A Place of Pride

Published: by Jonathan Tebble

Shelter is celebrating Pride again this year – but thousands of LGBTQ+ people continue to face high rates of discrimination and homelessness.

Pride season kicks off with Birmingham Pride across the May Bank Holiday. With support from our partner HSBC UK, we’re launching ‘A Place of Pride’, which will invite visitors to the event to ‘show their hands in solidarity’ and provide an interactive opportunity to share messages of solidarity and first-hand experiences of poor financial health and homelessness faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

HSBC UK firmly believes that who you love or how you identify should never be a barrier to opportunity. That’s why they are proud to support Birmingham Pride – one of the UK’s largest Pride festivals – and stand with their colleagues and customers to challenge prejudice through Pride marches across the UK.

LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately affected by the housing emergency

Whilst Shelter will be at different community pride events sharing information and raising awareness, it’s important to remember that LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately affected by the housing emergency. Our report, ‘Denied the right to a safe home’, brings to light the extent of the housing emergency, and the reality that LGBTQ+ people are more likely to live in unaffordable, unfit, and unstable housing. Of the 13,000 people surveyed for this report in 2021, 8% of bisexual and 6% of gay or lesbian people found it hard to find a safe and secure home because of discrimination, versus 3% of heterosexual people. We found that 39% of bisexual and 31% of gay or lesbian people were also more likely to be living in a home with poor conditions, versus 26% of heterosexual people.

Housing issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community are complex and highlight vast inequalities in housing access. In addition to the widespread impact of the housing emergency, we know that LGBTQ+ people face additional barriers as a result of their sexuality or gender identity. This could be:

• homophobic, biphobic and transphobic insults and violence from housemates and neighbours
• being kicked out of home for being LGBTQ+, or being subjected to conversion therapy or forced marriage by family members
• discrimination from housing workers and homelessness service providers
• facing a higher risk of sexual violence while rough sleeping

Almost one in five LGBTQ+ people (18%) have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, according to Stonewall’s 2018 ‘LGBT in Britain: Homes and Communities’ report. Among them are people like Amy, who received vital support from Stonewall Housing.

Amy’s story

After Amy moved into a new flatshare, it wasn’t long before her new housemate made it very clear that she wasn’t welcome. He insulted everything about her the way she dressed, how she walked, and the fact that Amy’s a lesbian. One night things escalated and he punched a hole in her bedroom wall while blocking her from leaving.

Amy didn’t feel safe there anymore, but her landlord didn’t answer any of her calls, she didn’t know her rights and she didn’t feel ‘homeless enough’. She sofa-surfed for two weeks before referring herself to Stonewall Housing.

New Shelter advice for LGBTQ+ people

This Pride season, we are proud to be standing alongside Stonewall Housing to raise awareness of the disproportionate effect that the housing emergency has on the lives of LGBTQ+ people.

Together, we’ve created new information pages that are available on Shelter’s website:

How to find an LGBTQ+ friendly private rented home
Help if you’re homeless and LGBTQ+
What to do about discrimination from landlords or agents

Or you can visit HSBC’s advice:
Money Worries | Support With Your Finances – HSBC UK

We’d love to hear your story if you are an LGBTQ+ person who is #MadeInSocialHousing, or you can join our new social housing campaign.

Learn more about our partnership with HSBC UK
Building on the success of HSBC UK’s ground-breaking No Fixed Address bank account service, HSBC UK and Shelter’s three-year partnership will increase support for people in immediate crisis, as well as help build a more secure future for those at risk. This includes funding increasing emergency help measures, creating new digital tools, online guidance and in-person services.

HSBC UK is a proud partner of Birmingham Pride since 2016.