Housing association tenants and customers who identify as lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) met to discuss issues relating to their housing needs, at a national conference held in Liverpool city centre.
Riverside, which has its head office in Liverpool and properties across the country, hosted the event where customers from Merseyside, London and the South East, Yorkshire, Humberside, the North East and the Midlands joined housing association colleagues. Guest speakers from Stonewall, housing specialists and tenant groups discussed LGBT equality, the history of the gay rights movement and whether the struggle for equality is over.
As one of the country’s leading gay-friendly employers, with a place in Stonewall’s Top 100 Workplace Equality Index Employers list, Riverside’s commitment to LGBT equality extends to its customers.
The annual conference provides a platform for people to share their experiences.
Riverside’s Stephen Chapman, who chaired the conference, said:
“It was great to see people from across the generations sharing their experience of being out and proud and how society has changed in terms of LGBT equality. LGBT people can experience a range of issues, from hate crime to discrimination and homophobic and transphobic abuse in neighbourhoods. It’s important that we listen to the specific issues our customers experience and put into place actions to support them.”
Research suggests that LGBT people have long been over represented in the homeless community and that issues within the family, among others, can result in many young people ending up on the streets, in a variety of unsafe places.
“Our training programme, Finding Safe Spaces, develops a greater understanding of the issues that LGBT homeless people face on a day-to-day basis and helps us to address them in our support services,” added Stephen.
Riverside tenant, Alison Stokes who is a trans comedienne, led a comedy workshop at the conference based on trans awareness and acceptance.
Alison said: “It is not every day that you find a social landlord who doesn’t just collect the rent, but also cares about the communities it serves and gives something back. Riverside puts its equality and diversity commitment into action by responding to the diverse needs of different people, so that we all feel valued, respected and treated fairly.”