Current Affairs

Welsh gays urged to use their vote wisely

Tony Grew March 21, 2007
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Stonewall Cymru are encouraging LGBT people in the principality to make their votes count in the elections for the Welsh Assembly in May.

Tomorrow the gay equality organisation will present a report at the Senedd building in Cardiff on inequality in healthcare in parts of Wales.

The Inside-Out report highlights concerns about the varied attitudes of health professionals towards lesbian, gay and bisexual service users.

25% of respondents reported experiencing hostile and judgemental attitudes after ‘coming out’ to healthcare staff.

The report also revealed that some gay men felt pressured by healthcare professionals to take HIV/AIDS tests simply because of their sexual orientation, and lesbians were given inappropriate contraceptive advice.

Stonewall Cymru want public services such as healthcare, housing and policing to meet the specific needs of gay people.

They are launching a campaign of their own in the run up to elections for the 60-member Assembly on 3rd May.

Stonewall’s postcard campaign urges gay people to use their vote and demands an end to homophobic bullying, that hate crimes be made a priority and proper representation for all communities.

One poster references reality TV stars, such as Connie Fisher, winner of How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

The campaign is meant to challenge people into voting not just for TV show contestants but for politicians who can really make a difference to the lives of LGBT people in Wales.

Matthew Batten, Policy and Public Affairs Officer for Stonewall Cymru, told

“We are urging the lesbian and gay population of Wales to use their vote wisely, to check Assembly Members voting records and think carefully about who has

supported or opposed gay equality.”

Findings from the Inside-Out report, which will be presented to Welsh Assembly members and healthcare providers tomorrow, were not all negative.

It highlighted a range of positive experiences including non-judgemental attitudes from staff and being treated as equal to heterosexual couples.

‘Sara’ from North Wales was pleasantly surprised when her partner was included in treatment discussions.

“Doctors and nurses treated my partner equally, sharing information and treating her as my spouse.”

Jenny Porter, Community Liaison Officer for Stonewall Cymru, said, The Inside-Out report highlights the need for equality training to be given to all healthcare staff so that lesbian, gay and bisexual people are treated with respect and receive treatment that is appropriate to their needs.

“While the report highlights some positive experiences there still remains more to be done. We look forward to working with the NHS to ensure LGB people receive the best possible healthcare.”

The report is the result of a year long project exploring the experiences of LGB people accessing health services in North and Mid Wales.

A team of volunteers were trained as community researchers to devise a research programme and produce a final report.

For more information about Stonewall Cymru’s election demands click here

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