On June 13th Opening Doors London (ODL) hosted a national ‘Pride in Care’ conference.
ODL (the UK’s biggest charity supporting the older LGBTQI+ population) brought together leading experts and members of the LGBTQI+ community to discuss how improvements in the social care industry.
Our Managing Director Ramses spoke alongside Senior Lecturer in Health at The Open University, Dr Rebecca Jones and Oral Historian Dr Jane Traies on LGBTQI+ identities ageing in the social care system.
Alternative Care Services Managing Director Ramses speaking at the Pride in Care ConferenceThroughout the day there were numerous fantastic talks on various subjects ranging from Dementia and cancer within the LGBT community, housing advice, improving mental health, living longer with HIV and how best to cope with social isolation.
Other speakers on the day included Alice Wallace, Director of Opening Doors London, Dr Ben Thomas, Professor of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in the School of Health and Social Care at London South Bank University and Anna Kear, CEO of Tonic Housing.
This entire event was fantastic, giving real insight into development of care services and the importance of staffing and culture in delivering excellent care designed specifically for # community
At Alternative Care Services we do things a bit differently, we have to as we are the UK’s first and only LGBTQI+ at-home care provider.
It is our mission to make sure all of our clients are provided the very best, discrimination-free service, as we believe dignity and respect is paramount to providing fantastic care.
Being the first company of its kind in the UK, we have come across many aspects of the care industry that we believe could be improved – particularly when it comes to working with the ageing LGBTQI+ community.
When we registered as a care provider with the Care Quality Commission, we realised that the independent regulator did not have a category for LGBT service users or companies.
This signified a vital issue to us; that the LGBTQI+ community remains invisible within the care industry, something that we believe must change.
We therefore contacted the folks at the CQC to see how we could effect change and ensure LGBTQI+ service users are acknowledged and offered a choice.
After months of discussions, the regulator agreed that its registration process needed to change and confirmed to us that it would now redevelop the entire CQC registration process!
We are thrilled to have been a catalyst of change and to have worked directly with the CQC to make sure LGBTQI+ people are no longer invisible when it comes to the industry.
It is worth noting that this is still a work in progress, and there is still much to do to, but with the help of fantastic organisations like the CQC, and its staff, we can improve services for all.
It was bright and warm June morning that Ramses, our MD was invited on LBC radio to challenge the protests of Man Friday, a Feminist group that opposes the 2018 Gender Recognition Act.
Speaking on the popular Nick Ferrari radio program, Ramses discussed the possible changes in law and explained to the audience and protestors why the new changes were a positive step for the trans, non-binary and non-gender community.
He argued that these protests signify that it’s ok to hate the trans, non-binary and non-gender community. You can hear the full show here:
What is Man Friday and why are they protesting?
Back in March the female activist group called Man Friday attended a men-only swim session wearing just trunks and pink swimming caps to protest against proposed changes that would enable trans, non-binary and non-gender people to choose their own gender.
Man Friday aim “To raise awareness among men of the misogynistic and homophobic pro-self-ID policies that are allowing men to appropriate women’s spaces, services and positions,” one activist told The Independent.
The group also want to challenge the idea that sex and gender are interchangeable and for organisations to use the lawful exemptions in the Equality Act to protect the rights, safety, dignity and privacy of women.
What is the Gender Recognition Act?
The first thing you should know is that the GRA is not new. It was introduced to UK law in 2004 and officially let an adult register to change the gender assigned to them at birth.
However, the 2018 update of the Gender Recognition Act has been surrounded in much controversy. Why?
As new proposed changes would mean trans, non-binary and non-gender adults would be able to sign a self-identification form to register without the need for a ‘diagnosis’ of gender dysphoria.
The current legislation requires trans, non-binary and non-gender people to provide psychiatric assessments and proof of living for two years in the gender they wish to be officially recognised.
The new self-id would make it much simpler and less medicalised
Opposition to the change comes in the form of organisations like
There are already multiple countries (Portugal, Ireland, Malta, Belgium, Norway and Denmark) using the self-id process with, so far, no evidence of anyone abusing them for sinister purposes.
Why is it important for transgendered people to be able to self-refer?
“It’s important because the older systems that have been in place since the 2004 is woefully inadequate, people and if you can decide at any time in your life that you are heterosexual, you should be able to deice what gender you are,” explained Ramses.
We work with many fantastic organisations and charities at Alternative Care Services.
One of our favourites is Opening Doors London (ODL), the UK’s biggest information and support charity older LGBTQI+ people.
