Tag Archives: LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

A big thank you to Ed and Jo for championing Trans rights

As the dust begins to settle after the Leadership Election (and many congratulations to Jo and commiserations to Ed) there will, as usual, be time for some self-evaluation and reflection for the party, even if the other leadership election that’s happened means there might be a bit less of it than normal!

With that in mind I only have one thing to add to everything else that will be going on in the coming days and that’s a note of thanks to Jo and Ed for their unwavering support for trans people during the Leadership election. You both stood by us, unswervingly, even when it led to you getting so much abuse for that stance. It would have been so easy to step back and dial it down. To make vague equivocal noises about supporting equality. To throw us under the bus as we have been so many times before. Thank you for not doing the easy thing.

Both Jo and Ed showed yet again that the real essence of liberalism is doing the right thing and not the easy thing. Giving trans people a place to feel welcomed and at home at a time when we are so under attack in the media and everywhere we go was definitely not the easy thing for either of you to do. It has meant so much to the trans people I know in the party (and even quite a few outside it) to see you both prove that you will stand with us against those attacks, which frankly makes us unique as a party, and show conclusively that there is no place for bigotry and transphobia in the Liberal Democrats.

At a time when every other party has been backing down in the face of those attacks, you both stepped forward. Thank you for proving beyond a doubt that whatever your differences and whatever the future brings we have had a choice between two true liberals.

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Our #BollocksToHate campaign is for everyone

One question we have to address as a party, locally and nationally, is how to allow grassroots energy to contribute to coherent and effective campaigns.

Energised by the EU election result, the Islington LibDems are in top form. We did extremely well last May and there is a palpable sense of optimism and determination in the borough. Local activists led by chair Pierre Delarue and deputy chair Katherine Pollard have been holding lots of events, drinks, brainstorms and sessions to discuss next steps. How do we harness this power and start to get on a general election footing?

One of their first ideas was to do something about a series of pernicious stickers that had started to pop up around the borough, North and South, promoting racism and Hate. We spotted them and decided to print up some stickers to stick over them, with the simple message Bollocks to Hate. To be honest they looked very strong…and they covered over the vicious messages others had put there.

It sparked an idea. Why don’t we do an Islington values campaign on Hate…and Pride 2019 would be a perfect place to launch it.

We felt we needed buy-in from HQ, and we got Lord Tim Clement-Jones and Baroness Jane Bonham-Carter on board. They loved the idea and got very enthused over tea at the House of Lords. We showed them some sample graphics and they said go for it. Then we met with LibDem Creatives Charles Brand who advised us on the right imprint for the materials and crucially that we should ask everyone who appeared in the photos to sign consent release forms, giving us permission to use their photos in our campaign online. Lib Dem deputy CEO Emma Cherniavsky gave us her blessing and advised we focus it as an Islington campaign, and if it worked, HQ would consider taking it wider. She agreed this is a values campaign.

As this was Pride weekend in London, we decided in the first instance to focus on LGBTQ+ rights even though Hate and hate crimes are much wider than this. More of that later.

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Being LGBT+ and BAME: my story

The short article I had planned to write after attending Stonewall’s Diaspora Showcase on Thursday 6 September was going to focus on the issues affecting black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT+ people and what the Liberal Democrats, specifically the Lib Dem Campaign for Race Equality (LDCRE), can do to address those issues.

I was going to go through the findings outlined in Stonewall’s Home in the Community report, and talk about the discrimination BAME LGBT+ people have encountered within their own communities, and double discrimination in the workplace. However, my intended focus is not the right starting point.

The Diaspora Showcase was not about the bad associated with being BAME LGBT+, it was about all the good. As Stonewall advertised, it was a celebration of the beautiful diverse BAME and LGBT+ community. It was quite poignant that this celebration took place on the same day that the gay sex ban in India was struck down. This was of course referenced and applauded on several occasions during the showcase.

I cried when a series of short documentaries were shown, in particular the moment that an African man of religion stated that gay means “God Adores You”. I cried when Khakan Qureshi, the founder of Birmingham South Asians LGBT, told his story about coming up and out. I cried because this event has been a long time in the making. It is 2018 after all.

I have wasted a lot of my time regretting how I’ve not lived an authentic life. I often find myself wishing for a do-over. I wish I could go back in time and tell 15-year-old me to stop trying to convince herself that her infatuation with a high school friend was just jealousy. I wish I could tell 18-year-old me that my sexual attraction to a Muslim sister I used to attend mosque with did not make me a wrong’un. I wish I could celebrate with 21-year-old me about being with a woman for the first time, instead of leaving her alone and stewing in displaced guilt and shame. I wish the me of three months ago, RSVP’d to Ramadan celebrations, wouldn’t have been so tied up in worry about her response if asked: “Do you have a husband or boyfriend?”. Science has not yet produced time travel technology so I can’t do any of that.

