Mapping Queer London

Kairos have been surveying

London LGBT charity Kairos in Soho have launched a new annual publication, The London Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Voluntary and Community Sector Almanac. This half-inch-thick tome brings community group information alongside an overview of those community groups, how they are funded, who runs them, what they do and who they reach.

It covers some 89 organisations, all based in London – none of which work specifically with the bisexual community.  This was a slight surprise – there are a few local bi groups based in London, and Bisexual Index is based there too (Bi Community News has a London address but we are actually run from Manchester).  It turns out that the bi projects  they contacted were BCN and BiCon – which also maintains a London postal address as a permanent contact point but could only really be described as London based in two of the last ten years.

The report reflects that the LGBT sector reaches lesbians and gay men far more than bisexual people – some 6% of service users are reckoned to be bi, when most research shows there are more bisexual people than lesbians and gay men put together.  Though a similar proportion of staff and volunteers are reported as bi too – so it seems that once we’re through the door, we get our hands dirty the same as everyone else.

And it highlights how much better funded LGBT work in London is than elsewhere in the country – taking half the voluntary sector funding from the whole of the UK for about one eighth of the population, and a better proportion of voluntary sector funding than LGBT work takes elsewhere in the country.

In showcasing the wealth of activities and services provided by diverse London LGBT organisations, the Almanac challenges the idea that independent equality sectors are losing relevance because public sector bodies have ‘taken equality on board.’ LGBT organisations serve between a quarter and half of London’s estimated LGBT population every year.

The report also reflects how things have changed since the last similar survey in 2006, with less work in areas like befriending and telephone helplines.
Mostly for activists and London-based folk, but an interesting read.

Read it or find out more here: www.kairosinsoho.org.uk/almanac.asp