On June 13th ODL will host a national ‘Pride in Care’ conference, which aims to bring together leading organisations and members of the LGBTQI+ community to discuss how improvements in the social care industry can be made.
Who will be speaking at the ODL Pride in Care conference?
So we are excited and thrilled that our Managing Director Ramses Underhill-Smith will be guest speaker at the event.
Ramses will be speaking alongside the esteemed Dr Rebecca Jones (Senior Lecturer in Health at The Open University) and Dr Jane Traies (Oral Historian) on LGBTQI+ identities ageing in the social care system.
Alternative Care Services Managing Director RamsesWhat will be discussed at the Pride in Care event?
Throughout the day there will be numerous talks on various subjects ranging from Dementia and cancer within the LGBT community, housing advice, improving mental health, living longer with HIV and how best to cope with social isolation.
Other speakers on the day will include Alice Wallace, Director of Opening Doors London, Dr Ben Thomas, Professor of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities in the School of Health and Social Care at London South Bank University and Anna Kear, CEO of Tonic Housing.
When is the ODL Pride in Care Conference?
Pride in Care conference will kick-off on June 13th at 9:30am and is an all-day event, there are still tickets available if you’d like to go along to take part in any of these fascinating discussions.
Where is it being held?
The event is being held at the Roberts Building, University College London, Torrington Place, London, WC1E 7JE.
For more information on the Opening Doors London Pride in Care conference, click here.
There are many types of sexual orientations and gender identities, so we explain what they all stand for:
L – Lesbian: a woman who is attracted to other women
G – Gay: a man who is attracted to other men or broadly people who identify as homosexual
B – Bisexual: a person who is attracted to both men and women
T – Transgender: a person whose gender identity is different from the sex the doctor put down on their birth certificate
Q – Queer: originally used as a discriminatory term, more recently, the term is used by people who are not heterosexual and/or not cisgender and people who reject traditional gender identities and seek a broader and deliberately ambiguous alternative to the label.
Q – Questioning: a person who is still exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity
I – Intersex: a person whose body is not definitively male or female. This may be because they have chromosomes which are not XX or XY or because their genitals or reproductive organs are not considered “standard”
A – Allies: a person who identifies as straight but supports people in the LGBTQQIAAP community
A – Asexual: a person who is not attracted in a sexual way to people of any gender
P – Pansexual: a person whose sexual attraction is not based on gender and may themselves be fluid when it comes to gender or sexual identity
We have been asked on many occasions why we think there’s a need for LGBT care.
At Alternative Care Services we believe it’s about creating safe and respectful spaces for older LGBTQI+ people, especially when they’re at home.
The need for (and lack of) safe spaces for the older LGBT generation is an issue that has been discussed by many organisations for many years.
In fact, there have been multiple studies (Marie Curie Hiding Who I Am being one) that have revealed that senior LGBTQI people live in fear of discrimination when receiving care.
Another report, conducted by Stonewall (Unhealthy Attitudes 2015) shows that a large proportion of healthcare staff are not confidently equipped with the necessary skills to provide thorough care for LGBT people, elderly or otherwise.
We believe that traditional models of care in Britain are letting down the older generation of LGBTQI+ people, and this is where we are taking a stand.
What Alternative Care Services does:
At Alternative Care Services we offer the very best, non-discriminatory care and support for all of our service users.
We employ staff from the LGBTQI+ community, in fact 90 percent of our staff identify as LGBTQI+.
That’s important as we believe that they are more likely to be able to respond to the specific care needs of an older generation of LGBTQI+ people.
We also make sure they are fully equipped to meet all needs of all our clients. Ultimately, we’ve employed people from the community to serve their community.
The Alternative Care Services teamWe believe there are fundamental issues within a care system that simply doesn’t acknowledge the existence of the LGBT community.
This ‘invisibility’ happens at the outset of the care process as all the referral forms are heteronormative, so social services doesn’t even know how to offer LGBT-focused services. There is no way of offering it.
What can be done to end the discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community?
We think there needs to be a change within the care system at large to futureproof the services for younger generations.
In an ideal world, everyone would live together in harmony, there would be no phobias, discrimination or bias.
Why choose LGBTQI+ care?
This may one day be a reality, but until then, Alternative Care Services will provide the very best personally-centered care and support to all with kindness, dignity, respect and understanding, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI).
Our aim is to enable all to live satisfying; independent lives while maintaining values and identities.
Providing exceptional care to the LGBTQI+ community is what we do, because you’re not an afterthought, you’re our first thought.
Here’s a list of our full unique services and all of our costs are transparent.