LGBTIQA+ Greens Guide to Spring Conference

1-7 March 2021

Are you registered?

In the Green Party we do things differently – we make our policy together as members. Twice a year we meet to discuss, update and add to our policies as a party. So if you feel strongly about Social & Climate Justice and want to influence Party policy, you need to get yourself registered!

Here's the good stuff

Formal Conference kicks off on 1 March with Workshops (where the details of motions will be discussed in advance of the plenaries). There will be three workshops per evening from 1-4 March. Plenaries (debating and voting on the motions in the Final Agenda) will be held over the weekend of 6-7 March, with the opening plenary taking place on the evening of 5 March.

Due to demand, we are also planning a pre-conference weekend on 27 and 28 February of learning and networking activities for members. This will include fringes, training, socials, special interest group meetings, policy working group meetings.

Check out the full timetable for the event.

Can't Attend Every Session?

Don't worry, you're not alone. Obviously, to get the most out of conference it would be great to attend as many sessions as possible. However, this isn't always practical or possible, so below we've highlighted LGBTIQA+ related sessions and workshops/plenaries discussing motions that we feel are particularly beneficial or are counter to green values. We also go on to explain the reasons behind our positions on these motions below the timetable.

(Note: This is a guide and timings may change)

Pre-Conference: 27-28 Feb

LGBTIQA+ Rights in the Global Green Movement

Saturday 27 Feb @ 12:30- 13:30

We'll be inviting Greens from all around the world to speak about LGBTIQA+ rights in the green movement. Topics will include work the speakers have done with their respective parties, the current challenges they face and how green politics relate to the fight for LGBTIQA+ rights.

Panel includes:

  • Ricardo Menédez March (He/Him) - Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Margaret Elisabeth (They/Them) - Green Party of the United States
  • Nicola Spurling (She/Her) - Green Party of Canada
  • Greig Ewart (He/Him) - Australian Greens

LGBTIQA+ Greens Meeting

Sunday 28 Feb @ 11:15- 12:15

A meeting for LGBTIQA+ members and allies to come together and discuss what we've been doing in the last 6 months. Also an opportunity to let us know what you'd like us to focus on in the future!

Workshops: 1-4 Mar

Introduction to Policy Process & Conference

Monday 1 Mar @ 18:00 - 18:30

Good introduction into what to expect over the coming days. Useful for new members or if this your first Conference.

Monday: Workshop 3

Monday 1 Mar @ 18:30 - 19:35

Discussing motions we believe to be counter to Green values:

  • E01 Women's sex-based rights
  • C04 Ensure sex and gender are not conflated

Discussing a motion we believe to be beneficial:

  • E03 Self determination of gender

Tuesday: Workshop 1

Tuesday 2 Mar @ 18:30 - 19:45

Discussing motions we believe to be counter to Green values:

  • E07 Reaffirm support for BDS
  • D07 Antisemitism, Palestine and Free Speech
  • E14 Free Speech Charter

Wednesday: Workshop 1

Wednesday 3 Mar @ 18:30 - 19:30

Discussing motions we believe to be beneficial:

  • D09 Consultation and Right of Reply for Liberation Groups on Proposed Policy
  • E09 Enabling Motion for the revision of land use policies in the Policies for a Sustainable Society
  • E10 Enabling Motion Health Policy Review

Thursday: Workshop 1, 2 and 3

Thursday 4 Mar @ 18:30 - 19:35

All workshops are discussing motions which we believe to be beneficial:

Workshop 1

  • E13 Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

Workshop2

  • D05 Green Party democracy must be truly accessible
  • D06 Disability Support Fund

Workshop 3

  • D08 Remove gender constraints on Leadership roles
  • C03 Fireworks: use and quiet

Plenaries: 5-7 Mar

Speeches

Friday 5 Mar @ 14:00 - 16:45

Kick off Conference by hearing from Jonathan and Sian (co-leaders), Amelia (deputy leader), Rosie and Lily (Young Greens), and Anthony Slaughter (Wales leader).

Opening Plenary

Friday 5 Mar @ 18:00 - 19:30

SOC report and fast-tracked motions.

Note: Conference must be confirmed to be quorate at all Plenaries, so it's important that all Conference attendees are present for these sessions.

Plenary: A Motions and (if time) C Motions

Saturday 6 Mar @ 10:00 - 13:00

There's a chance motions we support or believe to be counter to Green values will be voted on here.

Plenary: C Motions and (if time) Top D Motions

Saturday 6 Mar @ 14:45 - 18:00

It's very likely motions we support or believe to be counter to Green values will be voted on here.

LGBTIQA+ Greens Social & Quiz

Saturday 6 Mar @ 19:00 - 21:00

Join us for a nice, chilled social after a long day of debate and voting. Unwind with other LGBTIQA+ members and allies!

