It's time for you to join the HouseProud Committee!
By John Stevens and Anna Kear, HouseProud Co-chairs
There are so many reasons for you to join us on the HouseProud Committee! You can help shape our events, research and activities for next year and beyond, and also get great experience on being on a committee and seeing your ideas come to life in a safe LGBT+ friendly space.
We have the following officer roles available for you to apply for..
Male or non-binary Co-Chair: Sharing the responsibilities to lead HouseProud, to be a spokesperson for HouseProud and to build relationships with external agencies and network. To produce the annual report. Our Terms of Reference state that the Co-Chair’s should not share the same gender or sexual identity. As a result, we are currently looking for a Co-Chair who identifies as male, non-binary or other non-female gender identities
Events Officers (x2): To co-ordinate all HouseProud network events, social events, breakfast briefings, conferences, attendance at Pride events and Eventbrite (the event management software)
BAME Officer: To develop our BAME Strategy, increase our BAME membership and coordinate celebration of Black History Month
New Memberships Officer: To actively seek new members, develop and maintain new membership promotional material and welcome packs, to send welcome emails and manage the integrity of the membership list
Research & Policy Officer: A housing policy specialist, who advises the committee on current housing issues, seeks out research opportunities, drafts responses to White Papers, and oversees any research that HouseProud may carry out
Young People’s Officer: To develop our new Young Members Strategy and increase our membership amongst younger people
If you would like to stand for any of these positions, please email HouseProud_LGBT@outlook.com by 5pm on Wednesday 8th December. In your email, please state the post you are applying for and in no more than 250 words, your reason for applying. Please confirm your commitment to attend 75% of the committee meetings and HouseProud events. The committee meetings are usually held on a Thursday at 4pm to 6pm and there are between five and six of these a year and are currently being held remotely, otherwise, they are usually held in London.
HouseProud’s membership is open to all who wish to support HouseProud’s aims, including people who identify as allies and people who work outside of the housing sector. However, to ensure that HouseProud maintains a focus on its core purpose, we require that 80% of Management Committee positions are held by people who identify as LGBT+ and 80% of positions are held by people who work in the housing sector.
If more than one nomination is received for this position, we will invite members to vote using the 250 words submitted by each candidate, and the winner will be elected by a simple majority.
The Terms of Reference are here and if you have any questions about the roles, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Has your employer signed up to the HouseProud Pledge yet?
We're really pleased to announce that we now have the following housing providers signed up to the HouseProud Pledge. This is our unique accreditation which aims to deliver lasting positive change for our LGBT+ residents and service users. Although many are at different stages of the Pledge, they are all showing the commitment to make this change. Not on the list? Want to know more?
Click this link
Clarion; Riverside; Quo Vadis Trust; Anchor; Notting Hill Genesis; Network; Irwell Valley; Sir Josiah Mason Trust; Royal Borough of Greenwich; Home Group; Homes for Lambeth; London Borough of Lambeth; Orbit; Mosscare St Vincents; L&Q; Swan; Onward Housing; Weaver Vale Housing Trust; Prospect Community Housing; Providence Row; Grand Union Housing Group; Great Places Housing Group
Two exciting events in November!
1. In-Person Network Event with Savills LGBT+ Network and Planning Out
Tuesday 23rd November, 6.30pm- late
Join us for an evening networking event as we hear about Tonic’s recent launch of the UK’s first LGBT+ affirming retirement community, delivering a much-needed safe and inclusive environment for older LGBT+ people.
Tonic Housing Association is a community-led not for profit organisation and are at the frontier of delivering a much-needed safe and inclusive environment for older LGBT+ people.
Tonic support people in later life, ensuring they don’t feel the need to go back in the closet, which is a typical story for many older LGBT+ people accessing care or housing. At the event you will hear from Tonic CEO, Anna Kear. When asked about the project Anna said:
“We are making history, realising a long-held dream to provide a safe place for older LGBT+ people to live well, in a community where they can be themselves and enjoy their later life.”
The event will be held at Savills' offices in Central London, and drinks and canapés will be served. For full details and COVID precautions, please see the invitation here - and as there are limited places for this event, please book early!
2. Webinar: Make your Workplace Trans and Non-Binary Inclusive!
Let's make housing 'Dementia Out'
Bring Dementia Out is LGBT Foundation’s programme to address the challenges faced by LGBT+ people living with dementia and those who are supporting them. The aim of the programme is to address a lack of LGBT+visibility and awareness in care and housing services.
