The next few weeks and possibly months are going to be tough for all of us to get through. The evidence suggests it might be even harder for those of us who are LGBT+, especially if we don’t live in supportive homes. Stonewall found in their 2018 LGBT in Britain — Health survey that:

  • half of LGBT people (52%) had experienced depression in the past year
  • one in six LGBT people (16%) said they had drunk alcohol almost every day over the past year
  • one in eight LGBT people aged 18 to 24 (13%) said they had attempted to take their own life in the past year

In 2020 we shouldn’t have to leave parts of our identity behind — be that our cultural or ethnic background, sexuality, or health — when we work. When we’re empowered to be our ‘whole self’ at work we can build deeper connections. This helps us to be more understanding of our colleagues, so we work better together, whether online or in person.

Staying in and staying connected

Kaleidoscope, our LGBT+ staff network, is fully committed to the health and wellbeing of all its members and the University community. Unfortunately, this means they have had to cancel all regular and one-off Kaleidoscope events until the end of Semester 2 (Friday 29 May 2020).

Even though we need to stay at home and stay apart, we can stay connected online. As a community of LGBT+ staff, friends, and allies, Kaleidoscope is offering an alternative. Kaleidoscope members can access virtual versions of the regular meetups via Zoom or Yammer. These will be held at the same times and dates as the usual meetups and will be facilitated by the Kaleidoscope committee.

Join the group so you are invited to the events.

Kaleidoscope had also started planning for the University's first Pride event, due to take place on 5 June on campus. As this event was for the whole University community they have had to make the difficult decision to postpone it until further notice.

If you are able to help other LGBT+ people — or you need help yourself — Stonewall have put together a list of LGBT+ organisations that can help.

OutLife also have some ideas for how to help our LGBT+ community during this crisis, such as calling older people who might be isolated and lonely.

Online resources

If you require any support during this tricky time, the following resources might be of help:

  • Galop - This national LGBT+ anti-violence charity has a domestic abuse helpline. You can call them on 0800 999 5428. They have a dedicated trans advocacy helpline too
  • Intercom Trust - They are a regional LGBT+ charity providing support to LGBT+ individuals and families in the South West. They are currently providing a confidential helpline service and other remote support
  • LGBT Foundation - This national LGBT charity are running their helpline as usual, and welcome calls or emails from anyone worried about the impacts of coronavirus
  • LGBT Helpline Scotland This organisation works to improve the health, wellbeing and equality of LGBT people in Scotland. You can call, email or chat with them via their LiveChat service. They are also running a digital social programme online over the next few months
  • Proud2Be - They are a social enterprise that supports LGBTQ+ people and their families, in South Devon and beyond. They're running online social groups for LGBTQ+ people and their families
  • Samaritans - They run a free, 24-hour helpline to those struggling with their mental health. Telephone them on 116 123 - their phone line is running as usual
  • Shout - They are a text crisis service for those in a personal crisis who need support. Texts are free on all major networks including EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. Text SHOUT to 85258 in the UK to text with a trained crisis volunteer
  • Switchboard LGBT - This national charity listens to LGBT+ people, providing a lifeline and calm words to those who need them

Please keep safe and well and if you need to reach out, please do join the group, we are here for you.