Meet The Wild Rainbows – our LGBTQ+ advisory group
After watching the Brighton pride parade in 2015, my Gig Buddies team discussed how we had not noticed any visibility of organisations supporting LGBTQ+ people with learning disabilities. We knew it would be a great opportunity for our gig buddies who identify as LGBTQ+ or unsure to have the chance to march in Pride alongside volunteers, family and friends who supported them.
Over the last 3 years, the number of gig buddies who identify as LGBTQ+ has grown and we realised the demand was there for us to make sure they were represented and supported in their community.
Marching in Pride 2016
We invited members of gig buddies to march with us in Pride 2016 and the response was overwhelming. We had participants, volunteers, support workers and parents all marching together with our friends from HeartVenture.
It was during this march that one of the participants suggested we start a new group alongside our Storm and Thunder advisory group specifically aimed at LGBTQ+ Gig Buddies.
We applied for a small grant through Pride Impact Fund and agreed that if we were successful we would use this grant to support a gig buddies coordinator facilitate events specifically aimed at supporting our LGBTQ+ participants. This would include updating our core work such as writing easy read guides to sexuality, relationships and safe sex, as well as going out to social events.
Thanks to the grant received from the Pride Impact Fund we were able to launch this group in LGBT history month in February where the group named themselves the Wild Rainbows!
The Wild Rainbows!
The Wild Rainbows, supported by Gig Buddy staff, have planned social events for the up coming months and also decided upon topics which they would like to discuss during their meetings. For example, it was made prevalent during the first meeting that personal safety was a primary concern for all the participants. As a result of this, Gig Buddy staff will now help to support the Wild Rainbows in receiving important information and training in collaboration with the LGBT community safety network about how to improve their personal safety.
Throughout LGBT History month Wild Rainbows participated in a British Sign Language Workshop and a charity information-sharing event. Since then they have attended the ladyboys of Bangkok as their first social, 2 of the group will be going to Glastonbury to volunteer with the gig buddies team to promote our project, and we are all planning to march in Pride again in August.
(We’re also hoping to update, and add to our Stay Up Late Guides to…, as a part of supporting people to have more accessible information).
I have been asked more then once ‘have you met anyone with a learning disability who thinks they are gay?’ like it would be too complex for someone with a learning disability to know.
We hope by being out and proud as a group we can encourage more LGBTQ+ gig buddies to join the Wild rainbows this year so that we can continue to create meaningful and sustainable networks between adults with learning disabilities and their community.
Additionally we also like to spread fun and happiness as we engage in our serious work and would also run some awareness raising ‘dance bombs’ around the city with our wheelie bin sound system ‘Binyonce’ – who also marched with us at Pride last year and enable us to raise awareness in an accessible and engaging way.
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