Celebrating LGBT+ History Month

A graphic with a rainbow flag in the background, with two people holding hands. The title (in black font on an orange background) reads "LGBT+ History Month" and the footer (in black font on an orange background) reads #UnderTheScope.

February marks LGBT+ History Month, a dedicated time to celebrate the milestones achieved in the community, and to recognise the ongoing barriers and injustices that many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people still face today. 

The global theme for this year’s celebrations is ‘Medicine and Healthcare’.

As a resident-led housing association working to create safe, affordable homes and neighbourhoods, we’re acutely aware of the integral role that housing plays in our residents’ health and wellbeing.

Regardless of our background, sexual orientation or gender identity, we should all consider our home as a safe space in which we can fully express ourselves, live in comfort and at ease.  

However, research from across the housing sector suggests a different reality. Many LGBT+ residents feel unable to fully express their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, due to intolerance, prejudice or discriminatory behaviour.

According to a 2022 research survey published by Eastlight partner, HouseProud:

  • 60% of trans respondents did not feel that their neighbourhood was a safe place to live
  • One in five gay men reported modifying their home in some way (e.g. moving pictures or books) to hide their sexual orientation from a visiting Repairs Operative or Housing Officer
  • A third of respondents also felt that their housing provider was not able to deal effectively with issues like harassment.

As an organisation that champions diversity and seeks to promote inclusion within our operations, we’re working hard to ensure all our residents feel comfortable and safe in their homes and feel comfortable to raise and report any negative behaviour.

If you’ve had such an experience, please contact us via: customer.services@eastlighthomes.co.uk

With support from our in-house LGBT+ networking group, EastPride, we’ll be hosting a number of events for our staff this month to encourage honest and open conversations so that, together, we can support our LGBT+ residents and improve our services.

Beyond the month of February, we deliver year-round training for our staff and Managers, and host events in collaboration with our partner, BuildEast, to ensure we’re doing all we can to enhance our inclusion and diversity efforts, not only within Eastlight, but across the East of England’s housing sector.

Support and resources

If you’re an LGBT+ resident or ally in need of support, friendship or advice, Eastlight partner, The OutHouse, is a registered charity providing an array of services and social events throughout Essex. For more information, please visit their website here.  

At the national (and international) level, LGBT+ charity Stonewall is part of a vibrant global movement for change made up of LGBT+ people, allies, families and friends, and aims to support the community to be freely be themselves. Read more about Stonewall here

For young people, LGBT+ young people's charity, Just Like Us, works with schools and young people across the UK to ensure all young people can thrive. Visit the Just Like Us website here.

To learn more about how Eastlight is taking steps to build trust and mutual understanding with our LGBT+ residents, including via our commitment to the HouseProud Pledge, click here.

And please join us and the sector for this month’s LGBT+ History Month celebrations online, under the hashtags #UnderTheScope and #LGBTHistoryMonth.