Safe place to be you
2BUWakefield organiser Christian says: “To anyone wanting to set up their own group, trust your instinct and allow yourself the time to think of those new experiences. We all deserve opportunities for happiness every day. I’m really pleased, we are a little part of history now, it’s a bit of a buzz.”
In 2015, Christian joined Choice Support as a supported living manager in Wakefield. Here he met Charlotte, a person we support who was beginning to explore her gender identity and the possibility of transitioning to become her true self.
“I worked really closely with Charlotte, and we built a trusting relationship. It became apparent that Charlotte wanted to go out and meet like-minded individuals like herself. Through our research, we found loads of mainstream groups, but Charlotte didn’t feel confident meeting people that she didn’t know, who might not understand her.”
In 2017 Christian became involved in Supported Loving, a human rights-based campaign hosted by Choice Support. Supported Loving believe that people with learning disabilities and/or autism should be able to enjoy the same sexual and romantic freedoms as everyone else. After attending a Supported Loving training event, Christian came away feeling inspired. Looking back at the event he says: “I found the training so exciting. We were having big conversations and it just felt so real”. Together, Christian and Charlotte began to think about creating their own group and in 2018 they created 2BUWakefield.
2BUWakefield brings together people in the LGBTQ+ community who have a learning disability or autism and provides a safe place for everyone to be themselves. Every second Thursday the group comes together to eat, drink, socialise and listen to guest speakers. The group has also attended events to promote the group and spread their message.
“We attended events in Wakefield, Doncaster and Batley, we called it a roadshow… we had so much support from colleagues, family, and friends. We had an information stall, we ran a raffle, sold key rings, did face painting and raised funds for the group.”
The group provides members with the opportunity to socialise and the support to do the things they want to. As the group organiser Christian says: “I really love my job, I love what I do and the opportunities it has afforded me, 2BUWakefield has given me something to focus on, the opportunity to be something and be involved in something.”