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Funding cut at Brighton care home over gay questionnaire row

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  1. I’m sick to death of hearing of the “rights” of Christians, however I don’t think doing this helps our cause.

    Bloody jobsworths…..

  2. Andrew Quick 29 Dec 2008, 12:52pm

    Christains shouldn’t have rights. Do I have rights because i believe in Superman?

  3. Come on people, get real. Leave the elderly alone will you. Yes there are some LGBT elderly people too but so what? Why does this need to be recorded? If I was an elderly man in a care home, all I want is looking after, clean water, food etc. In my eyes there is no such thing as ‘gay services’ or ‘straight services’. I hate this type of segregation.

  4. while i agree that christians or any other branch of santa claus believers shouldn’t have specific rights per se, i do think it’s totally counter productive to treat people in their 80’s and 90’s like this. waste of time resources and goodwill!

  5. It is hard to know what happened. The vitriol, fear and hatred pored out in the telegraph over this is horrible. I think Dave North you are wrong in calling the council jobsworths. The council will have obligations under their own equality policies and in legislation. Initial reactions to questions related to sexuality will be very strained and difficult as they were when ethnicity was first asked. The majority who don’t really think about ethnicity or think that they have one balked and many of those from minority ethnicities were fearful of how information would be used in light of existing stigma and discrimination. Yet this kind of information is very important for those policy makers and planners and the funding and evaluation of services. If the council funds something it needs to know who uses the services and if they are meeting the needs of those who they have a duty to meet the needs of. Of course individuals have a right to not answer the questions. However the information gleaned is important and with time it is hoped that the quality of answers will improve. I would also say that the home is required in law to provide a service that is equally accessible to everyone regardless of sexuality. If the home refused to ask the questions then it is failing in it’s duty to monitor and evaluate it’s services and if it has refused training on dealing with elderly gay and lesbian adults then this suggests that it is not interested in providing an equal service to them. Adults who go into care have varying dependencies on the home and the carers. Can you imagine fearing that the care you received which is necessary for you to keep living could or would be refused or reduced because of your sexual orientation. What about if you had to keep it a secret, what about if your friends could no longer visit and support you in case the home found out you are gay and reduced care. It is extremely important that homes such as this are a safe place for elderly gay men and lesbians and not a prison where individuals are fearful and isolated. The elderly are not necessarily asexual beings just because they are elderly, even if they are not currently having sex they have a past sexual history and memories and identity around that. Surely it is important to be able to be yourself especially somewhere where you live out of necessity rather than choice. I applaud the council for taking this position, while the residents have every right to avoid answering any questions they don’t like the home does not have the right to avoid asking them.

  6. I wonder if we have the whole picture on this story. It’s being depicted as a case of poor old folk being hounded by an over-zealous council and all because of ‘gay rights’ legislation! So, it’s our fault again, just see the headlines in the newspapers. But is it? This ‘charity’ stresses a ‘Christian ethos’ and (I read in the Daily Mail yesterday) ‘orthodox beliefs’ so it sounds as though there would be a de facto discouragement of people not fitting into those categories. Yet the ‘charity’ is quite happy to take public funds, indeed appears to view public funds as an entitlement. We need to know more; it could well be in the same category as the publicly-funded adoption agencies not wanting to comply with equality legislation. Are these older people perhaps being cleverly ‘used’ to make a political statement by this ‘charity’ with a religious agenda? I should add that I am a Christian (and lesbian) but am profoundly aware of how LGBT people would very likely be made to feel unwelcome in these Christian retirement homes.

  7. Robert, ex-pat Brit 29 Dec 2008, 3:08pm

    Why would any gay senior citizen who may not hold any strong christian beliefs want to use the services of a socalled “christian” run facility? If there we no state religion, there would be no grounds to fund faith-based businesses in the first place, let alone prop up the parasites running the state church with tax-payer money. Lets face it, religion is a choice, a chosen lifestyle. Why should such a choice receive financial support by taxpayers or government? Its absurd, offencive and absolutely unnecessary.

  8. Mary Jones 29 Dec 2008, 3:42pm

    It is well documented about the psychological abuse the gay elderly receive in nursing homes from caregivers and other residents. Bad enough when we are young and strong we can isolate ourselves from society to avoid the hate. But when you are elderly, frail and gay, who is going to fight for them? The reason they are in a home is because of the assistance they need for daily care. It is not like they can just walk out or eat their meals in their own room every day. And to say that the elderly residents can discriminate or be physically abusive, so what you are telling me is that it is ok for a white elderly person to hate a person of a different ethnic origin and that white person is allowed to abuse the other person because the white person is old and cannot control him or herself? I think the major reason this is receiving so much attention is, does society really want to know what can happen in these homes?

  9. I agree with Jane. There’s something fishy about this. As I understand it, like the ethnicity questions, these sexuality ones are optional. It’s quite reasonable that people wouldn’t want to answer them and they don’t have to. But – and this is just my guess – I would think that someone in charge at that Home must have said outright or implied that they ‘didn’t agree’ with homosexuality and so the council are right in looking more closely at the home if it can’t promise to treat everyone fairly.
    The fact that The ‘Christian’ Institue are supporting this Home strongly suggests to me that this another one of their little projects to prove how evil LGBT people are – ‘Look! They even pick on poor old people’ etc. The Christian Institute are sinister in the extreme in my opinion. I don’t believe they’re standing up for religious rights any more than I believe the moon’s made of cheese. Their speciality seems to be media promotion and pushing ‘discrimination’ caeses into the press.