Plenary: D Motions and (if time) E Motions

Sunday 7 Mar @ 10:00 - 13:00

It's very likely motions we support or believe to be counter to Green values will be voted on here.

Workshop 2

Sunday 7 Mar @ 13:15 - 14:15

Discussing a motion we believe to be beneficial:

  • E08 Access to fertility treatment
  • E05 Recognise trans parents

Discussing motions we believe to be counter to Green values:

  • E15 To prevent irreversible damage to children with gender dysphoria

Closing Plenary: E Motions

Sunday 7 Mar @ 14:45 - 18:00

It's very likely motions we support or believe to be counter to Green values will be voted on here.

Our Position on Motions

Above we have described motions which we believe to be beneficial and also motions which we believe to be counter to Green values. Below we'll briefly explain why:

Beneficial

AO1: SOC

SOC ruled 3 motions out of order which aimed to define islamophobia, antisemitism, and Queerphobia. There may be plans to get these ruled back in order by challenging the SOC report at conference on Friday 5th. If this does happen, we’d encourage you to vote in favour of these three motions being ruled back in order because having clear internal definitions of hate crime will aid us in eradicating it from the party.

D05: Green party democracy must be truly accessible to all members

It is vital to ensure that all party members are able to engage meaningfully with party processes, and we believe that this motion would be an important first step towards recognising and addressing systemic problems within the party which cause the exclusion of many of our members. As such, we support this policy proposal.

D06: Disability support fund for internal and external elections

As with D05, we believe that this policy would be an important step towards improving accessibility within the party, and as such, we support this policy proposal.

D08: Remove the limit on women and gender non-conforming/non-binary people in leadership and deputy leadership positions

This motion would remove the binary standard that has historically been applied to our leadership positions, and would improve representation of a wide array of gender identities. As such, we support this policy proposal.

D09: Consultation and right of reply for liberation groups on proposed policy:

This motion would make emails like this unnecessary, by ensuring that liberation groups like LGBTIQA+ greens were directly involved in the process of writing policy which affects our membership. As such, we support this policy proposal.

E03: Self determination of gender

While we have heard some opposition to this motion, that opposition has almost always been related to ideas about how people access women’s spaces - we recognise, however, that the gender recognition act and possession of a gender recognition certificate has absolutely no legal impact on a person’s rights to access spaces such as toilets and changing rooms.

Trans people should not be subjected to unreasonable gatekeeping or delay when it comes to affirming their own identities. Without a gender recognition certificate, trans people lose control over their birth certificates, their death certificates, their funerals and their marriages. We believe that trans people should have the same rights as everybody else. As such, we support this policy proposal.

E05: Recognise trans parents

We believe that trans parents should be recognised on their children’s birth certificates as father or mother, as is appropriate for their gender. A birth certificate is not a record of strictly biological information, and birth certificates have long recognised adopted parents, or only one parent. As such, we can see no reason why trans parents ought to be misgendered on birth certificates. As such, we support this policy proposal.

E08: Access to fertility treatment

We believe that fertility treatment should be available for everybody, free of charge, on the NHS. We do not believe that arbitrary standards about whether a person is technically capable of conceiving should be used to justify denial of fertility treatment, as there are many people who are technically capable of conceiving, but for whom it is a practical impossibility without fertility treatment. As such, we support this policy proposal.

E12: Modern slavery and human trafficking

We believe that denying support to those who engage in unethical practices is a central pillar of green party philosophy, and we welcome this policy as a major improvement to our commitment to this ideal. As such, we support this policy proposal.

Counter to Green Values

C04: Ensuring that sex and gender are not conflated

Our concern is that this policy would mandate the misgendering and exclusion of trans women in all government-collected data which relates to women, with the likely unintended side effect of forcing the disclosure of birth sex of many trans people, irrespective of their personal wishes or safety.

We are further concerned that the forced categorisation of trans women as men in recorded data is likely to ‘bury’ important data needed to discern the inequalities that trans women face as a result of misogyny and sexism amongst a larger subset of data attributed to men. As such, we DO NOT support this policy proposal.

Amendment to C04

While we appreciate that this amendment is intended to improve the policy by expansion the scope of the policy to men and non-binary people, we do not believe that this amendment addresses our fundamental issues with the policy, and as such we DO NOT support this amendment.

D07: Antisemitism, Palestine and free speech:

This motion seeks to set the party’s position against a widely-accepted definition of antisemitism, which we are concerned is likely to further marginalise the Jewish community. As such, we DO NOT support this policy proposal.

