As many in the LGBT+ community are aware, the UK government is planning to hold a major international conference in 2022 on the theme #SafeToBeMe. The aim of this conference, loudly fanfared by present Equalities Minister, Liz Truss is to showcase the UK’s record on LGBT+ inclusion.
Forgive us a hollow laugh. This is from a government that has proclaimed a new and revolutionary policy on diversity and inclusion – that the focus needs to be on left-behind young white working class males. It is from a government that has delayed and delayed on banning conversion therapy.
It is the same government that ignored massive and justified demands for some improvement to the admin of the Gender Recognition process (quite separate from any ask for self-declaration). And it is a government whose place in terms of LGBT+ diversity in Europe, as recognised by ILGA, has slipped from the very top to tenth in just three short years (and is set to fall still further in 2022).
Some might consider holding such a conference mis-placed. Others will see it as the ultimate in arrogant ignorance.
There is much pressure within the trans community to mark the holding of this conference with protest and counter-events, and we agree that some form of protest is more than justified. However, we are also aware that there is much we do not yet know about this conference. Not least, when and where: as well as who will be likely to attend.
TransActual are committed to playing a major part in helping to support and co-ordinate our communities’ condemnation of the “Safe to be me” conference, and to that end have been holding talks with a wide range of groups across the LGBT+ spectrum. Not just the trans community: because the last thing we need now is for government to use mis-firing protests on this event to divide the T from the LGB. And worldwide, because of the global ambition for this conference.
As these discussions start to bear fruit, we will post updates here and elsewhere on our social media. For now, though, we ask people to spend some time in reflection. Because while this government may not be very good at delivering on diversity, it is very good at spinning against any critics.
If you have plans on this front, we’d love to hear about them. And if you would like to join our own people already working on this, why not email us on email@example.com and we will be more than happy to have you aboard.
Remember: not everything needs to be protest. The UK government is – helpfully – putting the “safety” of LGBTQ+ people front and centre of 2022. DO you feel safe? Are there aspects of law enforcement, mental health services, public attitudes or anything else that you feel we ought to do better? Perhaps you feel you could organise a dance, an exhibition, a piece of research to draw the world’s focus on just how safe – or otherwise you feel.
As the year unfolds, we will be putting up links to events on this page. Please let us know. Same email as above!
Statements from our partners
27-29 June 2022 – Safe To be Me: A Global Equality Conference, the official UK sponsored event