Welcome to LGBT+ Voices Dorset Forum
lived experience - equality - accountability - advocacy
LGBT+ Voices Dorset Forum started life in August 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic that, whilst bringing hardship, loss, distress and devastation for millions, also instigated new and hybrid ways of working. Utilising the opportunity to bring community members, allies and professionals together whose disparate locations and busy diaries would previously have prevented us, we created a safe space with the shared, single focus of improving the lives of LGBT+ people across Dorset.
The Forum is the first of its kind in Dorset. It was started because there were no LGBT+-specific opportunities for community members and professionals to work together, to use their respective perspectives for good and instead, this missing piece of the jigsaw was creating divergence, entrenchment and a mutual sense of “them and us”. Now, with members drawn from across the statutory, community, voluntary and third sectors and the LGBT+ community, we are meeting every month and breaking down barriers, fears and distrust, through listening to, learning from and acting on LGBT+ voices and experiences. Through lots of incredible LGBT+ member organisations and local LGBT+ folk, we are harnessing existing and creating new, stronger networks. We are empowering LGBT+ people to use their experiences and be leaders in their local community, raising awareness, confidence and opportunity amongst professionals and pushing LGBT+ equality upwards in local priorities. As a collective, our knowledge is powerful and we can signpost and support so many people to live as their true selves.
We are proactive, vocal and committed and because together we are stronger, we are able to identify and meaningfully impact on the issues and experiences that matter to our community. The facility of a safe space to listen to and learn from each other is crucial but our strengths lies in our actions, as much as our words. Our LGBT+ community is facing trauma and abuse, the horrors of our community’s history are being repeated now hidden in broad daylight. Our Forum, our members and local and national LGBT+ organisations are working tirelessly to ensure that some of the most vulnerable, victimised and wonderful people in our society have spaces which are safe, people who accept and celebrate them for who they are, support and services which validate, empower and enable.
We work on the issues affecting Dorset’s LGBT+ community but we know there are many voices we do not hear, many intersections in communities who are left out of LGBT+ spaces and conversations and so, it is vital that we continue to reach out and let people know we are here. We hope you will join us!
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