February is LGBTQIA+ History Month
LGBTQIA+ History Month allows time for reflection and celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual History . It’s also a chance to raise awareness and highlight the issues people from these communities face.
This year, we are running an internal learning series for staff that shines a light on key moments in LGBTQIA+ history in the format of articles, videos, films and more.
For the homelessness sector here are some facts and figures that tell an important story. 
- Almost 1 in 5 LGBTQIA+ people (18%) have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. This includes 25% trans people and 28% LGBTQIA+ disabled people.
- Young (18–25-year-old) LGBTQ+ people are four times more likely to become homeless than their peers.
- 77% of these cite familial rejection and abuse after coming out as the primary cause of their homelessness.
- The true picture of LGBTQIA+ homelessness remains hidden for reasons such as 40% of mainstream homelessness and housing providers fail to undertake comprehensive and inclusive monitoring of gender and sexual identity.
- Compared to their non-LGBTQIA+ peers, young LGBTQI+ people facing homelessness are more likely to be subject to violence, sexual exploitation, develop substance abuse problems and engage in higher levels of at-risk sexual behaviour. This includes heightened risk of experiencing violence when sleeping rough, harassment and homophobic and transphobic bullying in temporary accommodation. 
- Members of the LGBTQIA+ population who experience homelessness are also less likely to seek support. If they do, they found services are not always well-equipped to deal with or understand LGBTQIA+ specific issues, especially those of the trans community. 
It is clear therefore that people from the LGBTQIA+ community are more likely to face homelessness with all its associated impacts on health, wellbeing, safety and access to employment and education
LGBTQIA+ friendly workplaces and organisations have the power to positively change these statistics, which is something worth taking action for. Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia often stem from ignorance, so it is important to be an active ally for the LGBTQIA+ community. There are many ways in which you can make your workplace LGBTQIA+ inclusive, such as learning from, listening to and respecting boundaries of all colleagues, including those who are LGBTQIA+.
Below are some great resources to get started with being more inclusive to the LGBTQIA+ community:
Service providers are not always aware of the sexuality or gender identity of the people they support and might not understand their needs. As a result, LGBTQIA+ individuals can struggle to get the right support, delaying their progression out of homelessness and increasing the risk of further disadvantage or exclusion.
The briefing above gives an informative overview for staff who might be new to thinking about the sexuality and gender identity of the people they support, and who want to develop their understanding of good practice in service delivery for people who identify as LGBTQIA+. It includes suggestions for making services more inclusive, as well as a resource list for further reading and support.
Within the LGBTQIA+ community, trans young people, like other young people, may find themselves experiencing homelessness for a multitude of reasons. However, while trans young people may have similar experiences to their cis-gendered counterparts, they will also have needs specific to their identities and it is important for services to recognise this.
This guidance includes topics such as: understanding young trans people’s journeys into and experiences of homelessness, the impact of homelessness and discrimination, and how services can improve the support they provide to young trans people. Familiarising yourself with this resource can help services and individuals to celebrate difference and tailor the support they offer to young trans people.
Change may not happen overnight, but with dedication and education we can inform ourselves and start to learn (and unlearn) behaviours and practices that will play a key part in us all being more LGBTQIA+ inclusive.
- LGBT+ people disproportionately impacted by homelessness — APPG on Global LGBT+ Rights (appglgbt.org)
- Download.ashx (akt.org.uk)
- Download.ashx (akt.org.uk)
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