Having launched in December 2017 The Angels of Freedom group are a community volunteer led organisation, working on providing compassionate care and support within the LGBT+ communities of Leeds. We are currently looking to work with FFLAG (Family & Friends of Lesbians & Gays) to create a Leeds based peer support/self-help group for family & friends of the LGBT+ community.
There are many challenges facing LGBT+ people in the UK as evidenced within recent studies:
- Leeds LGBT+ Mapping Project study (Commissioned by Leeds City Council),
- LGBT+ In Britain: Home & Communities (Stonewall UK),
- National LGBT+ Survey (Government study).
Findings within these studies include:
- Homelessness amongst young people is estimated at 40% LGBT+
- Leeds survey found 3 in 4 LGBT+ people who responded had experienced a mental health crisis in last year.
- Increase in Hate incidents being experienced (40% of respondents within the last 12 months), against a decrease in reporting.
- Higher rate of domestic abuse & coercive control issues.
- 68-70% avoid being open in public about their Sexuality or Gender Identity for fear of negative reactions.
Although the results covered don't paint a positive picture for LGBT+ communities there are also many positive outcomes from the surveys - however, the purpose of this group is to acknowledge and help address the challenges that can impact on the quality of life experienced by LGBT+ people, so these findings have been selected to reflect this.
We also need to acknowledge the challenges that can be faced by family & friends of LGBT+ people. Where cultural, faith and societal pressures can block acceptance & support for LGBT+ family members, a peer support group such as this can provide the assistance needed to address the challenge and support healthy family relationships based on understanding, support & respect.
We're looking for family members of LGBT+ people to work with our LGBT+ volunteers to provide a safe & supportive environment, in the creation of a Leeds based self-help group to work with others in understanding Sexuality & Gender Identities. Current trustees for FFLAG are going to visit Leeds to speak about their background in getting involved with the national organisation, and the work they're undertaking so please get in touch if you'd be interested in helping to set up a run a Leeds based group.
Work is already happening in Leeds in providing support specifically for family & friends on Transgender (and those questioning their gender) via the Outreach workers from the Gender Identity Clinic, so the new group would be looking work in partnership with them.
Information regarding FFLAG can be found at www.fflag.org.uk - and if you're interested in attending the first session with them please get in touch with Rob on firstname.lastname@example.org