Leeds, a city known for its inclusive and diverse community, has actively participated in various events to celebrate LGBT History Month in February and the national LGBT Fostering and Adoption Week in March.
LGBT History Month Events
Several events took place in Leeds to commemorate LGBT History Month. Leeds Beckett student union organized discussion workshops, while the Leeds Museum hosted the “Over the Top” event, featuring performances by local gay choir Gay Abandon and a screening of Alphabet Club by Jamie Fletcher. Social groups such as Leeds Lesbian Social, Leeds Bi Group, and The Yorkshire Bears also held their own celebrations.
LGBT Fostering and Adoption Week
The first week of March marked the national LGBT Fostering and Adoption Week, coordinated by the New Family Social organization. Leeds City Council sponsors and collaborates with New Family Social, a UK charity led by LGBT adopters and foster carers. The organization works with agencies to help improve their service delivery and expand the pool of potential parents for children in need of families.
The Importance of LGBT Foster Carers and Adopters
Lesbian and gay individuals have been fostering and adopting children for many years, both as individuals and in same-sex partnerships and marriages. Several studies have investigated the outcomes for children living with lesbian or gay carers in terms of social behavior, academic performance, and mental health. The results revealed that these children fared just as well, if not better, than their peers with heterosexual carers. This emphasizes that parenting quality, rather than the carer’s identity, is what truly matters.
Leeds City Council’s Statement and Future Plans
Although Leeds has been an active regional participant in LGBT Fostering & Adoption Week since 2012, the city will not be holding a specific event in 2015. However, planning for a 2016 event is already underway. In previous years, Leeds has hosted information evenings that included brief presentations and opportunities for interested individuals to meet approved foster carers and adopters.
The city’s fostering department has a growing number of single and coupled lesbian and gay foster carers, approving 2-3 people or couples per year. While there are no known bisexual or transgender foster carers, the inclusive council aims to increase the number of LGBT carers in Leeds, recognizing their ability to provide loving homes and possess valuable transferable skills.