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2004 National Lesbian & Gay Conference
30 July 2004

Conference recognises there is increasing recognition of issues facing LGBT service users, in particular welcoming the publication of “Not Just a Friend” giving guidance on the recognition of same sex relationships.

Conference further welcomes that equality and diversity have been recognised as core standards in the NHS and also recognises that the Local Government Association has published guidance on issues relating to sexual orientation.

Conference acknowledges that people with Learning Disability have not always been given the recognition and autonomy that most us take for granted and recognises there is a long history of failure to respect people with a Learning Disability to have autonomy and choice in their lives.

Whilst recognising that much improvement has taken place Conference believes that relatively few services fully recognise the rights of people with a Learning Disability to engage in relationships with people of the same sex or acknowledge the presence of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people. Whilst services on the whole are not homophobic, many are unintentionally heterosexist. That is, without being intentionally homophobic they assume heterosexuality as the norm and fail to recognise the needs of LGBT service users and staff.

In addition, Conference recognises that without support, guidance and training individual staff members who work positively with LGBT clients with a Learning Disability may be vulnerable to false allegations (e.g. From co-workers, family members and carers).

Conference believes that

1.There needs to be more research into the ways in which services to people with Learning Disabilities are able to support service users who engage in same sex relationships;

2.All staff who provide services to people with Learning Disabilities should have sexuality awareness training;

3.Staff working with people with Learning Disabilities should be supported by guidelines which ensure equality in practice.

To this end Conference calls on the NLGC to continue to publicise good practice in this area and ensure that the needs of people with Learning Disabilities are fully reflected in its work.