  10. Isn’t the important thing that no-one is stopping Chrisitians from running care hoimes which discriminate against LGBT elderly people (that of course is what “Chrisitina ethos” is code for) but they shouldn’t be allowed to do it wioth our money. The questionnarie seems to me to be a bit heavy handed – the withdrawal of funding does not.

  11. Sister Mary Clarence 30 Dec 2008, 12:14am

    Can’t help feeling that the care home has blown this up out of all publicity. Surely the care home is there for the benefit of the people living in it (or an I being naive). In which case, how much effort would it have taken to cushion and support the residents through the process with a few reassuring words for example about why then need to ask a few personal questions.

    I have to file in this shite periodically for my local authority and its hardly the Spanish Inquisition. Its usually a couple of cursory questions that leave me thinking that they could really do with delving a bit deeper if they wanted to really monitor what is going on.

    I can really see this as being the sort of thing that some elements of the Press would love, but my over-riding feeling is that if the residents have got upset by it, responsibility must sit squarely at the feet of those running the place for not having done more to smooth things over. I think the likelihood that any of those residents actually said that they were “upset they were not protected from such intrusions” is nil.

    As for the comment:
    “This case is the latest in a series of troubling incidents where the rights of Christians are seemingly being ignored in favour of ‘gay rights’.
    Christian is a lifestyle choice

  12. I find attempts to define people by their sexuality pretty offensive and counterproductive. Surely we want to be getting away from labels? Threatening the funding of elderly people, Christian or otherwise, is insane and hardly going to enhance understanding between the two groups.

  13. it seems that only Christians are allowed to live there, in which case why does it get public funding anyway? It sounds pretty much like a christian charity thats refusing to comply with equality legislation.

    Am sure the council would be happy with them changing their “admissions form” so that every new resident is asked the question at the same time that they are asked their ethnicity, disability etc in which case more people would be willing to answer. There is no need for them to approach people who’ve been living there years and say “fill this in for the council” which is gonna get people’s backs up.

  14. I’m surprised anyone is sticking up for the council. We’re in a time of recession, massive heating bills etc. when the elderly will be having anough problems. Councils have a spending squeeze for similar reasons. The council decides to make a cut of £13000 to the care of the elderly but because it’s dressed up in the language of gay rights some support it? What?
    If people are serious about the care of LGBT elderly then we need to campaign against the cuts happening across the country in elderly care, campaign against the massive hike in fuel bills, for a decent pension, etc. I don’t think we’ll ever see the New Labour-ites in Stonewall supporting it though.

    Also, about the care home, the article says it was the” respondents, all aged over 80″ who “refused to answer the question about sexuality” not the care home. Am I the only one who wouldn’t want to be going round care homes asking people to answer questions about who they enjoyed shagging? Or wanting tax payers money spent on it?
    And isn’t the council guilty of heterosexism? As the the article says it “wanted Pilgrim Homes to include depictions of LGBT people in its promotional literature”. How do you do this apart from having two men or two women kiss in the brocure? How can you tell from a photo if a man or woman (or group of men or women) are gay or straight? Isn’t the assumption by the council that all of the people in the literature of straight heterosexist?

    It looks to me like this is a fight over the care of the elderly that the council can’t win in terms of PR. Giving it a ‘pink cover’ shouldn’t make us stupid enough to flock to the councils side.

  15. Simon Murphy 30 Dec 2008, 11:45am

    The email address of Phil Wainwright (HR director) of Pilgrim Homes is

    Why not drop him a line to explain to him that if he is not willing to abide by equality legislation when it comes to gay pensioners then it is entirely inappropriate that he receive state funding. And that he should be ashamed to let his christian bigotry punish old people.

  16. Simon Murphy 30 Dec 2008, 12:44pm

    Tom – it is not the gay commmunity who is punishing the elderly. It is the ‘christian’ bigots who refuse to cater to the LGBT community. Their unwillingness to obey the law is more important to them than care for the elderly.

    Religious groups CANNOT get an exemption from the law – EVER. Otherwise the next situation we’ll be fighting is catholic doctors and nurses refusing contraception or muslim or jewish care assistants refusing to serve patients pork. These rekligious facists are fighting to undermine democracy. They cannot be allowed to highjack the law with their bigotry

  17. Simon,
    I never said the gay community was punishing the elderly. Please re-read my post and try taking me up on the points I made.
    The council have made a cut of £13,000 from elderly care. It has not promised to spend this money elsewhere such as another care centre. Plenty of other councils across the country are making cuts to elderly care as well. The difference? This particular cut is being ‘painted pink’ in order to make it look acceptable.
    By all means Simon, take their bait. Ignore the councils implicit heterosexism and email the care home and let the council get away with the cut in services under the banner of gay rights.
    I’ll be elsewhere, campaiginging for decent pensions, cheaper heating bills, etc. Things that would acutally make a real difference to the way that elderly people are treated.

  18. Roger Jenkins 2 Jun 2009, 7:28pm

    All this does is reinforce homophobic beliefs. If they don’t want to “answer questions”, they don’t have to. Sounds like facism forcing people to conform to the agenda of the gay mafia. In case you haven’t noticed MOST people aren’t gay, are not homophobic, and generally ambivalent to sexuality. I know many still need to continue the war (long since won) and fight against the invisible homophobic enemy that hide in every shadow. Sadly it’s all part of the new race industry who claim to fight for people’s rights but just prolong the war for job self preservation.

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