Blog – January 2019

Firstly we would like to wish you all a Happy New Year!

January has been a busy month for us at the forum with LGBT History Month right around the corner (February 2019).

LGBT History Month 2019

LGBT History month is to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public.
This is done by:
• Increasing the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT”) people, their history, lives and their experiences in the curriculum and culture of educational and other institutions, and the wider community;
• Raising awareness and advancing education on matters affecting the LGBT community;
• Working to make educational and other institutions safe spaces for all LGBT communities; and
• Promoting the welfare of LGBT people, by ensuring that the education system recognises and enables LGBT people to achieve their full potential, so they contribute fully to society and lead fulfilled lives, thus benefiting society as a whole.
The theme for February 2019 is History: Peace; Reconciliation and Activism.
The Tower Hamlets LGBT Forum & ELOP, supported by the Borough of Tower Hamlets, have been working in partnership with The Metropolitan Police, Swan Housing, The Outside Project, The Gallery café, The Idea Store, and Poplar Union and The National LGB&T Partnership to provide a range of events during February and March across the borough of Tower Hamlets.
We will be celebrating the launch of LGBT History Month with fantastic guest speakers and presentations from a variety of organisations at the Launch Event.

We have fantastic guest speakers attending this year’s event, including;
•Charlotte Dobson, Senior Community Outreach Officer for Parliament in London
•Pliny Soocoormanee, Executive Assistant at the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
•Richard Desmond, Chair of Victoria Park Friends, Local Activist and Volunteer
•Linda Wilkinson, Award-winning Author, Playwright and Historian

Our next event;
Then the gallery Café will host;
With our last event in February;

January LGBT Community forum
At our January Tower Hamlets LGBT Forum meeting we had a focus on specific concerns regarding the Trans community.
The discussion was mainly focused on Trans’ people’s experience of accessing services. We heard that Trans people in Tower Hamlets often face barriers. Sometimes, due to the lack of knowledge about the continuous nature of someone’s transition and sometimes the fear that medical professionals have, Trans people are less likely to have trust in the medical community.
One member explained that when they first arrived in the UK and registered with their local GP, the intake form for their practice had no reference to gender identity or sexuality, this suggested to them that the practice would not be equipped, or informed well enough to assist the LGB, but more specifically T community effectively.
We heard how at times, this can lead to Trans people resorting to DIY transition attempts or to swapping testosterone prescriptions, rather than following any sort of traditional medical route. In this way, it showed how Trans people could feel excluded and isolated from mainstream services and that their health was at risk because of it.
Another shortfall was located with Pharmacies; there had been 2 occasions where the same pharmacist had provided the wrong instructions and dosage of testosterone to the same patient twice. The pharmacy appeared to clearly lack knowledge on administering such medication to the Trans community.

Consultation
The Borough of Tower Hamlets is currently running a consultation. The council wants to ensure local residents are aware of all that their local pharmacy provides. We are currently assessing the needs of pharmaceutical services for the local population, now and in the coming years. Take this opportunity to share your views about pharmacy services in Tower Hamlets.
Based on some of the experiences we heard at the last forum meeting it is important for the LGBT community in TH to have a say here.
Follow the link and complete the survey;
https://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgnl/council_and_democracy/consultations/Pharmacy_needs_assessment.aspx

Updates from the Forum
The forum attended The No Place For Hate Forum this month.
Tower Hamlets Council’s No Place for Hate Forum’s focus is to support the community to help tackle hate crime, supporting victims, raising awareness of the impact of discrimination and aiding the prosecution of perpetrators.
It also calls on residents to pledge to do their bit – A total of 2864 people and 142 organisations have already pledged to:
• Do their best to combat prejudice and to stop those who, because of hate or ignorance, would hurt anyone or violate their dignity.

• Try at all times to be aware of their own prejudices and seek to gain understanding of those who they perceive as being different from themselves.
• Speak out against all forms of prejudice and discrimination.

• Reach out to support those who are targets of hate.
• Think about specific ways their community can promote respect for all people and make Tower Hamlets No Place for Hate.
If you are against any form of Hate Crime then sign the pledge here;
https://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgnl/community_and_living/community_safety__crime_preve/hate_crime/personal_pledge.aspx

In other LGBT+ News
Stonewall have just published their annual Top 100 Employers for LGBT people. Law firm Pinsent Masons topped the list for its inclusive policies and attitudes towards transgender staff. MI5, a fire brigade and the Welsh government were also among the best LGBT employers in the UK. Several universities, the British Army, Lloyds Bank and Tower Hamlets based homeless charity St Mungo’s also feature in Stonewalls list.
Alongside the top 100 list, Stonewall also announced their role models of the year.
Jacqueline Quinn, senior learning experience manager at Sky UK, was named Lesbian Role Model of the Year and Ray Vincent, associate Chaplain at the University of South Wales, was named Gay Role Model of the Year.
https://www.stonewall.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/top-100-employers-2019

Britain’s only dedicated gay and lesbian bookshop – ‘GAY’S THE WORD’ established in 1979 – is celebrating its 30th birthday. The bookshop almost closed in 2007 but managed to pull through!
So a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to them, from all of us at the Tower Hamlets LGBT Forum and ELOP.
If you would like to visit the store their details can be found here;
https://www.facebook.com/gaystheword/

Happy LGBT History Month 2019!!!

Our next meeting on Monday 14th January at Positive East. 159 Mile End Road, London E1 4AQ. 6-8pm will have a special focus on Hate Crime. Guest speakers include Billie – Serious Violent Crime Caseworker from Victim Support and Tehmina – Restorative Justice Development Officer for the organisation Why Me? If you Live, work or study in Tower Hamlets you won’t want to miss this!

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About thLGBTvoices

The Forum is for all LGBT+ people (& allies!) who live, work or study in the London borough of Tower Hamlets - discussing & influencing issues that affect us
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