True equality for gay people is still a long way off, according to GADD (Gay Advice Darlington/Durham)

TRUE equality for gay people is still a long way off, according to the chief executive of a Darlington charity.

Despite the recent legalisation of same sex marriage, the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) population still faces a struggle for equality, according to Emma Roebuck, chief executive of GADD (Gay Advice Darlington/Durham).

Ms Roebuck today warned that equality will never be achieved through legislation alone, as she appealed for more volunteers to help the charity deal with an increase in demand.

In 2013, GADD helped more than 2,000 people, offering support and advice on a variety of issues, including hate crime, workplace discrimination and access to health and social services.

Ms Roebuck stressed that improvements in law do not automatically lead to improvements in the lives of LGBT people, many of whom still face a struggle for acceptance.

In 2013, more than 200 LGBT people were victims of hate crime in the Darlington and Durham area.

Ms Roebuck believes the true number of people attacked for their sexuality or gender identity is probably much higher.

She said: “People do not bother reporting it because they don’t see it as important. “For many same sex couples and trans people, facing abuse is still an everyday thing. “As a transwoman walking down Skinnergate, you know you will get verbal abuse or idiotic comments if you are spotted.

“Going out on an evening, you run the risk of abuse and life becomes a risk assessment.”

She added: “A lot of people say laws allowing same sex marriage will level the playing field but to put it into context, the legal frame work is just coming into place.

“The fight still needs to be fought and it is also about cultural change, rather than legal change.

“We need to make it safe so all relationships are accepted on an equal footing and those who question their gender identities or sexual orientations can do so in a safe way and be accepted as part of society.”

GADD will host volunteer training sessions beginning in February. Anyone interested in volunteering or supporting the charity should call 01325 252522, email admin@gayadvicedarlington.co.uk or visit gayadvicedarlington.co.uk.

Comments (6)

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7:51pm Thu 2 Jan 14

thetruththewholetruthandnothingbutthetruth says...

Never mind gay people. Equality is a proverbial mile away for most people. The country has never been more unfair. Case in point being the absolutely enormous and ever increasing gap between the rich and the poor. Especially bankers and high flying civil servants - and the rest of us.

We're all equal - but some are more equal than others.
Never mind gay people. Equality is a proverbial mile away for most people. The country has never been more unfair. Case in point being the absolutely enormous and ever increasing gap between the rich and the poor. Especially bankers and high flying civil servants - and the rest of us. We're all equal - but some are more equal than others. thetruththewholetruthandnothingbutthetruth

12:27pm Fri 3 Jan 14

Colcat says...

@thetruththewholetru
thandnothingbutthetr
uth - your argument seems to be along the lines of "there is not equality in society for women, therefore we should do nothing to promote equality for the disabled." (I am NOT in anyway suggesting there is a connection between disability and homosexuality, before anyone draws that conclusion!) I believe that you are correct when you suggest the massive inequality between the rich and poor should be addressed, but your argument becomes facile when drawing its conclusions. Small steps in the right direction are always better than either no steps at all, or steps in the wrong direction.
@thetruththewholetru thandnothingbutthetr uth - your argument seems to be along the lines of "there is not equality in society for women, therefore we should do nothing to promote equality for the disabled." (I am NOT in anyway suggesting there is a connection between disability and homosexuality, before anyone draws that conclusion!) I believe that you are correct when you suggest the massive inequality between the rich and poor should be addressed, but your argument becomes facile when drawing its conclusions. Small steps in the right direction are always better than either no steps at all, or steps in the wrong direction. Colcat

8:24pm Fri 3 Jan 14

calumannabel says...

The world is filled with beleaguered minorities - it isn't a question of sexuality. There are violent people who will attack any minority group - heroin users on vulnerable OAP's, town versus gown disputes, Mackems in Newcastle and Geordies in Sunderland, Greek Cypriots versus Turks etc etc so don't draw the conclusion it's just about sexuality. Legislation only tells people what they can and can't do, it doesn't change their thinking eg the foxhunting laws haven't stopped people wanting to chase foxes, drink driving laws, seatbelt laws and mobile phone use while driving reinforce this. Look back 30 years Ms Roebuck and you have come a long way.
The world is filled with beleaguered minorities - it isn't a question of sexuality. There are violent people who will attack any minority group - heroin users on vulnerable OAP's, town versus gown disputes, Mackems in Newcastle and Geordies in Sunderland, Greek Cypriots versus Turks etc etc so don't draw the conclusion it's just about sexuality. Legislation only tells people what they can and can't do, it doesn't change their thinking eg the foxhunting laws haven't stopped people wanting to chase foxes, drink driving laws, seatbelt laws and mobile phone use while driving reinforce this. Look back 30 years Ms Roebuck and you have come a long way. calumannabel

10:23pm Fri 3 Jan 14

calumannabel says...

How can this article be in the 'Most Shared' section with only 3 comments?
Has the Echo got its own agenda?
How can this article be in the 'Most Shared' section with only 3 comments? Has the Echo got its own agenda? calumannabel

10:34pm Fri 3 Jan 14

Jackaranda says...

Not a great deal of people want to comment on the subject, a lot of people find the subject repulsive!!
Not a great deal of people want to comment on the subject, a lot of people find the subject repulsive!! Jackaranda

10:55pm Thu 9 Jan 14

JJ573JJ says...

Had the article been about the poor, the elderly or perhaps some other downtrodden and poor section of our society I could perhaps understand some of the comments above. We all know life is hard work for many, and this article sought to inform people as to how one section of our society is treated by others, who unfortunately have been raised in a society where they feel it is natural to pick upon someone who is different to them. It is even more saddening still to see that hate crimes are such a large number in this area. I spent time fighting for this country so that they have the right to express their opinions in this manner. I draw a disability pension now because of injuries received. Like many other veterans we express ourselves in many ways. I'm often ridiculed, but I'm never dis- heartened as it's only by education we will seek to inform others, that we all deserve respect and acceptance, along with the right to a decent standard of living. By the way I also identify with two letters in the LGBT spectrum, as well as being disabled. I do not draw a penny in benefits other than the pension. Until very recently I ran my own business, and had several employees. Not one of them had any problem with me, my gender or sexuality.
Had the article been about the poor, the elderly or perhaps some other downtrodden and poor section of our society I could perhaps understand some of the comments above. We all know life is hard work for many, and this article sought to inform people as to how one section of our society is treated by others, who unfortunately have been raised in a society where they feel it is natural to pick upon someone who is different to them. It is even more saddening still to see that hate crimes are such a large number in this area. I spent time fighting for this country so that they have the right to express their opinions in this manner. I draw a disability pension now because of injuries received. Like many other veterans we express ourselves in many ways. I'm often ridiculed, but I'm never dis- heartened as it's only by education we will seek to inform others, that we all deserve respect and acceptance, along with the right to a decent standard of living. By the way I also identify with two letters in the LGBT spectrum, as well as being disabled. I do not draw a penny in benefits other than the pension. Until very recently I ran my own business, and had several employees. Not one of them had any problem with me, my gender or sexuality. JJ573JJ

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