Companionship, love and intimacy
We all need companionship, love, and intimacy, but for people identifying as LGBTQ+, there can be additional barriers to overcome.
Choice Support must help remove the barriers for people we support who identify as LGBTQ+. It is our job to encourage discussions. Ignoring the issues, denies people the right to express their sexuality.
Supported Loving has worked with the CQC to produce a document called, Promoting Sexual Safety through Empowerment (2020), which makes clear that: “it is a basic human right for people to express their sexuality and to be empowered, supported and protected when using adult social care services”.
I am pleased the CQC is making clear statements about support to people identifying as LGBTQ+, but we should not be offering support because our regulator says so. We should be working with people because it is the right thing to do. It is in line with our values – to care, respect, learn and lead, and our core purpose as an organisation – creating opportunities for happiness. How can people be happy if they are not able to express who they are, how they feel and, live the life they choose?
It is not our job to discourage people from discussing how they feel about their sexual preference. People need positive support and guidance. We are lucky at Choice Support. We have people to help us understand better ways of supporting people to feel and be safe in a community that may be new to them.
It is essential that you can direct people to social groups and networks, such as, Rainbow Friends in London and 2BU Wakefield. These are great examples of how Choice Support encourages safe places for people to meet others and express themselves as they wish. We have a core of staff leading the way, that includes – Pippa Gascoigne (Involvement Manager), Claire Bates (Supported Loving Leader), Jon Dennison (Support Worker) and Christian Buchan (Supported Living Manager).
There is lots of information available on our website via the Supported Loving network, watch my latest vlog, or please go and look and/or contact the people above. Remember “LGBTQ+ people need to be proactively supported by staff who understand the need to adequately balance risk and responsibility toward the individual concerned. This will help LGBTQ+ people to form and maintain personal, loving, intimate and sexual relationships,” – CQC’s Relationships and Sexuality in adult social care services (2019).
I would like to thank Pippa Gascoigne for helping me write this article.