Winter message from LGBTIQA+ Greens Chair – Aimee Challenor

[Image: Lee-Anne Lawrance, LGBTIQA+ Greens]

So here we are, after 12 exhausting months, 2016 is drawing to a close. Many of us cannot wait for the clocks to strike 12, and for the world to enter 2017, in a little over a week.

It’s at this time of year we look at the year we’ve had, and make our dreams for the future.

There’s not a lot of great stuff to look on when we cover 2016 as a whole.  After all, we’ve had Brexit, Trump, the refugee crisis. In North Carolina, we face House Bill 2, in Orlando our community faced a terrible attack. Closer to home, we saw a rise in anti-LGBTIQA+ Hate Crime, and a Government that still won’t afford us our rights.

But whilst this year has been pretty tough, we’ve also continued to fight, we’ve stood strong and proud and not backed down.  This year the Green Party have taken multiple strides to strength and reaffirm our commitment to LGBTIQA+ Equality.

In February, I had the pleasure of being appointed the Equalities (LGBTIQA+) Spokesperson, the first openly transgender spokesperson of a UK Political Party. Then at our Spring Conference, the party overwhelmingly voted to improve the Gender Recognition Act, Equalities Act, and the Marriage (Same Sex) Couples Act, to give trans people better rights in law.  We also passed policy to support making PrEP available on the NHS, as well as extending HPV Vaccines to boys, and increasing funding to HIV protection.

In September, we passed policy to campaign for an end to discriminatory blood donation preventions, so that those who want to give blood, can. The party also strongly passed policy affirming the identities of transgender and non-binary people adding the words “trans men are men, trans women are women, and non-binary identities are real and valid.” to our policy.

We’ve seen Pride events grow, and new ones blossom. We’re clear as a community that we will continue to stand proud, that we will continue our fight for a world where everyone is free to be who they are and love who they love.

We look forward to 2017 so that we can have fresh minds, but let us be clear, we will not stand down, New Year doesn’t mean a new politics overnight. We will still be pushing for equality and acceptance.

We will still be fighting for the rights of LGBTIQA+ people. We will be having bigger and more Pride appearances, travelling across the country to support our members celebrate the diversity of our party.

Of course, we’ll still have our challenges, people will still be fighting against us, trying to put people down and establish some sort of social hierarchy. We say no.

We say to our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer, Asexual, or otherwise diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, that we will be by your side. Every step of the way.

So please join me, join Caroline Lucas, Sian Berry, Jonathan Bartley, Caroline Russell, and so many committed Green Activists across the country as we continue our politics of Hope, not fear, of Equality, not discrimination. As we fight for the common good, and remain proud of our diversity.

Let’s make 2017 a great Green year.

Thanks, and have a Wonderful Holidays,

Aimee Challenor
Equalities (LGBTIQA+) Spokesperson,
Chair of LGBTIQA+ Greens.