This weekend is Birmingham Pride and LGBT activists, community groups and trade unions will be joining the march to say that Pride is a Protest! – See the report and photos from the event
Pride is a Protest! 2011
(c) Geoff Dexter-Sherborne Publications
There will be a focus on how the cuts and austerity agenda of the ConDem coalition are affecting LGBT people, and we are asking anyone who can to come along and help us – join the parade, help on a stall or talk to members of the public and Pride attendees about the cuts and how they are affecting LGBT people.
Our next meeting, at 6:30pm on Monday 11th June, will be about how cuts are affecting LGBT people, with a speaker and discussion for the 45 minutes of the meeting followed by planning and organisational items for the second half. Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting, and Pride is an excellent opportunity for us to reach out to a community, and continue to spread our message.
Cuts are affecting LGBT people hard, as they tend to be overrepresented in groups that use services or benefits provided by the state. In education, for instance, the scrapping of EMA hits LGBT harder than the student population as a whole because 8% of LGB students and 16% of trans students are either estranged from their parents or receive no financial assistance from them. Additionally, 15% of LGB and 34.8% of trans students fear losing financial support if they come out to their parents – making the scrapping of EMA an additional barrier for them to overcome.
If we look at unemployment we find that a larger proportion of LGBT people are employed in public services which are being cut, and before the cuts unemployment among trans people was 3 times the national average – in Brighton & Hove Albion, 26% were unemployed (with 60% earning less than £10,000/year). Overall LGBT are likely to experience higher levels of unemployment.
Housing issues affect LGBT people more than heterosexual people. This means that the idea of removing housing benefit for under 25s, which has been floated, with the notion that people could be living with their parents. If this happens it will be particularly difficult for LGBT people who are more likely to be estranged from their families.
We already know that in 2005, 30% of homeless people in urban areas were LGBT, and with homelessness rising, it is likely that LGBT people will be further affected. One of the alternatives to cuts that we are calling for is an investment in new council housing instead of cuts to housing benefit.
The ConDem coalition have also criminalised squatting of empty, unused residential buildings and are likely to do the same for empty, unused commercial buildings. This will simply have the effect of criminalising homeless people and increasing the number of street sleepers.
Cuts to the NHS, community health organisations and mental health services disproportionately affect LGBT people. In London, LGTBQ health support organisations have had 43% of their funding cut. Mental Health services around the UK are being cut back, and LGBT people are more likely to experience metal health disorders. Cuts to health benefits will see HIV patients forced back into work.
Legal Aid cuts mean that some asylum seekers will no longer have access to legal aid for their cases. Many LGBT people flee countries for fear of persecution, running from places where it is still illegal and sometimes punishable by death. They are often afraid to reveal their sexuality on arrival and the removal of legal support is a huge issue. The UK has already lost its two biggest providers of legal aid representation to migrants and asylum seekers.
To find out more about how LGBT people are affected by cuts, come along to our meeting on Monday 11th June, 6:30pm at Unison Offices, 19th Floor McClaren Tower, Priory Queensway, B4 7LR, and come along on Saturday to Birmingham Pride.
This leaflet is available, produced by Birmingham Against the Cuts & Birmingham and West Midlands Region GMB, and can be collected on Saturday at Pride or contact us if you want some to deliver before the meeting on the 11th: