Last year in partnership with Glasgow Council on Alcohol (GCA) Scottish Families established a Glasgow-wide working group focused on addressing drug and alcohol-related health inequalities experienced by LGBTQI+ people, communities and families.
The working group is a partnership between LGBTQI+, drug and alcohol family support organisations and academics. The group has committed to focusing on two streams of work – community engagement and service inclusivity.
The service inclusivity subgroup is developing and delivering a training pack for drug and alcohol services aimed at increasing sector knowledge and understanding of supporting LGBTIQ+ people who use substances and their friends, partners and family members. We know that LGBTIQ+ people experience barriers to accessing drug and alcohol support services and the group hopes to engage with partners and Glasgow based organisations to improve their confidence and knowledge around working with LGBTIQ+ people impacted by substance use.
The community engagement subgroup is focusing on grassroots engagement and development with LGBTQI+ communities. In December Scottish Families co-hosted a Community Discussion event in partnership with LGBT Health and Wellbeing and Glasgow Council on Alcohol. This started a conversation around drug and alcohol use in LGBTQI+ communities and how LGBTQI+ people can come together to support one another.
Alongside Ash from Scottish Families, we had some fantastic panelists attend on the day including Adrienne Hannah (Scottish Drug Forum), Oceana Maund (Scottish Trans, Equality Alliance), Michaela Jones (Scottish Recovery Consortium), Judith Schooling (Pride in Recovery, Mungo Foundation) and David Barbour (Glasgow Council on Alcohol).
The conversation touched on topics such as the impact of discrimination and isolation on mental health and substance use, a lack of alcohol and drug-free LGBTQI+ spaces, a sense of dislocation from LGBTQI+ community for people in recovery, how LGBTQI+ communities can support each other, barriers to accessing LGBTQI+ responsive drug and alcohol services, and diverse ways in which LGBTQI+ form support networks and define ‘family’. Kelly Minio-Paluello from LGBT Health and Wellbeing skilfully facilitated an interesting and thought-provoking discussion and we are delighted to work in partnership with so many passionate and skilled individuals and organisations.
We have some exciting new plans with Glasgow Council on Alcohol and other working group partners to co-develop a community-led drug and alcohol health campaign to address the disproportionate drug and alcohol-related harm experienced by LGBTQI+ people, families, and communities.
We will be planning a launch event for this campaign in late March 2020 so watch this space if you are interested in coming along and seeing what it’s all about.
Ash from Scottish Families warmly welcomes contact from anyone who wants to find out more about our work in the LGBTQI+ space. If anything has sparked your interest please get in touch!
You can follow the Glasgow LGBTQI+ Substance Use Working Group on Twitter at @LGBTQISubUse