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LGBT History Month

Today is the start of LGBT History Month, marked in the UK since 2005 to raise the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, their history, lives and their experiences.

In 2017, there was a clear unifying anniversary of fifty years since the partial decriminalisation for part of the UK of sex between men – enabled by then Home Secretary Roy Jenkins, whose political career took him from Labour minister via SDP leader to the Lib Dem green benches.

2018 has key round-number dates too, though: forty years since the …

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A message from the Chair of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

* Editorial note: as indicated earlier, all comments on this piece will be moderated before publication.

Today, as always on the 20th of November we at LGBT+ Lib Dems, along with many other organisations around the world, are observing Transgender Day of Remembrance. This is the twentieth year when one of the biggest events in the LGBT+ calendar is not a celebration, but a commemoration of those who have been taken from us by violence. You can find the list of names for this and previous years here. TDoR is always sombre, commemorating as it does the deaths of trans …

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Baroness Liz Barker writes…Why Liberal Democrats should be out and proud in 2015

Next Saturday the LGBT community will celebrate Pride in London.

There has been a kerfuffle about whether UKIP should be allowed to attend. Of course they should. In this country the LGBT community is strong enough to be inclusive, to involve all sorts of minorities.  Moreover several hours in which to challenge the absurdity of being an LGBT member of UKIP – preferably through the media of song and interpretive dance – is a gift too good to be spurned.

This year the march will be led by Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners; an organisation of which many young people were unaware until they saw the film Pride. Do get the DVD. It is well worth a watch.  The presence of LGSM (as it said on the collecting buckets) is a timely reminder of how easily political fortunes can change and memories fade.

So this year it is more important than ever that Liberal Democrats have a visible presence at Pride events around the UK.  Our record in LGBT equality has always been outstanding – even if Stonewall refuses to say so. In government we stuck to our principles and brought in Same Sex Marriage.  It would not have happened without us. In DfID, Lynne and Lindsay fought hard to make LGBT equality a central factor in UK aid programmes and foreign policy.   However, be in no doubt that, as part of their plan to eradicate Liberal Democrats in our remaining council and parliamentary seats, the Tories and Labour will airbrush us out of the picture and claim the credit.  

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Introducing LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

lGBT+ lib dems logoNew members have been asking about Lib Dem organisations that they can join.  You are welcome to submit similar items on behalf of other organisations.

The Liberals were the first party to support gay rights in a general election manifesto. The Lib Dems opposed Section 28 from the start, were the first to call for legal gender recognition for trans people, literally wrote the law on civil partnerships and were the first major party to support same-sex marriage, which was pushed through in Government by Lynne Featherstone as Equalities minister.

It’s clear that as a party we’ve always been there for LGBT+ people, and we always will. Liberalism is inherently opposed to conformity, and our party is constitutionally supportive of people regardless of gender orsexuality. However, there is room for an organisation which proactively advances the cause of equality and liberation.

LGBT+ Lib Dems, like its predecessor organisations, exists to promote the needs of LGBT+ people. We have ensured that the Lib Dems have been ahead of professional organisations such as Stonewall. As a recognised party body we submit policy straight to the Conference floor. We help the Lib Dems get the details right to make the best difference to LGBT+ peoples’ lives.

Posted in Lib Dem organisations and Op-eds | 5 Comments

Opinion: Church of England, call off your modern day inquisition

Archbishop Justin Welby Some rights reserved by Messiah Lutheran (Mechanicsville, VA)For those of you in York, and indeed last September at Glasgow, one of the loudest cheers in the closing day of the Leaders Speech always comes when the pre-film, or Nick as leader mentions the Same Sex Marriage Act.

Indeed Lynne Featherstone will go down in Liberal Democrat history, indeed in wider history, as the MP who made such a massive impact and a positive one upon society.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 29 Comments

LibLink: Adrian Trett – Why do Europe and LGBT equality measures cause such splits in mainstream parties?

Writing for PinkNews, as Chair of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats and Vice-Chair of the Liberal Democrats European Group, Adrian Trett says there are political similarities when it comes to arguing the case for equality and the European Union:

If you have the fundamental freedom to travel and work, live and reside in the place of your choice, then so does everyone else whatever nationality. Just because we may have an influx of Romanians and Bulgarians next January, no Europhobe can turn round and say, sorry you can’t come here, because we belong to a market with free movement of

Posted in LibLink | 15 Comments
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