Strengthening the rights of LGBTQ+ people in Wales is as important for people with a learning disability as it is for all of us
Welsh Government’s LGBTQ+ Action Plan
In October 2021, Welsh Government consulted on their LGBTQ+ Action Plan. LGBTQ+ means lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and the plus stands for other identities or sexual orientations like asexual, pansexual or non-binary. You can find an easy-read guide to being LGBTQ+ on Mencap’s website. Welsh Government’s Action Plan aims to tackle inequalities experienced by LGBTQ+ communities, challenge discrimination and create a society where LGBTQ+ people are safe to live and love authentically, openly and freely as themselves. We responded to the consultation both on our own and as part of the Supported Loving Cymru network.
What we think of the plan in general
Learning Disability Wales strongly supports the LGBTQ+ Action Plan and sees it as an important step in making Wales a better country for LGBTQ+ people with a learning disability. We support wholeheartedly the inclusion of transgender individuals within the plan. The learning-disabled community has historically faced stigma and discrimination from society, institutions and individuals within them. The fight for equality for people with a learning disability and trans people is strongly linked and we stand in solidarity with the transgender community.
Having control over your own life
There can be significant challenges for people with learning disabilities taking control of all aspects of their life. They are sometimes viewed as ‘childlike’ rather than adults who have adult feelings and deserve to live adult lives is therefore important that Welsh Government ensures that people with a learning disability, as well as other disabled people, are given the same opportunities and freedoms as everyone else.
Creating safe spaces for people to learn about themselves
We would also like to emphasise the need to create safe spaces for people with a learning disability to discover who they are and to learn about LGBTQ+ issues. We are also concerned that many people with a learning disability might not be sufficiently aware of their rights and ways to have those enforced. Welsh Government should assign specific funding and resources to enable these spaces. The best way to go about this would be to engage directly with self-advocacy organisations for people with a learning disability, including All Wales People First and local People First Groups, to explore the logistics of this.
If you have any questions or if you would like the consultation responses in other formats (including Welsh) please get in touch with our Policy Officer Grace at Grace.Krause@LDW.org.uk.