With Pride season upon us – and after the past couple of years’ disruption because of You Know What it’s more welcome than ever – many of us of a certain age will rejoice in how far the LGBTQ+ community in Britain has come.
For sure, there remain battles to be fought, chiefly for the trans community which is facing a shameful and daily barrage of misinformation and hatred. OutNewsGlobal has always believed that equality can only truly be achieved if everyone is equal, and we remain saddened that such a small section of our rainbow community is under almost constant attack when most trans people, many of whom are already facing the trauma of gender dysphoria, simply want to get on with their lives without doing any harm to anyone.
But while this and other battles go on, Pride season is also a time to reflect on our achievements. Since the dark days of the Thatcher government’s Section 28 which prompted the foundation of Stonewall, we are now equal under the law. It is illegal to sack someone for being gay (are you listening, America?), equal marriage is not only legal but generally accepted by the British people, and when two people of the same sex have a snog in a mainstream TV drama, it barely registers on the national consciousness as anything out of the ordinary. Gay men and lesbians can serve their country in the military while being out and proud, and huge events like the British LGBT Awards and the DIVA Awards receive extensive coverage in the national press.
Two-mum and two-dad families are also fast becoming normalised, and while surrogacy, IVF via a sperm donor and adoption are pretty well publicised, fostering is often overlooked.
Fostering a child is one of the most rewarding and altruistic ways of giving much-needed love and support to a child who, for a variety of reasons, is without their birth parents, and we caught up with our friends at Barnardo’s to find out more and pose these four questions:
When did Barnardo’s started accepting LGBTQ+ people as foster carers?
Barnardo’s has always been inclusive in who it approves as foster carers. Our records show that the first LGBTQ+ foster carers were approved in the early 2000s.
What proportion of foster carers are LGBTQ+?
At the moment, 7.6% of our approved foster carers identify as LGBTQ+.
Do you have children who identify as LGBTQ+, do you always try to place them with LGBTQ+ foster carers?
Yes we do place children who identify as LGBTQ+, and we would consider this as part of their matching with our foster carers. Some may be placed with LGBTQ+ carers but not always; all of the child’s needs, background and identify are taken into consideration.
We recognise and value the experience LGBTQ+ foster carers can provide in their support and guidance to LGBTQ+ children, or those exploring their sexuality.
We have a number of children when placed with foster carers, and are in a safe space, open up about their identity and sexuality for the first time and our carers can support them through this.
Why is it important to Barnardo’s to work with LGBTQ+ foster carers?
It is important for Barnardo’s to work with people from all backgrounds across our society, and LGBTQ+ carers offer a perspective from their own experiences that can be an added support for children – not just with any questions they may have around their emotions, wellbeing and development of their sexuality and identify but also the challenges and discrimination they may experience.