Bring Dementia Out provides free training to support dementia care and housing organisations to understand and address the challenges LGBT+ people living with dementia face.
Anecdotal evidence from Bring Dementia Out tells us that LGBT people living with dementia face particular challenges when accessing dementia care services and housing providers. These challenges include, but are not limited to; organisations are often heteronormative and cis-orientated, there are often issues arising around next of kin (even for married same sex couples) and other supporters being excluded from care decisions, and a return to being secretive about sexual and gender identity for fear of discrimination from care and housing providers. Trans people living with dementia in particular may not remember they have transitioned, or are wrongly gendered by care and housing providers.
Bring Dementia Out is able to provide support and guidance to a broad range of organisations working in the care and housing sectors to ensure they are confident to deliver on the needs of LGBT+ people living with dementia.
For further information or to book free training please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday 25th November 6pm - 7.30pm
Get lots of essential takeaways in an engaging discussion on how we should be supporting our Trans and Non-Binary colleagues in the housing sector.
As part of HouseProud’s support for the Transgender and Non-Binary community we are hosting this webinar to discuss the importance of supporting Trans and Non-Binary colleagues in our workplaces and why an inclusive work environment is essential.
We will be taking additional precautions for this webinar to make it a safe and friendly environment for everybody
Please sign up here:
We will be joined by three insightful speakers:
Sophie Collinge - She/Her/Hers
HouseProud Trans Officer Sophie Collinge has worked in the social housing sector for ten years. She is an avid supporter of the rights of Trans and Non-Binary colleagues in the workplace. She welcomes a discussion on how workplaces can be more inclusive for trans and non-binary employees from policies that support transitioning at work to events and learning that bring awareness to all employees.
Puja Mitra - She/Her/Hers
Puja has 10+ years of experience in consulting and in-house roles in the People, Inclusivity and Diversity area of work with top global firms across three continents.
She has exposure in private, public and non-profit sector and a strong track record of developing, implementing and monitoring programmes that progress inclusion, cultural change and leadership accountability.
Puja’s main area of focus has been in the area of disability, gender, sexual orientation and race and how to make intersectionality work in the organisation
Michael Barnes - They/Them
Michael has worked in social housing since 2014 and they have been actively involved in both LGBT+ and gender networks. They recently co-chaired the gender network at Clarion Housing Group. Michael has been openly Non-Binary for around two years now but they knew that they Non-Binary for around twenty-five years. They are passionate about making the social housing sector more Non-Binary inclusive.
We remember George Floyd
By Asif Rashid
pronouns he, his
BAME Officer, HouseProud
The murder of George Floyd a year ago today, despite it being over 4,000 miles away, was felt across the world and highlighted the stark discrimination, inequity and daily injustice that so many people face in our communities. Back in 2020 when the events in America happened, HouseProud acknowledged the pain and discrimination felt and echoed across the world by our BAME friends, colleagues and allies.
As the Black Lives Matter movement demanded attention and action in the wake of George’s murder, HouseProud continue to feel it is important to think back today on the powerful, difficult, and much needed conversations that took place. Those conversations were and continue to be a catalyst to action in enabling many people to share their feelings and experiences. A year on, HouseProud acknowledges the hurt, anger, fear and in some cases hopelessness, that many felt then and believe it is what drives us today to continue seeking a fairer and equal society.
HouseProud’s’ founding purpose to be a forum for sharing information & promoting best practice across the industry, to supporting HouseProud members in their development; to raising awareness of LGBT issues; to influencing policy and boards/decision makers; to developing partnerships; and to be a network and safe space for LGBT housing staff is something we remain committed to.
Today, George’s legacy along with the legacy of all those who have been taken from us before and since, must be that each and every one of us takes responsibility in being active participants in breaking down the structural barriers that underpin so many of the challenges people face. So HouseProud encourages us all to continue having the conversations and to also reach out to each other to offer support on this day and in the future.
HouseProud Stands with Everybody in the LGBT+ Community
In the light of the recent news that the LGB Alliance has been given charitable status in England and Wales, and the debate of Trans exclusion that this organisation has generated, HousePround would like to reiterate that it is an inclusive organisation for all members under the umbrella term LBGT+.
Our organisation is about support for minority groups represented by both sexuality and gender identity. Although there are distinct differences between the two, what the individuals all have in common is being a part of groups that have been marginalised by society and often discriminated against. Our mission is safe and equal environments for all LBGT+ staff who work in social housing and for all residents who identify as LBGT+ individuals.
