As another year of activity for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) Greens draws to a close, I thought it would be worth reflecting upon some of the successes and challenges the group has faced over the last 12 months. The following report is not exhaustive, but perhaps give a flavour of the sort of work we’ve engaged in.
One of the main innovations we tried to introduce this year was to try and capture the priorities of LGBTIQ members and the aspirations of the elected officers within the group to produce a comprehensive overview of activities that we aimed to achieve. This year’s summary report has now been produced and is also available on the Green Party member’s site. I believe it is invaluable in allowing us to see where we have made strides forward, but also to allow us to be held accountable for areas in which we have been less successful.
We have invested time in organising ourselves more efficiently. We consulted widely on a constitution for the group, one which makes our work more tangible and provides a framework for those interested to see how their talents can contribute to taking forward our agenda forward. I am hopeful that this will be ratified at the AGM as the group has been operating without one for the last few years. Similarly, in order to nurture an organisational memory for the group, we have begun to meticulously use the relatively new Member’s Website as a place to share resources, reports and materials that local groups can make use of in their campaign work with LGBTIQ voters. I’d really encourage that you take a look around when you have a moment.
Whilst not as frequent as we had hoped, we have also provided reports of our activities throughout the year and expanded the avenues by which members and interested individuals can hear about the group’s work. Alongside a concerted effort to encourage traffic to the Member’s Website and to our email list, we launched and have grown a rapidly expanding audience for our Twitter feed @LGBTIQGreens too, which currently has 287 followers.
Members have produced fresh leaflets that were used successfully both during the London Mayoral election campaign and at a number of Pride Festivals around the country over the summer. Brighton and Hove Green Party continued to build their reputation as our flagship constituency for LGBTIQ members with another stunning presence and float at Brighton Pride, as well as coordinating our presence for another year at Student Pride. Another of the success stories of the last year has been the enormous work that a small group of committed members in London have achieved in pulling together a number of political and social activities across the city, really setting their own agenda and providing a prominent space for LGBTIQ members in that region. Ensuring the lessons learnt and support from these highly-achieving groups are shared with those LGBTIQ members in more isolated circumstances will be worth exploring in the coming twelve months.
The year has also been marked by a transition in the involvement of some of our leading activists and officers, a number of whom have embraced other challenges within the party and have had to scale back their involvement in the LGBTIQ Greens, as well as a number who have had to withdraw for personal reasons. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them again for the tremendous things they have accomplished during their time with the group. Yet I am hopeful that in the next year, some fresh faces will step forward to take up the baton. Some tenacious activists have contributed substantially to our work already and I hope they will consider becoming more involved.
I guess that leads me to the real challenge facing the group: gaining focus on exactly what members want from the group, being pragmatic about what can be realistically achieved and strengthening our capacity to deliver on these aspirations. Bluntly speaking, we had fewer people able to contribute their time to the group. Last year, we heard from members that an important aim was for us to become more outwardly focused, working in partnership with LGBTIQ campaigning organisations and investing time and energy in solidarity with wider campaigns. We recognized we had a gap in our coverage of trans issues and sought to build alliances and reexamine our priorities around equality. Unfortunately, nobody has been able to take this agenda forward and consequently, I am concerned that we were less outwardly facing than we hoped we would be.
Overall however, I think we have made steady incremental progress across a number of areas as well as keeping a high profile within the LGBTIQ community. It has been a pleasure to work with such inspiring colleagues on promoting LGBTIQ equality both within and without the party. One of my proudest personal moments for the last year was writing the speech that Jenny Jones, our London Mayoral candidate, delivered to the Stonewall Hustings at the British Film Institute earlier this year. Having the aspirations of our members being taken up so enthusiastically and vocally by one of the party’s key politicians was a very exciting experience, albeit one that involved a steep learning curve!
I’m hoping that at the AGM, we can really hear from members about the campaigns we should be putting our weight behind and set ourselves some challenging but manageable targets. As ever, if you are able to spare some time (however limited) to help us make strides forward in delivering on our promises, I know you’d find it an enjoyable experience!
Chair – LGBTIQ Greens
Previous blog posts on LGBT issues: