Identity – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender
Action for Children is committed to promoting, building
and sustaining equality and inclusion for all lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender children, young people and families we
support, as well as our staff and volunteers.
This page details our organisational approach and illustrates
our work in projects via three case studies.
Our organisational approach
All projects are expected to take account of both the equality
scheme and the equality and diversity policy. These set out the
ways we expect teams to promote equality and diversity in their
day-to-day work and planning.
There is a lot of good practice in projects relating to diversity,
and this is supported by ongoing learning and development
opportunities to raise awareness of issues concerning sexual
orientation and gender identity.
For example, we have run two LGBT conferences in the last two
years. In our latest one, we formed a partnership with an
organisation called Gendered Intelligence, who ran a workshop for
participants, but also undertook a performance piece written and
produced by LGBT young people, called 'Brief Encounters'. The
education pack that came with this drama project has been made
available as a resource for all projects.
Case study - Halton Youth Service, Cheshire
Halton Youth Service's Operations Manager and Director
for LGBT Youth North West, Sally Carr:
"At Halton Youth Service, we ensure that our workforce is
trained to be able to support LGBT young people in both open and
targeted youth provisions. We have a dedicated weekly LGBT youth
group, where young people can access specific support and
"We celebrate key events and activities in the LGBT year such as
LGBT History Month in February, and were part of the Manchester
Pride parade in August. We train LGBT young people to deliver
workshops in youth provisions and schools, and at major events such
as the Halton anti-bullying conference.
"As such, we are active members of the borough's LGBT planning
group, and have set up our 11 youth clubs as third-party hate crime
reporting centres, including training our staff to support young
people to make reports, if necessary."
Case study - Mermaids joint creative project
Wendi Bestman, Diversity Manager at Action for
"We developed a partnership with Mermaids to help provide a voice
to children, young people and families living with gender identity
and transgender issues. The first element of that partnership saw
us produce 'Where do the mermaids stand?' an anthology of poetry,
prose and artwork developed by children, young people and
"The companion piece to this work will be a good practice guide,
developed and produced alongside a number of children, young people
and families and informed by the expertise of Mermaids and other
key support groups and organisations."
Case study - Adoption services, Kent
Anne and Karen, a lesbian couple:
"Once we had decided to adopt we contacted Action for Children who
welcomed us. There were many home visits, visits with friends and
relatives, copious amounts of paperwork and a three-day training
course, where we met other couples hoping to adopt. This whole
experience was very positive and during the process we made friends
with other prospective adopters. At no time were we ever made to
feel different from anybody else.
"About two years on from our initial enquiry we went in front of a
panel of professionals who were to make a decision on whether we
would be able to adopt. We passed and were very excited as we began
to look through adoption magazines and newspapers.
"As we both have experience as teachers, we were interested in
adopting one or two boys with more challenging behaviour,
especially those that were slightly older as these are often harder
to place. We had very mixed experiences with social workers at this
stage, some of which showed intolerance or negativity due to our
gender or sexual orientation. Eventually, though, the social
workers of two boys contacted Action for Children enquiring about
us. They visited us and it was immediately apparent that they were
seriously interested in us as prospective parents.
"The next step was to prepare the boys, which was done by their
social workers, while we put together a book all about our family.
Once all the preparation had been done, we spent two weeks getting
to know them and at the end of the two weeks they came to live with
us. This was the end of what, at times, had seemed like an
impossible task, but the beginning of what has so far been an
amazing journey for all of us.
"Throughout our experience the social workers and staff from Action
for Children were hugely supportive and we will always be grateful
to them. We would also like to encourage anyone seriously
interested in becoming adoptive parents to persevere - it will at
times seem like a long, drawn-out process but one that is so
definitely worth it in the end."
Further help and support
If you need support or advice you can call Stonewall
on 08000 502 020 or Childline on 0800 11 11.
Other useful websites:
Mermaids - Support and information for UK-based
gender variant children and teens, their families and
Queer Youth Network - National LGBT youth
organisation in the UK.
Scotland - Scotland's largest youth and community-based LGBT
LGBT Youth North West - Supporting LGBT young
people and LGBT youth organisations in the North West of
Peer Health Project - Working to improve young lesbian and
bisexual women's health.
GRIN - An awareness campaign to promote
equality and respect in education focusing particularly on the
LGBTQ community in the US and the UK.