Celebrate Lesbian Visibility Week!
Trans Support in the Lesbian Community
By Sophie Collinge, HouseProud Trans Officer
Lesbian Visibility Day is an important day in the LGBT+ calendar. And as with the Transgender Day of Visibility last month I personally feel significance with this event. Although I am at ease with stating that my gender identity is female, and my sexuality is attraction to females, it is a sombre reality that divisions exist over such representation. With the rise of trans exclusion groups it is important to highlight that all combinations of gender identity and sexuality exist in society and none should be overlooked or excluded.
For me, my teenage years were as difficult from the perspective of sexuality as they were of gender identity. I felt guilty with every teenage crush because I felt I had a forced male mask over who I identified as and who I was as a person. Not only were lesbian relationships unknown to me in my conservative community but giving any indication that I was attracted to a girl would on the surface display to her as a heterosexual attraction and would have been a lie. Encouraging people to be their authentic selves is the only way to have an honest and inclusive society. Acceptance has made me, as a lesbian transwoman, to now be comfortable to always be open about both of these aspects of me, as well as a strong advocate for the lesbian community.
As with the issue of gender identity, I have for much of my life wanted to know and understand about lesbian relationships but was too often disappointed by the limited portrayal of them in the media. Although there has been much improved representation in recent years, there is much more to be done before lesbians from all backgrounds can feel included and see themselves reflected in society. The lesbian community has often been underrepresented and so today is a wonderful opportunity to remember the love and hard work lesbians have put into their lives and our society.
We're supporting the Chartered Institute of Housing promote new diverse speakers - and our members should definitely apply!
The Chartered Institute of Housing have announced a special event showcasing previously unheard voices across the housing sector to show their commitment to championing diversity, equality, and inclusion.
Storytelling can be a powerful tool in helping us to build our understanding of diverse and underrepresented communities, and this event will provide a platform for four people from diverse and minority backgrounds to talk about their housing journeys.
Every individual has their own needs, desires and experiences, informed by the culture in which we grew up; our gender, age, religion and sexuality; and how the limitations of our bodies – mental and physical – impact the way we live our lives.
This will be a great opportunity to highlight the practical ways in which diversity makes us a stronger, more innovative and more caring sector.
The CIH are calling on the sector to support them by putting speakers forward, investing through sponsorship and most importantly attending on the day to hear these powerful stories.
Share your story
By speaking at this event you will be helping to raise awareness of diverse journeys in housing and spread understanding of personal stories. To be considered for speaking, provide the CIH with no more than 500 words on why you would like to be involved and how you will benefit from the opportunity.
Applications will close on the Friday 30 April with the line-up being confirmed by Wednesday 12 May.
All speakers will be provided with public speaking training. You can apply here
For Trans Visibility Day let's discuss pronouns!
By Sophie Collinge,
pronouns she, hers,
HouseProud Trans Officer
The Transgender Day of Visibility, 31 March, is an annual recognition and awareness day that celebrates transgender and gender non-conforming people’s many contributions to society across the world, while also raising awareness of discrimination faced by them. In light of this, there is one aspect in which everyone can easily be more inclusive and supportive, and this is in respect to pronouns.
Personal and possessive pronouns describe the words used in place of a person’s name in speech and writing. They enable the speech and text to flow more easily and allow us to refer to someone where their name is not known. But our use of these pronouns is heavily based around being gender specific.
If you were to retell an incident you had with a stranger it would be easy enough to avoid involving their age, race or religion, but difficult to avoid including their sex. This is because our language is hardwired to define everyone by a male or female gender for every situation. Traditionally we use he/him/his when referring to a male and she/her/hers for female and it is ingrained in our learning to reference all individual people this way. It is clumsy, often leading to a simplifying use of the male pronouns when either gender could be applicable, and increasingly a cross section of society does not want to always be defined by their gender.
For transgender people, who often have a long journey when transitioning, understanding and using their preferred pronoun can be of vital importance to their self-esteem and wellbeing. Those transgender individuals who live their lives with people who use their correct pronouns have been found to suffer less depression and have a significantly reduced level of suicidal tendencies than those who are subjected to frequent misgendering.
But pronouns are equally important to nonbinary individuals. Nonbinary describes anyone whose gender identity or experience cannot be exclusively described by using the terms ‘man’ or ‘woman’. For them being nonbinary is a gender identity and not a form of gender expression. Their identity and experiences can encompass both masculine and feminine traits and does not align with the sex and gender-based attributes imposed at birth. In essence, the gender identity a person uses to describe themself does not necessarily tell you what pronouns to use and so it is important that we address the current flawed system in which gender based binary pronouns dominate.
