Dignity in care: we understand more than most why it’s important

Alternative Care Services is a care agency providing support and social care for older LGBT people in their own homes.

Founded by Ramses Underhill-Smith, the company was created after Ramses saw a HIV-positive friend risk his health by rejecting care in his own home, over concern that the care workers might be homophobic.

Some of our staff are trans, gay, bisexual, and from the LGBT community, some aren’t, but all get training in treating patients with dignity.

“If you’ve had surgery and you’ve got scars, you don’t want people looking at them in a certain way. We’re so used to it in the LGBT community – it’s not even the words people say, but the fact that everybody stares. You don’t want to have to explain when you get undressed for personal care.”

Ramses Underhill-Smith: ‘People refuse to accept it when you’re older.’ Photograph: Fabio De Paola for the Guardian

“It’s about knowing that whoever comes to your door is going to understand who you are, that in conversation you’re going to be able to say things openly.” Some frail older people, he points out, barely see anyone but health professionals; if they can’t talk to them honestly, they are completely isolated.”

We are proud that we help provide dignity, support and comfort to our clients and thrilled that our work has been featured in The Guardian.

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Alternative Care Services’ Managing Director challenges ‘Man Friday’ protests

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.

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