PRIDE AND POLITICS
Welcome to our latest newsletter!
I hope you're all keeping safe and well, and have been able to make the most of the sunshine we've had so far this summer, and more importantly managed to get outside and meet up with friends and family and feel a sense of normality again.
This is the first newsletter since our relaunch with a new team. We're wanting to bring you fresh content with even more articles on a whole range of topics, alongside some BTS from our wonderful patrons and supporters.
We've just launched a new section called 'Members Moments', which will feature articles from members talking about things that matter to them. We're always looking for new submissions, so if you'd like to write for us or submit something, please send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org, I can't wait to read it!
This month we have a number of great articles which I hope you'll enjoy. Many thanks to all who submitted and took the time to write. We also have information about some new members local Facebook groups which have launched, and some campaign days.
From surrogacy, to the Olympics, from campaigning, to meeting our newest patron Emma Best GLA, this newsletter has it all!
I hope you enjoy reading.
(P.S our conference programme is coming soon... and it's bigger than ever...)
Elena Rose Bunbury (she/her)
We are on the look out for a new secretary!
This role will be a heavily administrative role, with the opportunity to also work across other sectors such as fundraising, events and campaigns should you wish.
- Editor of the monthly newsletter
- Recruitment or content and articles for the newsletter and website
- Maintenance of the Bluetree website as and when needed
- Organisation and administration of membership communication via Mailchimp, such as event invitations and updates
- Taking of minutes at full council, senior management and AGM meetings and then circulating as appropriate
How to apply:
The deadline for submissions is the 9th of September 2021 23:59.
Any questions, please email email@example.com.
More information at the link below.
SURROGACY: A RIGHT TO FAMILY LIFE
By Aaron Boasman-Patel
When I was 17 I wrote my brother a deeply personal letter and came out as gay. My brother and I often discuss this and the one thing that stands out to him was my great distress at the fact that I couldn’t get married and have a family of my own.
Thankfully, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 was passed which gave sex-sex couples the ability to register a civil partnership which nearly had the same legal effects, rights and obligations as marriage does for mixed-sex couples. Ten years later, equality was finally achieved with the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 which saw the first same-sex marriages take place on 29th March 2014.
I was lucky enough to meet my husband and get married in 2017 and like with most married couples, the next natural step for us is to expand our family and have children of our own.
The route we have chosen is surrogacy, yet in the UK there is lack of laws and protections for both surrogates who carry as well as for intended parents. Whilst surrogacy is legal in the UK it cannot be enforced by the law and also surrogates cannot be paid for their services. This quite frankly means it is a legal minefield and has caused for my husband and I to look abroad at countries where surrogacy is legal and we, as well as the surrogates, have legal protections.
This not only affects the LGBT+ community but also mixed-sex couples which for medical reasons are unable to have children of their own. It is estimated that there are over 500 children per year born through surrogacy to UK parents yet we do not have proper legislation passed to make this safe, secure and ethical. We would certainly prefer to have a baby born in the UK as opposed to using a clinic on the other side of the world, but with the legal insecurities it was not an option for us.
This is a really important topic which is often overlooked by politicians and parliament. Legislation needs to be brought in to give everybody the right to have a family of their own, within a safe and secure legal framework.
DIVING FOR DIVERSITY
By Rhys McKavanagh
It was the third day of the Olympics which saw Tom Daley and Matty Lee make a big splash, albeit, not literally. Britain tensely tuned in to see if Tom and Matty could bring home a Gold Medal. The diving event itself was a very close event, with Britain very closely trailing the reigning Chinese champions for most of the competition. On their antepenultimate dive, we saw the Chinese team empty the pool with their sloppy entrance. This was enough to edge the British team into first place, a place that they maintained for the rest of the event, resulting in a gold medal. It will serve as an incredibly memorable and historical final dive for many years to come.
Tom Daley and Matty Lee took to the podium for the British national anthem and the moment that Tom had been training for since 2008 in Beijing had finally arrived. His Gold Medal win.
Following this, Tom spoke in a press conference about the impact he hoped his win would have on the community: “I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone. You can achieve anything… There is a whole lot of your chosen family out here ready to support you. I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion."
In years past sport entailed athletes remaining closeted. Coming out was a brave act that could cost you sponsors. If LGBT+ issues were mentioned in sport at all, it was negative slurs between newscasters debating the threat an LGBT+ player would have to the team’s camaraderie. With concerns it would leave players feeling uncomfortable around each other in the locker room.