There are several types of personal and possessive pronouns and to be inclusive of everyone we should be aware of the variety. They are:
• binary pronouns, such as she/her/hers and he/him/his
• gender-neutral pronouns, such as they/them/theirs
• neo pronouns, such as ze/hir/hirs or ze/zir/zirs
• multiple sets of pronouns, such as she/they or he/they
Some individuals may even be accepting of any pronouns being used. If it is the case, then do so respectfully. Alternatively, some nonbinary people do not use any pronouns at all and feel most affirmed and respected when only being referred to as their name. If someone does not share their pronouns freely, you should respect their decision and avoid pressing the subject further.
If you are unsure of what terminology to use in a given situation, defer to gender-neutral language as this is typically seen as inclusive. These pronouns are already commonly used when we do not know a person’s gender and are not just for describing more than one person. For instance, we all use statements such as ‘they will call back if it’s important’ and ‘someone left their coat behind’ and we know there is only one person in question. By keeping this in mind when referring to a nonbinary person, or in any case where gender is uncertain, we can build on our inclusivity.
But reviewing our use of pronouns should also go beyond transgender and non-binary equality. Being compelled to use gender specific pronouns not only rarely serves a benefit but can create mistakes and result in causing offence to anyone. These mistakes could be made when someone is androgenous or in written communication where the gender may not be apparent by the person’s name. Furthermore, gender specific pronouns are often sexist. When the gender is unknown or there is uncertainly the default is often the masculine pronouns. This generic use of masculine terms is not just a disservice to women but can also lead to mistakes and reinforce stereotypes.
It is important to remember that although for most people their pronouns are not something that they give much thought to, to others they are a core part of their identity that is complex, nuanced, and sometimes hard to explain. The best action you can take to help and be inclusive is to listen and to be open to learning. A person’s pronouns cannot be assumed and the best way to confirm is by simply and politely asking or by introducing yourself with your own pronouns. This will then give them an opportunity to share theirs. You can also help with inclusivity by including pronouns in your email signature and social media profiles. It will demonstrate that you care about individual’s preferences and prevent accidental misgendering.
Seven Housing Providers are
accredited with the
HouseProud is pleased to announce the first tranche of housing providers who have been accredited with a pledge status as part of the HouseProud Pledge Scheme.
The HouseProud Pledge Scheme was created as a response to the outcomes of the research ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ which was delivered in partnership with The University of Sussex. The scheme was designed after a series of residents’ focus groups. You can read about this process and how the successful applicants delivered on the pledge here
The housing providers awarded Pledge Pioneer status were
L&Q, Network Homes, Swan, Home Group, and Notting Hill Genesis
These organisations were able to demonstrate that LGBTQ+ residents can have input at executive/ strategic level; an increase in LGBTQ+ visibility in their organisations and a programme of staff training to improve understanding of LGBTQ+ lives.
There were two organisations awarded Pledge Plus, the highest level of achievement
Clarion Housing Group and Anchor Hanover
In addition to the requirements to Pioneer level, they also were able to demonstrate that working with involved LGBTQ+ residents, they could deliver two particular objectives for their own organisation.
John Stevens, co-chair of HouseProud said:
These first HouseProud Pledge Scheme accreditations recognise the efforts of colleagues and residents in working towards greater LGBTQ+ equality and support. The Pledge Scheme was designed to reflect key themes in the Social Housing Green Paper, including resident voice, accountability and engagement between landlords and residents. In total, sixteen organisations have so far signed-up to the Pledge Scheme and dozens more have expressed interest, so we look forward to announcing more accreditations next year.
HouseProud featured as
National Housing Federation launches first ED&I report for the UK
HouseProud was especially proud to have been mentioned in the NHF ED&I report published this month. and available for download here
Housing Diversity Network and the NHF gathered evidence and experiences around equality, diversity and inclusion in the housing association workforce.
Insights are from a range of sources, from literature and data sources to more informal evidence, such as media pieces, organisational case studies and personal experiences. It focuses primarily on sources from the last 15 years (insights older than 15 years are legislative). Insights were loosely coded by protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010.
The insights address the following questions, which they structured the report around:
What is current landscape of equality, diversity and inclusion in the housing association sector?
What are people’s experiences of equality, diversity and inclusion within the sector?
