First, I would like to clarify that I left home voluntarily at 16, due to the pressures of having to deal and come to terms with my own sexuality. My emotions were so heightened that I felt too scared to come out and I left home. I sincerely apologise to my family if it appears in the article that they were responsible for my having to leave home - this is not true. After finding the courage to come out to my family I have found them to be extremely supportive. I left home because I was young, vulnerable and had to explore my own sexuality.
I have now been out for more than 25 years. The pressures still remain and the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are often ignored by a majority of public sector agencies, including social housing providers. All too often LGBT people are ridiculed, bullied, violated or even attacked. We have a right to live in any community and we have the right to remain in our homes. We also expect to feel safe and secure and protected.
I feel there is a lack of support from a majority of social housing providers. Lack of intervention or support means that you either have to flee your home to escape or live in silence and fear.
Personally I don’t think completing a diary sheet of negative experiences is the right answer. Most housing professionals have no idea of the impact of the challenges faced by LGBT tenants in social housing.
Shaun Wilson, Altrincham, Cheshire