Continuing the focus on all things LGBT positive, this week, whatCharity brings you a piece from the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network. The charity’s view contributes to themes of action for change and education on the topic, as initiated in last week’s post. The Network’s lead officer and principal initiator, Alan Mercel-Sanca, provides the following information on the organisation and its work, along with a special news item that will coincide with the end of LGBT History Month 2020.

The LGB&T Dorset Equality Network had its earliest formative experience and development in the 2011 – 12 period, and became a registered organisation with the Charity Commission over two years ago. It’s purpose is to support often overlooked and poorly supported LGBT communities by helping to bring about substantial change at influence and policy level. The Network developed initially in Dorset and it growing to become a national organisation.

The 3 defining priorities of the Network are:

  • a focus on LGBT inclusion, safety, and counteracting indirect discrimination in regard to the statutory sector’s performance (local authorities, public service organisations, national government agencies & departments)
  • direct support to LGBT sub-groups falling within the particularly isolated, disempowered, and vulnerable categories
  • intersectionality and broader emphasis on developing LGBT+ community links and partnerships with ‘Allies’ (for example the Ask For Clive safe and inclusive places initiative, which the Network leads on in the pan-Dorset area)

“We are particularly proud of our work with BAME LGBT, which is supported through our work on the anti-LGBT dimension of the UK immigration system’s ‘Hostile Environment’. “

Alan Mercel-Sanca

The struggle for equality, respect, safety, and dignity for LGB&T community members is a truly global one. Hostility towards LGBT communities is unfortunately still a widespread cultural phenomena for many countries. The anti-LGBT dimension of the pronounced and all too well substantiated UK immigration policy, ‘Hostile Environment’, has only added to this in truly alarming, life-threatening and life-destroying ways.

By calling on many years experience, and a great reputation for independence, in regard to effectively challenging the destructive effects of fear instilling phobias, our network has developed a unique resource on the Hostile Environment’s mechanisms, characteristics, and dynamics. This resource, whilst having a dedicated section and broader LGBT context, is an exceptional example of our ‘Allies outreach approach’.

Much of the content is provided to support the broader BAME community to help asylum, visa, and leave to remain applicants, as well as all those who use UK immigration (UKVI / Home Office) and HMCTS Immigration Tribunal services (whether they identify as LGBT or not). The resource constitutes a website that will be launched at the end of LGBT History Month, February 2020, and will be accessible from a news article on the Network’s news page from 25th February (save the date and bookmark this link!) 

Not only will this resource help those genuine applicants to navigate the UK’s immigration services, it will also enable further building of important links between BAME and LGBT communities. In March, an e-book version of the resource will also be launched. 

Opportunity to get involved in the evolution of the Network as it goes national

In March, the Network – already respected nationally for its work on influencing and supporting policy change through research, initiatives, and also at parliament level – will be transforming to become a national organisation, officially! To be kept in the loop on updates, as well as the kinds of trustees, advisors, and volunteers we are in need of, visit the ‘Our Impact’ section of our whatCharity profile here (soon to be updated).

We welcome opportunities for both LGBT and non-LGBT ‘Allies’ to join and work with us in the areas of important work for change, inclusion, and safety.

To contact Alan, email him at:,
or ,call him direct: 07811 269 454.