8th August 2017
Camden & Islington LGBT Forum Reassures LGBT Disabled in Access Row
Following the rather inflammatory article which appeared on BuzzFeed UK, Camden & Islington LGBT Forum wishes to issue the following clarification.
While not a disability organisation, Camden & Islington LGBT Forum & Trustees employ people with disabilities and we are acutely aware of the need to ensure activities we organise, fund or promote are as accessible as they can be within the physical limitations of the premises they are conducted in.
Our offices are accessible, as is our annual Loudest Whispers Art Exhibition and our Gala Nights. We also require venues are visited and assessed before we use them, working within the framework of the Disability Discrimination Act to ensure appropriate adaptations are made.
In the case of this event at the Phoenix Arts Club, where the venue access is down a flight of stairs, we followed current best practice issued by government which confirms wheelchairs can be carried carefully down and upstairs by appropriate individuals. This might not be ideal for all users but it shows a significant awareness of the needs of disabled people and importantly – the law. We would never put staff or customers in a position that was dangerous and are happy to set the record straight.
Regrettably, some venues cannot be fully accessible and this is a particular problem in characterful venues which while claiming important LGBT social history, can be very old, listed or unmodernised. We offer to meet with any LGBT groups who have concerns over accessing our spaces or signpost them to access services – including those in Camden & Islington where a large number of our activities happen.
London Night Czar Amy Lame has committed along with London Mayor Sadiq Khan to keep LGBT establishments open rather than finding reasons to close them down. In printing this letter the LGBT media can show their valued support for those of us who exist to support our diverse community.
Trustee – Media and Communications
Camden & Islington LGBT Forum