We’ve come an incredibly long way from this hurtful past. From Tennis champion and legend Billie Jean King coming out as gay in 1981, losing all her endorsements and causing a press storm. Fast forwarding to 2021, where Tom Daley can say, without much fuss: “I’m proud to be a gay man and an Olympic champion”.
However, we must not lose sight of how immensely things have changed. As an addendum, it should be noted that Tom Daley’s Gold Medal is in a sport where athletes are scored on their ability to synchronise with their teammate, where teamwork is a crucial and the most important factor. Hopefully, following this incredible performance, we can now n put to bed all antiquated arguments about team cohesion and locker rooms, and celebrate this immense 10m Platform Synchronised Diving Gold Medal.
This week, our Vice-Chair Outreach, Pierre, wrote to government ministers on behalf of the council to seek reassurances that the UK government is doing all it can to ensure that LGBT+ Afghans are given a safe passage out of the country. Read the full letter here and at the link below.
COUNCIL MEMBER OF THE MONTH
"Ross has worked really hard this month organising and coordinating our pride efforts. On top of this he has continually reached out to other members of the council offering support and help where needed. Alongside this work, he has assisted with the planning and organisation of our upcoming conference programme. We couldn't work the way we do without him. Well done Dr. Ross!"
SAVE THE DATES
CAMPAIGNING DAY OUT
With Elliot Colburn MP
Save the date for our first Big Day Out campaigning with Elliot Colburn MP
When: Saturday 25 September 2021 at 11am
Where: 90 High Street, Carshalton, SM5 3AE
Join us for refreshments afterwards!
SAVE THE DATE
Mark your diaries and block out October the 27th 2021 for an evening of celebration, pride and politics as we return with an in-person gathering for our first post-election fundraiser for the LGBT+ Conservatives Candidates Fund!
More details to come..
BTS WITH THE 'BEST'
An interview with Emma Best AM
How did you feel when you found out you were elected to the GLA?
It was a bit mad really; I never expected it. It was midnight on the Saturday after the election the previous Thursday and everyone in my house was asleep whilst I tracked the result. I was shocked but delighted so just had a little dance, bevvy on my own, and some rather bubbly phone calls with other activists while trying not to wake anyone up.
What have you been up to in your first few months?
It’s been a rollercoaster, but a bit of everything. Lots of questions to the Mayor and Deputy Mayors, I brought forward a motion on better children & young people’s services and have been meeting lots of charity and third-sector groups to see how I can best support them. I’m the group’s spokesperson for health so have been doing a lot in that area with some exciting bits in the pipeline.
What do you like to get up to in your spare time outside of politics?
Time with family, playing or coaching football and playing PlayStation whenever I can - hopefully there will be room for a bit more socialising now too. Like most of us my spare time has changed massively over the last 18 months or so!
Why is it important to have LGBT+ people in elected positions?
We bring a unique perspective of what it’s like to live in a heteronormative and gender binary world. It’s often not the big or obvious policy changes we can most affect when elected (as most people can see and understand clear inequality) but I find it’s the nuanced observations of smaller day-to-day life where we can better inform policy that may unintentionally exclude people. It is also of course important to normalise seeing different identities through mainstream politics which it’s why it’s sad we are still bereft of a trans or non-binary MP.
What is your top 3 policy wish list for the LGBT+ community?
My ultimate policy wish would be that there wasn’t a country in the world where you couldn’t live happily as yourself without threat of social ostracisation, prison or death. Domestically, I’d like to see policy which enabled better access to healthcare for the trans community and better (and consistent) policy around NHS fertility treatment for same-sex couples.
What tips do you have for other LGBT+ people wanting to stand for election?
Firstly, reach out to the LGBT+ Conservatives! Not only will you benefit from a number of knowledge-building workshops but you’ll also feel the support of a strong community on your journey. Secondly, on a practical level make sure you are helping out your local and neighbouring associations as much as possible, make friends and make time for people.
What message do you wish you could have given to your younger self?
I honestly wouldn’t for two reasons - a) my younger self would not listen to a word I or anyone else said and b), I wouldn’t want to change anything that led me to this point in life. Every bad choice, difficult time, or negative mentality probably was part of the journey. You have to feel the rain to appreciate the sun and all that!
Finally.. what is your favourite biscuit?
A sugar-free Maryland cookie. They are accidentally vegan and as they are sugar-free it means it’s the same as eating air and you can eat a whole pack at a time!