What are the challenges that the sector faces with regard to equality, diversity and inclusion?
Is there a need for change? If so, what?
What can we learn from other whole- sector approaches
Following our successful HouseProud Black History Month celebration panel event, on the 22nd October 2020, we are building on the amazing collaborative dynamic, and will continue working with other organisations to promote opportunities for all our members.
Writes Asif Rashid, HouseProud BAME Officer
One such opportunity that’s a must for BAME colleagues working in housing, is the programme LEADERSHIP NOW, being delivered from the collaboration between GatenbySanderson & UNIFY.
LEADERSHIP NOW is a programme consisting of bespoke initiatives, workshops and profiling development tools, that enable participants to accelerate learning. The programme has been developed for new, aspiring and existing leaders to aid personal and professional development, providing opportunities for improving career opportunities for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff at all levels
UNIFY is the cross-sector BAME network working across housing and care to share information, promote initiatives, host network events and increase BAME senior management opportunities. UNIFY state their overarching goal is to increase inclusion opportunities at all levels and ensure the diversity of staff is reflected throughout all areas of housing.
GatenbySanderson describe themselves as the UK’s leading people intelligence business, advising public services, not-for-profit and education services how to deliver effective leadership opportunities and accelerate change.
HouseProud echo the UNIFY passion for diversity and inclusion, and encourage all HouseProud LGBT+ members who meet the criteria of the LEADERSHIP NOW programme to apply.
Under-representation in senior posts of people from BAME communities remains a serious issue. Combined with the under-representation in senior positions from other protected characteristic groups, such as sexual orientation and gender, means that we should take action now to make positive change.
HouseProud is promoting this programme as it is focused on making the change the social housing sector desperately needs.
For more information about the programme and to register your interest in applying, please visit: this link
Resources to help us fight CoVID 19
The Network for LGBT People Working in Social Housing
We may be 'all in this together' but the virus, the current lockdown and ways of working in the housing sector have a very distinct impact on LGBT+ people working in social housing, and also for our LGBT+ residents/customers/service-users.
HouseProud would like to give this front page of our website over to any resources, or initiatives that would have particular impact on either colleagues or customers - and of course some of these will be useful to both groups. Please do email in any suggestions and we will put them up here!
A good referral route for our residents and service-users is Stonewall Housing.
They give advice about different housing related issues to hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people every year. They understand what you, or your friends, might be experiencing. So if your residents need advice, then encourage them to contact them - there is a self referral form here.
Some of the housing issues they've helped LGBT+ people with include:
if they are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless;
if their relationship with family has broken down because of sexual orientation or gender identity;
if they've been victimised or harassed;
if they need to escape from domestic abuse;
if they need advice about a dispute with your organisation;
if they need advice with housing benefits or universal credit.
All of which can become heightened in these times of Covid 19.
One of the best resources and signposting points is London Switchboard.
They have created an Emotional Well-being Support Pack.
This is full of useful and practical exercises and thoughts on dealing with feeling lonely and isolated. As we know from our research that many LGBT+ residents feel isolated in their homes even when they are not on lockdown, it is important that as Housing Providers we redouble our efforts to reach this group,
Another good resource page is that of our old friends at AKT (the Albert Kennedy Trust). Their resources page has very clear guidelines for LGBT+ residents affected by CoVID19 in respect to being evicted, benefits in both our sector and in the privately rented sector.
They also have a really good list of free or fair-cost arts events, exercise classes and online wellness led by People of Colour, Womxn and Queer folks.
Of course the lockdown and self isolation can create an atmosphere where domestic violence becomes a major concern. GALOP coordinate the National LGBT Domestic Violence Hotline 0800 999 5428 and the details are all on their website
For younger trans people Mermaids has updated information on their website. What we liked about Mermaids is that they said 'Our dedicated team of staff and volunteers are determined to offer more support not less during this period of uncertainty'.
There's some great new resource for intersex people - on Soho Radio. Anick will be discusses the experiences of an intersex person, mixed with songs every week. He will be inviting guests on his show to get perspective on different issues. 'Queerantine' with us!!
Have put together a resources pack which is great for people with kids at home; providing maths, English, creativity and LGBT+ history:
Gal Dem. Online resources for women of colour.
Imaan - LGBTQI+ Muslim Support
We also really liked the London LGBTIQ+ COVID19 Mutual Aid Facebook Group where volunteers can skill share to support vulnerable people in our community, you can find out about that here