  More updates on this and the implications this has for NHS – LGBT community engagement, to follow soon.

We have been pleased to learn of the expanding NHS trusts awareness about and regard for our two staff awareness raising videos (featuring Network Co-Patron and national level Trans community motivational speaker Sophie Cook, and Jonai Da Silva, Pan-Dorset NHS Staff Network-Initiative Chair) developed in partnership with Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBCH).

Importantly, in regard to communications, we have yet to receive a copy ourselves despite many formal requests over more than a year: the equality & diversity of Dorset CCG, David Corbin, is looking actively into resolution of this record.  However, learning of the effectiveness of the videos, and their dissemination to Dorset County Hospital, Dorset Healthcare, and elsewhere is a great accomplishment for the Network on behalf of our community, as it provides a reference point for monitoring how the videos have been used and impact at frontline level, which we will be monitoring.

Community Support Advocacy & DPCC Safer Dorset Grant:

We are delighted to have been awarded an advocacy cases support grant by the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner, through the DPCC Safer Dorset Fund. This grant enables us to extend our advocacy cases support to community members across Dorset, Bournemouth & Poole. The grant also comprises allocation for the Network regarding a quality assurance-based professional advocacy course run by one of our partners, Dorset Advocacy.

We have since becoming established as a charity more than a year ago, developed a strong/respected reputation for listening to fellow Dorset LGBT community members who are our clients, and then taking effective action on their cases where anti-LGBT prejudice, discrimination, and especially indirect discrimination are concerned.

This has in particular over the past three months included scrutiny of local authority shared housing & related provision across two different local authorities through policy advocacy need revealed by cases we have been helping with.

Much has to be done to make such services truly safe & appropriate for LGBT community members, as has been revealed, but we are encouraged by a readiness for the local authorities concerned, to engage with the Network and consider adjustments. These to be based on awareness information from both Equality Act 2010 application and LGBT service user real life experiences.

Public Policy Exchange: Network input through important Panel event:

Network Co-Patron, Lindsay England represented the Network at the recent March 14th TACKLING DISCRIMINATION IN SPORT: DEVELOPING ROBUST STRATEGIES TO INCREASE INCLUSIVITY, ACCESSIBILITY & EQUALITY symposium, as a Panel member. The event was organised by the prestigious and influential Public Policy Exchange think tank organisation.  Very proud of the great work Lindsay did at the PPE, which influences policy makers (many government ministers & shadow ministers also participate in PPE panel & talks events. Included below are a couple of images from Lindsay’s presentation.

Inclusion and anti-prejudice in sport are one of the main areas where the Network is involved at national level (our Convenor/Organisation Development Officer Alan Mercel-Sanca is honorary Male Co-Chair of Lindsay’s national grassroots anti-homophobia, biphobia, transphobia in football & sport organisation, Just a Ball Game?); other national level areas of specialism include the NHS, and LGBT community members in regard to migration/asylum/refugee issues & needs.

We are very pleased to provide the following links relating to the work and topics covered by the symposium of 14th March by Lindsay and other panel members.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qlg23USZwzQ

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6M6dT3STek (also features Sophie Cook, other Co Patron of the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network)

LGBT History Month + Weymouth & Dorchester area developments:

The Network concentrated its LGBT History Month activities in the county area where there is greater need for visibility and outreach. In particular we held a week-long exhibition event at Weymouth Library.

Monday 12th February witnessed an historic day for the LGBT community of Weymouth. The first time the Rainbow Flag has been raised on the council offices. The Network was Proud to have been the catalyst for this event.  This as a result of our follow up support on the initiative, from our October event in Weymouth Library, where we in conjunction with local community leads were delighted to receive the Mayor of Weymouth Cllr Kevin Brookes support for the proposal: we subsequently worked with the local community and borough council officers and the council’s equality portfolio-holder, to enable the flag raising event.  A major breakthrough for LGBT visibility!

The Network was delighted to receive a grant from Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, this is being used to support our monthly pop-ups but also to establish a set of LGBT community reference books for the library.

In Dorchester, where the Network is also active (forming a relationship with the library earlier in 2017 to support greater awareness raising on LGBT topics), LGBT History Month was celebrated with increased vigour and flying of the Rainbow Flag by the borough council.

