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Understanding LGBT in Prison

3 Pillars Project constantly strives to better engage with young people in order to support them to develop confidence and self-belief. As part of this we have undertaken mentoring training, Mental Health First Aid and developed a trauma-informed approach to our interactions. 3 Pillars are continually developing our understanding of issues that affect prisoners. According to Gorczynski (2016), “many of the physical, psychological and social health needs of LGBT prisoners are neglected”. We already understand that mental health is an issue that affects many prisoners, and we are aware of the conditions that prisons create which can exacerbate this for the LGBT community: incidents of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are common. Many individuals fear being discriminated against and intimidated and being the victims of physical and sexual violence. Following on from this 3 Pillars Project attended a ‘LGBT Sexuality and Gender Awareness’ training workshop hosted by Mosaic Youth ahead of LGBT month. The workshop covered a range of topics, including axes of privilege, domination and oppression relating to issues faced by the LGBTQI+ community.  In every aspect of our contact with prisoners and ex-prisoners, we aim to implement elements of respectful practice within a safe environment. 3 Pillars Project recognises the need to better understand the experiences of the LGBT community in prison, especially pertaining to psychological wellbeing.  Though we provide positive masculine role models for the prisoners to engage with, attending the training workshop was important for us to be understanding and informative of the different genders prisoners may identify. Gaining awareness of the LGBT community and the discrimination that they face enables our role models, regardless of gender, to navigate their thinking, policies and practices to be more empathetic.

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