Birmingham LGBT aims to make Birmingham the leading location for LGBT people to grow older
Birmingham LGBT is launching Ageing with Pride, a year-long campaign aimed at promoting the lives and lived experiences of older LGBT people across the city, focusing on highlighting the positive contributions those over the age of 50 and who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender have made to the region both today and historically. The new campaign, funded by the Big Lottery Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better programme, also aims to tackle ageism, something many older LGBT people experience from not only wider society, but commonly from within their own community too.
“There’s an emphasis on youth as being central to participation in LGBT communities” Birmingham LGBT research, 2016.
Research by Stonewall highlighted that social isolation is a serious issue for older LGBT people, with older LGBT people significantly more likely to be living alone, 41% compared to 28% of heterosexuals. A key output of the high-end campaign, which will see adverts appearing in a number of locations including on the sides of city-centre buses, will signpost older LGBT people to community groups and activities that can reduce isolation.
Cross-generation cohesion, a key strategic output of Ageing with Pride, will aim to bring both older and younger LGBT people together and will face, head-on, the negative image the so-called ‘gay scene’ has for many people in the LGBT community.
Maria Hughes, Ageing Better Co-ordinator at Birmingham LGBT, said:
“Ageism plays a big part in creating isolation and loneliness in the 50+ LGBT communities. LGBT people who fought for their rights in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s can now perceive themselves to be too old for the ‘gay scene’; wondering what opportunities there are for them to meet, socialise, enjoy activities and celebrate their histories, especially if their partners and friends have passed on. Being lesbian, gay, bi or trans should be no barrier to celebrating lives and experiences, and I’m looking forward to supporting this campaign to achieve these celebrations.”
Ageing with Pride will also recruit Ambassadors from all walks of life and backgrounds to go out into the wider community to promote the key messages of the campaign. Ambassadors will visit care homes, GP surgeries, community centres, hospitals and libraries armed with the knowledge, materials and messages to improve areas and services with respect to inclusion for older LGBT people. Talking about the importance of Birmingham LGBT delivering this crucial campaign, Director Steph Keeble said:
“I am really excited that Birmingham LGBT are able to deliver this campaign. The aim is for it to be highly visible, addressing the issues that older LGBT people face, but also celebrating the lives and achievements of our LGBT elders many of whom fought discrimination and campaigned for the achievements in human rights we all now share.”
The campaign will run for 12 months from August and include three main ‘campaign bursts’: intense periods of promotion that coincide with major events across the city including SHOUT Festival of Queer Culture (November 2018), LGBT History Month (February 2019) and Birmingham Pride (May 2019). Ageing with Pride will launch at a special event hosted by legal firm Gowling WLG on 16th August with local politicians, media, business leaders and community figureheads in attendance.
Birmingham LGBT is the city’s leading charity advocating for and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities in Birmingham and beyond. It offers a range of services focused on improving the health and wellbeing of individuals. It also believes passionately that Birmingham should be one of the best places in the UK for LGBT people to live, work and socialise, and works to enable a thriving, visible and proud LGBT community in the city. www.blgbt.org