Private sector – LGBT community partnering initiative:

Greater inclusion, community profiling, and safety are the main themes of our initiative work with the private sector.

A recent meeting we had in conjunction with local LGBT business & local community leads, with Weymouth BID, also kindly attended by Cllr Christine James, Equality Portfolio-holder at the borough council, proved a valuable milestone in regard to this initiative. We are also undertaking other exploratory work in the Bournemouth & Poole area in conjunction with an approximately 35 strong businesses group + working with a major BME communities multicultural group, on a combined approach for a safe/inclusive places initiative.

The Network approach: looking at solutions to the poor rate of prejudice & hate crime experiences & incidents reporting (Stonewall evidence of the phenomenon notes that four in five LGBT people who have experienced a hate crime or incident didn’t report it to the police: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/media/lgbt-facts-and-figures) also features in the exploratory work we are undertaking with our friends in the private sector. More details  provided soon …

Network Weymouth Library event of 9th October 2017:

Groundbreaking Weymouth event by Dorset LGB&T Equality Network is ‘great success’

— Dorset Echo article (22nd October 2017)

A big thank you to Dorset Echo for their valuable coverage of the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network event, and particular thanks to the Mayor and Mayoress of Weymouth & Portland — the Mayor,Cllr Kevin Brookes, valuably commenting to the Echo:

“It was an opportunity to see how yet another, and I’m afraid to say another yet another, small group of volunteers are having to constantly work to raise awareness and understanding of the problems community members face.”

The Echo coverage and the Mayor’s comments therefore mark a very welcome recognition that the community sector in terms of minority communities (ethnic/BME, LGB&T, Disabilities) is extremely important for its  dedication, passion and efforts to highlight the plight of fellow community members who suffer from prejudice, hate, discrimination, rejection and often severe mental ill health as a natural consequence.

Often the efforts of those direct community groups on the ‘real frontline’ are poorly recognised, overlooked by the media, etc. and sometimes have others — better connected — take direct community groups ideas up with no or minimal attribution to those ideas  actual community source.


This depressing but all too common phenomenon of direct community groups and their courageous action and valuable solutions to prejudice problems, rarely getting a mention — or barely any — for their crucial work, goes far to account for the disparity between actual numbers of prejudice-related hate crimes, and the reported figures.  This of course indicates underlying poor confidence issues of minority community members reporting incidents.

The Network believes in developing new models of working between minority communities (and especially direct minority communities groups) and the statutory, public, and the broader voluntary sectors, to remedy these problems.  It is exciting to be working with those other three sectors to deliver this badly needed change, that sees the minority community itself at the heart and in a co-lead position where solutions to prejudice, hate crime, etc. are concerned. 

Partnership working in the fullest and most focused sense is essential for this to happen, and also different minority communities that share the common characteristics of their humanity, and that they are all victims of prejudice/hate/discrimination, working together on shared solutions to problems, are vital for successfully delivering badly needed change.

Alan Mercel-Sanca.

Convenor/Lead Officer, LGB&T Dorset Equality Network

More about the event:  Weymouth Library was host to a special landmark event on Monday 9th October. This to highlight the LGB&T Dorset Equality Networks initiatives to counteract anti-LGBT prejudice and promote broader inclusion values.  Attending the event were the Mayor & Mayoress of Weymouth Cllr Kevin and Mrs Brookes, Cllr Christine James (Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Equality Portfolio holder) local authority and statutory sector officers, and an equal number of local LGB&T community members including from Weymouth Gay Group.

The event comprised announcements on learning/educational initiatives of the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network with a range of partners, including the libraries service, Weymouth College, and also a ground-breaking mental-health related initiative with the NHS. The event witnessed valuable suggestions on further initiatives to counteract anti-LGBT Anti-Social-Behaviour, and encourage broader inclusion + a valuable intervention from a community member on blocks to reporting of incidents.

