A new research report by Stonewall and Runnymede Trust entitled One Minority at a Time: Being Black and Gay, examines the experiences of England’s black and minority gay population and their access to public services.
The report, based on interviews with LGBT people of color, finds that public service workers rarely consider or are trained to deal with the possibility of an individual being a double minority, resulting in inappropriate and poor quality of the services offered. The Guardian highlights some suggestions One Minority at a Time made for improving the system:
Don’t create a hierarchy between identities. Public bodies have historically given more thought to issues of race and disability than to sexual orientation. Participants pointed out that when public bodies have thought about how they can make services accessible to black and minority ethnic people they have often failed to consider lesbian, gay and bisexual people from these communities. The Equality Act creates an opportunity to consider sexual orientation by building on what services already know rather than starting all over again.
Participants felt that the views and voices of black gay people are rarely considered. Engage and involve local service users to make sure your services reflect the needs and experiences of black and minority ethnic gay people.
Staff should be well trained. Participants want service providers to develop a greater awareness about the needs of black and minority ethnic gay service users.
Ensure people can be open about their sexual orientation. Participants felt unsure about how staff would respond to them if they disclosed their sexual orientation and were anxious about how it would affect the service they received. They pointed out that there is often nothing to reassure them that they would not experience discrimination or negative reactions.
Make openly gay black and minority ethnic people more visible. Participants explained that more visibility of black gay people, for example by displaying gay-friendly images that reflect black and minority ethnic communities, would make them feel more confident to access services and to be open when doing so.
Provide practical support. Public bodies sometimes spend a lot of time developing action plans and reports. Participants said they would like to see practical interventions too, such as resources, information and opportunities which are targeted at them.
The full report can be read here.