Amendment to D09

This amendment would remove the requirement for consultation to be ‘adequate’, which we are concerned would turn any consultation in box-ticking exercise rather than a real effort to engage with party liberation groups. As such, we DO NOT support this amendment.

E01: Women’s sex-based rights

This motion suggests that women have ‘physically diminutive stature and strength’, and erroneously suggests that trans women universally have an unfair advantage in women’s sports, contrary to the advice of virtually every sporting organisation in the country. This motion also classified trans men as women, and refers to transgender women participating in women’s sports as men - misgendering trans people in party motions is constrary to party philosophy, and party policy. As such, we DO NOT support this policy proposal.

Amendment to E01

This amendment further reinforces the suggestion that trans women have a universally unfair advantage in women’s sports, contrary to the guidance of sporting experts, and the majority of sporting organisations in the country. As such, we DO NOT support this amendment.

Amendment to E03

This amendment proposes that the party support a change in law which simply describes the status quo, except with absolutely no ability for trans people to change a birth certificate. Far from being an improvement on the law, this policy would actually increase inequality for trans people, and we believe that this amendment would functionally nullify the original proposal entirely, and is not a well advised attempt to improve proposed policy. As such, we do not support this amendment.

E07: Reaffirm support for BDS and oppose a key IHRA example

As with D07, we are concerned that this policy rejects the IHRA definitions of antisemitism, and shares the same problems highlighted with policy D07. As such, we do not support this policy proposal.

Amendment to E08

This amendment would limit access to fertility treatment to those who cannot ‘for medical reasons’, which would exclude many lesbian couples from access to fertility treatment. As such, we DO NOT support this policy proposal.

E14: Free speech charter

Unrestricted free speech, while a nice idea on paper, leaves space for intolerance which directly contributes towards abuse and violence directed towards marginalised groups. As with D07 and E07, this motion seeks to reject support for the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Finally, this motion would remove our commitment towards zero tolerance for discrimination, potentially creating a scenario in which many of our party members face unacceptable abuse within the party. As such, we DO NOT support this policy proposal.

E15: To prevent irreversible damage to children with gender dysphoria:

This motion contains no firm commitment to any real change to existing policy, beyond an ill-defined reference to ‘prevent[ing] irreversible damage to children with gender dysphoria’. Without any further clarification, then, at best, this policy does nothing. At worst, it does nothing and embeds a transphobic dogwhistle, ‘irreversible damage’, a potential reference to “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters”. This publication by far-right commentator, Abigail Shrier, contains outright factual inaccuracies regarding provision and impacts of care for transgender children. We are concerned that the no-doubt unintentional inclusion of such a dogwhistle could unintentionally attract anti-trans groups towards the party, and bring the party into disrepute. As such, we DO NOT support this policy proposal.

Conference Jargon Buster

Conference can feel overwhelming, particularly for new members and first-timers. So here's a primer on some words or phrases you might hear thrown around, so you can stay in the know!

Acronyms

  • ERO: Electoral Returning Officer
  • GPEW: Green Party of England and Wales
  • GPEx: Green Party Executive
  • GPRC: Green Party Regional Council
  • PDC: Policy Development Committee. Policy Development Committee is responsible for facilitating the Party’s policy-making process and are elected in an annual ballot of all members.
  • SOC: Standing Orders Committee. SOC draws up the Agenda for Conference and advises on the rules of formal debate, they are elected annually at Conference. You will hear them referred to very often at Conference! SOC will be holding a virtual helpdesk between workshops and plenary times where you will be able to speak to them.

Motions

  • Motion: A formal policy suggestion, discussed, and voted on at Conference.
    • A Motions: Reports and Motions required by a previous Conference
    • B Motions: Policy voting papers
    • C Motions: Accredited policy motions
    • D Motions: Organisational motions
    • E Motions: Unaccredited policy motions
    • F Motions: Draft voting papers

Jargon

  • Attunement: Each plenary session starts with a one-minute period of attunement during which all activity stops. This is a time for calm reflection and helps set the tone for a respectful debate.
  • Plenary: Plenary sessions are the voting sessions where the formal business of Conference takes place. Items from the Agenda are discussed and voted on in these sessions. The first piece of formal business is always acceptance of the SOC report, as this determines the order of business.
  • Quorate: Having the necessary number of people present for decisions to be allowed to be made.
  • Voting: Any Party member may vote at Conference, so long as they have registered. Voting will be held on the main Conference platform, and a pop up window will appear when the chair announces the vote. The chair of the plenary session will guide you through how to vote and when as we progress through the debate.
  • Workshops: Before a paper or motion is considered in a plenary session, there is a workshop for discussions in small groups. If you have questions about the proposal, or wish to take part in the plenary debate, it is helpful if you attend the workshop, though it is not essential.

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