Further Dorset Echo article, flagging up the library event: http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/15579570.Ground_breaking_event_to_tackle_hate_crime_and_prejudice/

Libraries initiative:  the Network has initiated work with Dorset County Council Libraries on the libraries service having a stock set of essential LGB&T related reference books. This is an important development proposed by pan-Dorset LGB&T community members, that the Network is following up on.

Network brings LGBT dimension to Black History Month:

For Black History Month (October) 2017 the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network provided ground-breaking talks to Weymouth College students on the Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) LGB&T community, and its special importance characteristics, strengths & particular issues & needs, and place in cultural history.

The talks were very well received and teachers commending the need for the teaching on the subject and the way the talks enabled students to expand their horizons to see ethnic and sexual & gender minority communities in ways that challenged ‘one size fits all’ thinking.

Support from the Network to the National Trust’s Kingston Lacy Section on facing homophobic national media and MP bullying:

The National Trust Kingston Lacy came under attack from extremist anti-homophobic elements in the national media and an MP (not even a local Member of Parliament) that appeared to take issue with the National Trust ‘Prejudice & Pride’ national educational initiative that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of non-heterosexuality. This (at Kingston Lacy took the form of the Exile initiative and installation), to provide NT properties visitors with awareness of the strong contribution that LGBT people have contributed across the centuries to architecture, collections, the arts, as seen through NT stately homes and stately homes owners.

The LGB&T Dorset Equality Network at the urgent request of Dorset area community members (Weymouth Gay Group particularly) took action through a press release on the attack made against the LGBT community, and National Trust Kingston Lacy.

You can read the details at Dorset Eye:  http://www.dorseteye.com/north/articles/dorset-s-lgbt-community-comes-to-the-support-of-the-national-trust

Network NHS initiative for the support of our community’s needs and expectations of LGB&T appropriate and supportive services:

The Network achieved NHS organisations Chief Executive Officer level support for a pan-Dorset NHS – LGB&T Dorset Equality Network initiative for support of the Bournemouth Dorset Poole LGB&T community and NHS.  This initiative comprises development of a community & NHS integrated comprehensive LGB&T community NHS services plan, with a major component focusing on mental health support related work for community members suffering from poor mental health due to prejudice, rejection, bullying & hate crime.

We will provide a further update in December on progress with this ground-breaking initiative: Dorset CCG is leading on the NHS side in partnership with the Network to structure and progress the initiative.  The pan-Dorset LGB&T community, that in a recent survey (July: with 166 participants taking part within 48 hours!) recorded a 20% satisfaction rate in NHS services, looks forward with hope and expectation to the NHS delivering badly needed change, realised by working with our community in equal partnership…

Summer 2017: Bournemouth Air Festival – Network & Royal Navy event in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of non-heterosexuality

The Network initiated a certificates of appreciation presentation at this year’s Bournemouth Air Festival. This was on behalf of Bournemouth’s LGBT community to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of non-heterosexuality in the UK, and to recognise the exceptional work of the Royal Navy’s LGBT inclusion and equality work headed by its LGBT ‘Compass Network.’

To our great delight the Network lead and Chair were honoured by the presentation of a signed – by Commodore Miller — and framed document that detailed the RN & Compass Group approach to equality & diversity; the presentation being made by the Admiral leading the RN component of the Air Festival.

The formal presentation event that the RN kindly built into this component of the Bournemouth Air Festival also flagged up the importance of LGB&T community members contribution to and involvement in the life, arts and businesses of Bournemouth, especially important to recognise in such a major nationally important air festival, that brings all sections of society together to honour the prowess of those providing their heroic air and sea performances.

Network Boscombe anti-LGBT prejudice awareness raising event & campaign:

On Saturday 16th September, the Network held the first ever Boscombe-based anti-LGBT prejudice and hate crime event. This took place in conjunction with Dorset Police and with the strong support of Bournemouth Council’s Boscombe Regeneration team, in Boscombe Precinct.

Attended by the Cllr Lawrence Williams Mayor of Bournemouth and Mayoress Mrs Williams, as well as local councillors Cllr Jane Kelly and Cllr Christopher Wakefield, and Coastal BID lead Stefan Krause, the event gave local community members the opportunity to learn more about anti-LGBT prejudice and how to report and take action, as well as highlighting related work by the Network.

