SCIE found that LGBTQI+ LGBTQI+ say they have experienced prejudice and social isolation. They also say they are worried that if they come out to PAs (Personal Assistants) / support workers or those that assess and review their support, then that support could be compromised. A new report, along with two films and two at a glance briefings, highlight, for the first time, some of the issues faced by LGBTQI+ Disabled People in England. They say that too often they have to make ‘bad bargains’ with PAs / support workers whereby they have (out of necessity) carried on with PA relationships even when there was an element of self-censorship or discrimination.
Quote from the report A man who was not out to his family with whom he lived at the time, said that he had built up enough rapport and confidence with one support worker to come out: “...So I thought I would tell him about my sexuality and he went straight downstairs and told my mum. She was crying. She said to me, 'Is this true?' So, I had to lie to my mum and say, 'I'm not gay.'” LGBTQI (+ Disabled People say there are many benefits to using Self Directed Support, such as having more choice and control over their care. But they say that this can be a challenge for a number of reasons. They fear coming out to PAs / support workers because their care might be jeopardised. They say that when care needs are being assessed and reviewed there is a lack of attention to sexual orientation and gender identity. They also say that they can experience social isolation; they have experienced prejudice; and they often feel isolated from the wider LGBTQI+ community. The report and films have been produced by the University of Bristol, the Social Care Institute for Excellence, Regard and Stonewall.
The research In a survey, in-depth interviews and a focus group of LGBTQI+ Disabled People who use self-directed social care support, researchers found:
More than half of those surveyed said that they never or only sometimes disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity to the Personal Assistants who they paid to support them
More than a third of those surveyed said that they had experienced discrimination or received poor treatment from their PAs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity
More than 90% of those surveyed said that their needs as a LGBTQI+ disabled person were either not considered at all or were only given some consideration when their needs were assessed or reviewed. Social isolation is a big issue. When asked about getting support to do LGBTQI+ 'things' (e.g. go to an event/bar, have help to have sex with self or others) 22% said that their PAs did not help them with any of these activities.