LGBTQ+ History Month is an annual celebration established to provide an awareness on the history of the equal rights movement, and with the main objective to promote inclusivity in our society. Every year, February is a jam-packed month full of resources, education, and remembrance for our LGBTQ+ allies. At Active Care Group, we highlight the importance and our responsibility to ensure inclusion for all. We pride ourselves in providing exceptionally equal, fair, and diverse support for all individuals in our care. Active Care Group is committed to accepting everyone, both staff and service users, for who they are, who they wish to be and we are pioneering excellence for LGBTQ+ Supported Living and Residential care for all ages.
In our Supported Living homes, our initiative is to focus on actions that make a difference. With this in mind, we have put together weekly group sessions with our service users to communicate about LGBTQ+ matters and provide them with a safe place for the group to give feedback and ideas for positive changes in the home. This group also focuses on problems within the LGBTQ+ community and ways to introduce more inclusivity. In a Residential or Supported Living home caring for those with complex needs and disabilities, it is common for sexual orientation to be fluid and bisexuality is seen to be prevalent within the community. In those who have sustained a brain injury, it is frequent for feelings of gender inadequacy to occur post injury. Research has shown that the gender identity and outlook on masculinity and femininity had drastically changed one year on in those who experienced traumatic brain injuries. For these reasons alone, it is a fundamental responsibility of Active Care Group to have the conversation and acknowledge gender identity. When government restrictions start to subside, we cannot wait to get our groups up and running again and continue our proactive support.
After speaking to our Operations Manager Jenny Mein, a passionate LGBTQ+ supporter and part of the Stonewall team, she educated us on the importance of getting our service users involved in the community. National organisations such as Regard follow the Social Model of Disability and stands for the inclusion and equal rights within the disabled LGBTQ+ community. Groups such as Unique LGBT meet monthly in Central London and is specifically for disabled LGBTQ+ individuals to come together. Supporting our service users to attend important and revolutionary events such as Gay Pride around England self-affirms equality and increased visibility and helps them to get involved in this community. Jenny also acknowledged the support our LGBTQ+ residents receive in dating safely and building new relationships.
LGBTQ+ staff at Active Care Group receive the same level of support and resources as our service users. We do not discriminate against our employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity, instead we celebrate the uniqueness in our staff. We have previously had staff members undergoing gender transitions whilst working for Active Care Group. To dedicate our full support and to better our diversity and inclusion standards, we educate and train our service users to use the correct pronouns and develop an understanding of the transition someone in their care team may be going through. We take the time to inform and educate our colleagues, service users and management to make sure the transitioning person feels comfortable in their working environment. Service users who struggle to understand gender identity are offered workshops and training to answer any questions and to develop their awareness skills.
Active Care Group celebrates LGBTQ+ History Month every year and we look to implement the equality and diversity resources this month brings into our work every single day. We strive to provide the best support and care for our service users and that’s why we’ve taken a proactive step this month to ensure we use the correct pronouns across all of our collateral. From our website, brochures and other forms of media, we’re making the change from using phrases such as ‘male and female’ to ‘mixed gender identities” to included non-binary pronouns too. From Active Care Group’s Exec Team through to our dedicated carers, we are an inclusive group that celebrates uniqueness and differences in people. It is our mission to celebrate and support LGBTQ+ service users and staff, always start the conversation, break the stigma and provide open accessibility to resources, education, and support for a better quality of life for all.