Network information was distributed to some of the Precinct shops and cafes, receiving great welcome and support, whilst local LGB&T community members introduced themselves to commend the Network awareness day and saying how important public events of this kind are to give support to members of the local LGB&T community.

The Mayor and local councillors also learned more about the Network’s initiative on counteracting homophobia and transphobia in sport, work with the libraries service, a major project with the NHS, and the initiative to start a once a month social pop-up group for isolated and older LGBT’s in the Boscombe area – more details coming soon! The event and the broader awareness campaign the event marked was kindly funded by the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner (DPCC) Safer Dorset Fund.

Network commendation for the National Trust’s initiative on LGB&T inclusion:

The Network commends its educational initiative on celebrating the great contributions LGBT people have made to our nation, through LGB&T connections through a number of stately homes across the country, commemorating the 50th anniversary of partial decriminalisation of non-heterosexuality. This includes our own Kingston Lacy.

You can read more about the National Trust ‘Prejudice & Pride’ initiative at Gay Times (thank you Colin at Weymouth Gay Group for advising the link) and at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/exploring-lgbtq-history-at-national-trust-places

Unfortunately, this has revealed the depth and scale of enmity and contempt towards our LGB&T communities by anti-social individuals and of course usual suspects in the more homophobically inclined national press: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4759510/National-Trust-tells-workers-wear-pride-badge-face-ban.html

The Network notes that this a simple matter of immaturity, with a tone of viciousness and callousness, of those who feel victimised for not being able to openly parade their prejudice, and belief that they have a God-given right to destroy the most fundamental human rights of fellow British citizens who happen to be LGB&T.

If some National Trust volunteers are uncomfortable with associating with a celebration of the beginning of the end of fellow citizens being persecuted, forced to commit suicide, being blackmailed, attacked, and caused devastating mental ill health, then clearly such individuals should be kept far away from interacting with the general-public, at least 6-7% of whom are LGB&T.

National newspapers in taking such supportive positions on bigotry, hate and homophobia, should at least be a little more honest and say what is really in their hearts — that we, LGB&T people shouldn’t exist (well Hitler believed this to and noted homophobes accorded the names of ‘saints’ in some forms of some religions). So too should be honest in the same regard, those NT volunteers who share such views and anti-social values, that unambiguously indicate that they do not believe LGB&T people have human rights, including the right to live, and live free of fear and persecution from the ignorant.

We commend the National Trust for its educational initiative in this symbolically important year of 50 years advance in rolling back the true criminality that homophobia, bi-phobia and transphobia are.  These latter still take and mar too many lives needlessly, because there has still not been a sufficiently strong line taken by Law and the Government on anti-social and hate-crime behaviour related views, and fellow-travellers of the culprits, in sections of the national press.

Added: 05/08/2017

Network initiative with Dorset County Council ‘Pop Up’ social group for LGB&T people in East Dorset:

The Network was approached earlier this year by Dorset County Council Social Services to develop an LGB&T rural Dorset ‘pop up’ social group for older LGB&T people in  the East of the county, in conjunction with POPP (Dorset area Partnership for Older People) and with Dorset Police backing.  The first of the once a month meetings is planned to start late July, and will take place in Wimborne.  Watch this space for more information, to join, or become a volunteer!

Partnership with Dorset Humanists Association:

The Network is very pleased to announce it is partnering with Dorset Humanist Association.  This important initiative stems from the many shared perspectives of humanists (whom from the earliest of times have been staunch pioneers and protectors in regard to free thought and beliefs that are free of dogma), and those of many LGB&T people across the ages who have suffered so much from some forms of dogmatic religion that is diametrically opposed to gay relationships and same-sex love.

We are very excited about bringing together the perspectives of both LGB&T & Humanist communities that share many common characteristics in terms of perspectives on intolerance. More news coming soon!

Lindsay England joins as our second Patron:

Lindsay England, founder and Chair of the national grassroots anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia in football and sport ‘Just a Ball Game?’ organisation has joined our Network as its second patron, joining our first patron, Sophie Cook, AFC Bournemouth Football Club Official Photographer and nationally renowned transgender motivational speaker (who has also recently contributed so strongly to our educational work at Royal Bournemouth Hospital through one of the two staff training videos there that we have helped to develop).  Lindsay will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the Network in developing activity to counteract homophobia and transphobia in sport, including potentially school sports.

