07/14 2050 CARE HOME OPENS FOR YOUNG GAYS 19-Jul-94 21:42 England ?
07/14 2050 CARE HOME OPENS FOR YOUNG GAYS
By Linda Jackson
A residential home staffed by lesbians and gays has opened for
homosexual teenagers and is hoping to expand, it emerged
The establishment, which plans to offer places to children as
young as 13, is believed to be the first of its kind in Britain.
The opening of Pride Place in Birmingham sparked outrage with
councillors and others demanding its closure.
It aims to offer support to gay problem teenagers, bullied in
council care homes because of their sexuality.
The home is believed to have three places. But a few weeks ago
it applied to Birmingham City Council to be registered as a
Staff say it is designed for gay young people who have been
through the care system and have a history of victimisation.
"By the time young people reach us, they arrive with a sorry
attitude about themselves and society," said team leader Gerry
Want in an interview with Community Care, a weekly magazine for
Terry Beavington, one of the project's managers, said the mixed
staff included people who could act as role models.
"We are here, we are `out' and in authority and that is what is
mainly lacking in the statutory and voluntary sectors."
Young people did not make public their homosexuality because
they did not feel safe, he told the magazine.
"On the street these people may get involved in risky
situations because it is the only way to express themselves
sexually or have contact with the gay scene and also, it is a
means of survival."
Staff feel they have more chance of helping residents cope with
their problems if their sexuality is no longer a major issue.
Tory councillor Graham Green, Birmingham City Council's
opposition social services spokesman, said: "How can children
so young be expected to know whether they really are gay?
"Even kids who have a loving family are too young to make this
"Confused teenagers in care who have often been sexually or
physically abused certainly cannot be expected to make such a
decision with confidence." mfws is to write to ministers
demanding that social services departments are told not to send
teenagers to Pride Place.
"I was horrified to learn of this home," he said. "I can't
believe anyone would suggest that such young children should be
earmarked as gay or lesbian and be put into a separate care
"If we get politically correct groups trying to push these
children they may well come to believe they are gay.
"I want social services departments to be told to avoid
referring children to Pride Place. They belong in normal care
homes, not specialised ones that may push them into the gay
Triangle Courses and Resources, based in Moseley, Birmingham,
applied under the name Pride Place to the city council for a
registration certificate to allow it to house more children.
Homes with less than three residents do not need to be
registered with the council's social services department.
But because Pride Place wants to fill six beds, it is required
under the Children Act to apply for registration.
Social services officials are deciding whether to grant an
application after checking the property, its location,
facilities and staffing.
Council vetting procedures include chasing up references and
checking the Department of Health Consultancy list which
includes those involved in or suspected of inappropriate
behaviour with children.
Checks are also made on night cover, the planned day-to-day
management, experience of staff and fire precautions.
Zac Webber, of West Midlands Gay and Lesbian Switchboard, said:
"I don't know what the fuss is about.
"Pride Place does not encourage a particular lifestyle but
provides an environment where being gay is not a problem."
A council spokeswoman confirmed it received a registration
application for a children's home.
"We have a legal obligation to consider this application and
will do so, mindful of the desirability of the application and
the criteria which must be met."