Currently the Hull & East Riding of Yorkshire LGBT Forum meets in what is on the face of it a very scary room. The portraits of all the former Lord Mayors of Kingston Upon Hull and Admirals of the Humber watch as you conduct business. The meeting on Wednesday 9th October 2013 was one of those that left me feeling that connections were being made and the right LGBT community people were engaging with the agency representatives that are potentially able to effect change, develop and improve the lives of all of us.
I must admit there are are meetings when you sit there and think… please someone do something or say something that is going to justify us giving up two hours of our time on the second Wednesday of every month but those type of meetings seem to be getting less and less frequent.
It’s becoming much more than just agencies seeking to tick a box, “yes, we’ve asked them” and more about getting some input from people who have lived the experience. People with stories of good and bad times that if heard will make a difference.
In one word: Visibility.
The Forum gives the LGBT community visibility and a point of contact. I know not everyone needs help but not everyone knows where they can get help or gain an understanding of what is on offer to make choices about e.g. health and social care.
We seem to have a good balance of everything and this all happens without a terribly formal infrastructure or concerns about money. Yes, I am certain with a budget and controls in place we could achieve so much more but for now working in a spirit of friendship and reaching consensus, acknowledging that we are all LGBT supportive we are achieving.
Thank you to all who contribute no matter your age or background everyone has an opportunity to speak and more importantly get involved.