LGB&T Awareness Days at DHUFT (Dorset Healthcare NHS University Foundation Trust) and Dorset County Hospital:

Jonai and Louise at Sentinel House

The Network had an LGB&T Awareness Day on 8th June at Sentinel House, the headquarters of Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust (DHUFT).  We wish to thank DHUFT Equality Manager David Corbin, and our own Jonai Da Silva of our LGB&T Dorset Equality Network, and who also works at Dorset Healthcare, for their initiation and strong support for this groundbreaking awareness day, that witnessed high level and extensive support and the start of a number of conversations on how our communities can work in co-production with DHUFT to enhance its services to make them more effective and appropriate to LGB&T community members.

On 23rd June we held an awareness day at Dorset County Hospital, however, given some issues on the day in regard to support, this has been rescheduled to be run afresh later this summer or in September along the lines followed so successfully at Royal Bournemouth Hospital and at DHUFT.  We greatly appreciate this strategy and approach by Dorset County Hospital.

At Poole General Hospital, we have also been supporting the important work of the hospital’s LGB&T group, whose lead is a senior matron and one of the first members of the Health Advisory Group that has been the precursor of the LGB&T Dorset Network itself.

Finally, we should highlight the valuable guidance we have been receiving from one of the senior matrons at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, who has joined the Network and is advising us on the areas where some new mechanisms can be usefully developed to provide more effective engagement with LGB&T patients of the hospital, particularly younger LGB&T people, and in regard to mental health related topics.

Bourne Free 2016:

The Network at Bourne Free 2016, provided valuable national level contribution through the attendance, including in the Parade, of Lindsay England, jointly representing the Network (Lindsay is a Co-Patron) and national grassroots campaign against homophobia, bi-phobia, and transphobia in football and sport.

Over The Rainbow (OTR):

The Network was asked to provide lead support when the Over The Rainbow Centre was recently considered for potential closure.  We have successfully provided this and are delighted to have prevented such a potential closure taking place unchallenged; the current position as a result of our intervention, is indicating continuity and some exciting options for consolidation and even the potential development of an LGB&T community hub that will also continue the OTR team’s national award-winning services for our LGB&T communities.

On learning that Bournemouth Borough Council, the local authority where OTR is located, felt not able to provide any supportive comment or representation (recorded in email with the Council’s equality lead), the Network in conjunction with Bourne Free, approached the Bournemouth West MP, Mr Conor Burns, who kindly provided a statement of strong support for the importance of OTR, and its hoped for continuation.

NHS England regional conference presentation from Network support at Royal Bournemouth Hospital:

The Network was mentioned and received acclaim for its collaborative work at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, at the NHS England regional Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) Health Education England ‘Wessex Quality & Improvement Conference.’  The conference took place at the Grand Harbour Hotel on 15th June, with RBH’s Sue Mellor and Alan Mercel-Sanca for our LGB&T Dorset Equality Network jointly presenting ‘Working With Hard to Reach Groups’ – principles for co-design and working in partnership with patients.

The presentation highlighted the work done to date at the hospital and how through co-production and co-design this is being taken further forward; mention was made of the first step in the relationship, through our Network, between the hospital and our LGB&T community through the LGB&T Awareness Day we had at the hospital in LGBT History Month (February) which enabled the LGB&T community to witness to the hospital publically highlighting its zero tolerance policy on homophobia and transphobia.

This being followed 3 months later by our work with the hospital to create two staff awareness training videos for enhancing engagement with LGB&T patients.  The Network will be working with the Wessex AHSN on guidance and involvement concerning LGB&T community related topics.  We are very excited about the opportunities this will provide at regional NHS England level for the voice of our LGB&T communities to be heard on issues and needs in healthcare that matter to us, in Dorset and across the Wessex region. You can read more about the conference here: https://hee.nhs.uk/hee-your-area/wessex/news-events/news/wessex-quality-improvement-conference