Ed Pitt Ford - Candidate for Pimlico North
Ed is running in the elections on 5th May 2022 for Westminster City Council. Ed has had a varied career focussing on the environment and finance. He worked for four years at Tesco, gaining international experience with a secondment to their Indian office in Bangalore. In 2012 he won a scholarship to London Business School where he studied for and was awarded an MBA. Ed then climbed the ranks to become a Senior Investment Manager at Octopus Investments, focussing on solar power plants, before setting up his own office in 2019.
Having headed up the department Diversity and Inclusion working group at Octopus, Ed has experience in helping drive the changes required to promote a fairer and more inclusive society. He is well aware of the challenges that we face: “I live in one of the most accepting cities in the world yet my friends and I have still been on the receiving end of homophobic abuse, this is not acceptable and we must do all that we can to stamp out discrimination and intolerance”.
Ed entered politics because he could see opportunities for this country being missed from more efficient energy use, a faster improvement in air quality to a financial sector that better supports high growth businesses he wants to push for a cleaner, greener and wealthier country.
Ed moved to Pimlico in 2009 and is excited about being a strong advocate for local people. Demographic change is making Conservative-controlled Westminster City Council increasingly marginal. If just 923 people had voted differently in 2018, then this flagship council, with the lowest council tax in the country, would now be Labour-led. To make sure that Conservatives maintain control, Ed will be out campaigning every week.
If you would like to get involved in supporting his campaign please get in touch with the Cities of Westminster and London Conservative Association by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow the campaign on Instagram @edpittford @pimlicomatters.
Want to be featured in the next spotlight? Drop us an email about yourself to email@example.com with the subject 'CANDIDATE SPOTLIGHT'.
We want to profile more of our amazing elected members. If you're a councillor and a member of LGBT+ Conservatives, we could feature you! Drop us an email with some information about yourself, your journey as an elected LGBT+ person and your work to help the community and we could be profiling you!
Drop us an email around 250 words, to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject 'COUNCILLOR SPOTLIGHT' and include a photo of yourself.
HERE TO HELP
Can you help us campaign for local LGBT+ Conservatives? Let us know here: https://forms.gle/SywUfmh1umsiVfBH7 and we can help match you up!
Is there an LGBT+ Conservative candidate in your area we can help? Or you a candidate looking for help campaigning?
Let us know here: https://forms.gle/67cfEpZbaUd3oaTf7
KEEP IN TOUCH
REGIONAL FACEBOOK GROUPS
Join Your Region!
Your regional co-ordinators have been setting up local groups that will be used to organise local meet ups, discussions and even just general chat.
North West, Rhys McKavanagh https://www.facebook.com/groups/816368052401162
Yorkshire and The Humber, Joe Pattinson https://www.facebook.com/groups/2643493459291460
East Midlands, Tom Hulme https://www.facebook.com/groups/1976771362479200
North East, Barry Flux https://www.facebook.com/groups/1560930810659130/?ref=share
London, Niall McDougall - https://www.facebook.com/groups/lgbtconslondon/
Scotland, Andrew Jarvie- https://www.facebook.com/LGBT-Conservatives-Scotland-105687351823720
South West, Simon Davies https://www.facebook.com/groups/290284349553138/?ref=share
South East, Andrew Buchanan - https://www.facebook.com/LGBTSEConservatives
Keep an eye out, we have even more regions to come!
Want to be more involved?
Do you have social media skills, or experience working in policy?
We want to hear from you!
We have launched LGBT+ Conservatives Volunteers group, this is a facebook group in which we will post opportunities to help out. Tasks such as help securing speakers for events, participating in policy focus groups, social media projects, and more will all be posted in the group on an adhoc basis.
If this sounds good to you then you can join the group here - https://www.facebook.com/groups/195140478740212.
Any paid-up LGBT+ Conservative member is welcome to join the group, then it’s up to you to put yourself forward for whatever projects you think suit you. There will be no pressure to give a certain amount of time or help on specific projects, it’ll be entirely up to you what you want to get involved with.
We look forward to working with you!
IN THE BAG
There is no better campaigning assistant that this excellent Drawstring Bag - e.g. Delivery Bag!
Be sure to order yours here in time for our Big Day Out!
(proceeds go to supporting LGBT+ candidates)
Do you have a mentor? If so, you will know mentorship is a great way to make better progress towards your career goals.
LGBT+ Leaders is a network of people within our Party that are committed to nurturing future talent all whilst being understanding of the barriers LGBT+ people face in politics. Lots of MPs are already signed up, but all roles are represented from Association officers to Lords. The best part is, as an LGBT+ Conservative member, it is completely FREE.
Why not check out the platform and sign up at: https://www.pushfar.com/employee-register/LbVpgiCEL9/