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A letter of support to our members...


1st April 2020

 

 Dear Members

 

We recognise that Covid-19 presents many challenges to our members.

 

We appreciate that LGBTQI+ and Trans communities who are often already isolated or marginalised may feel more vulnerable following recent Public Health guidelines about self isolation and during lockdown. We are also aware that many social media reports about an increase in domestic violence and hate crime, may also be particularly concerning to our members.

 

The LGBT+ Fed cares about its members, we do not exist without you, and we want you to know how much we value your health and wellbeing. Our pledge at this time of national crisis is to work toward finding creative ways to connect and support you all. We will be sending out more regular bulletins via Facebook and email to all of our members and will be sharing online resources that may be helpful.

 

Stonewall have created a list of excellent resources to support LGBQI+ and Trans communities at this time with links and advice on everything from Mutual Aid resourcing to Trans-specific healthcare. The link is here:

https://www.stonewall.org.uk/about-us/news/covid-19-%E2%80%93-how-lgbt-inclusive-organisations-can-help

 

We would also like to reassure all of our members who are asylum seekers or have no recourse to public funds, that the government has pledged to offer free health care to all in relation to Covid-19, no matter people's immigration status. 

 

If you have any queries please do get in touch with us at our new email address:

lgbt.info@gmail.com

 

We will be in touch soon but in the meantime, we would like to stress that we are stronger together, we send our best wishes to each and every one of you.

 

In respect and solidarity

 

The North East LGBT+ Fed Board

 

 

March 1st 2020


Safe from Hate? The LGBT+ Fed Advisory Board Speak Out


Participants in our Police and Crime Commissioner funded Safe from Hate, Hatecrime project Advisory Board have been meeting to discuss consultations about LGBT+ Hate Crime and ways that we can ensure that LGBT+ voices are central to the discussion and future policy making. The Advisory Board has consulted with members of their diverse communities and have been sharing the ways that intersecting parts of their identity can often fuel further discrimination and that this can be overlooked. Their comments (below) are a hard hitting commentary on the ways that LGBT+ people experience multiple forms of oppression just in their every day lives. The Advisory Group will be meeting once more before the work they've been doing along with wider participants will be used in a messaging campaign and to inform the LGBT Fed's specialist Hatecrime Awareness and LGBT+ Allies Training.


The comments below are an insight into some of the many complex forms of both obvious and hidden abuse that some LGBT+ people face on a daily basis:


Victims may have to expose a hidden disability or condition when reporting, and so are re-victimised.

 

Mispronouning happens to me all the time, especially in certain places – the airport and some NHS departments are among the worst.

 

The word “tranny” being used, by service staff, whether or not the victim is transgender.

 

I avoid using the Metro when possible as there are no guards on board and CCTV does not capture verbal abuse.  If going Newcastle to Sunderland I take the train where there are guards.

 

Charities and organisations can find it easier to dismiss an LGBT person as troublemakers for speaking up when staff are misogynistic rather than deal with the behaviour.

 

Haters will hate no matter how you educate or prosecute the person who hates minorities




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19th February 2020


We've added more sessions to our #Visible Project sessions! Our allies and supporters from the Angelou Centre have kindly given us additional resources to extend our sessions from February and activities before our exhibition. For all those that have made queries to participate in the project in January, we will be able to sign you up for the next set of sessions. So please get in touch soon, we are able to support your travel and there will be refreshments: lgbtfed.info@gmail.com

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LGBT+ History Month: Prison Workshops

The LGBT+ Fed has been working and delivering workshops to inmates of a high security prison in the north east, supporting LGBT+ and Trans communities who face many challenges in a prison environment. The workshops have been delivered to over 20 prisoners over the past year, with our experienced facilitators supporting the group to develop their own sense of identity as a community to support themselves and other prisoners. Following themed workshops after consultations with the inmates themselves, the Fed delivered a session to support and celebrate LGBT+ history month in which prisoners discussed their feelings of pride in their identity talking about their experiences of LGBT celebration activities and times that they have connected with their own and other communities. 

The sessions have fostered a better understanding of the LGBT prison community's needs with prisonguards and other workers inside the prison, and the Fed has learnt a lot from the session participants and feel incredibly privileged to have heard their stories and testimonies about their lives and identities as LGBT+ , Trans and Non-Binary people.
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13th January
#Visible Be Proud to be YOU!

We have new sessions up and running for the Visible project funded by the LGBT+ Consortium, due to additional suport from the wonderful Sangini arts organisation and Maakan Arts Studio we hope to extend the project with additional arts/textiles sessions and a mini-exhibition and event to celebrate our activities in March! The project highlights and gives visibility to our members who are seeking asylum, may have no recourse to public funds or face destitution and other forms of discrimination. All of our members are equally important to us and we want to make sure that diversity remains the heartbeat of the organisation. Information will be distributed to our members seeking asylum but do get in touch with us if you would like to find out more. This is a led by and for group, but we are running advisory board sessions that are open to members who would like to volunteer: lgbtfed.info@gmail.com


Happy New Year from The NE LGBT+ Fed! 

 

Happy New Year - 2020- to all our members! A reminder that we have opportunities to participate in our #Visible Project and Hate Crime advisory board. We are runnning additional sessions for both projects so please get in touch. Don't forget that we have a new email, so please contact us at:

lgbtfed.info@gmail.com

 

Many Thanks to all our members who came along to the LGBT+ Fed AGM 17th December 2019.

A big thank you to all the members who made it along to our AGM kindly hosted by solicitors Irwin Mitchell. It was such a great opportunity to talk to our members, discuss the purpose of the Fed and review the past year and all the changes it has brought. We had representatives from both the Consortium #Visible project, our PCC Funded Hatecrime Project as well as our LGBT Prisoner Workshop facilitators, who have been working regularly with a group of LGBT+ and Trans prisoners in a high security prison. We discussed and workshopped ideas about solidarity, unity and mutual aid/support in these fragmented times. We all agreed we have so 

At the AGM we also reviewed our updated aims and objectives and revealed our new logo and wonderful new banners and promo. We also went through our annual review and accounts. 2020 will be bringing many challenges and we hope that we can support members and related local and regional LGBT+ activities over the forthcoming year.

So we'd like to say a huge thank you to our members we would be nothing without you, and we hope you all manage to have some festive activities or peace over Xmas. We know this time of year can be stressful for many LGBT+ folks, but we will be back in the new year (2020!) with more opportunities to participate in some additional #Visible sessions we will be running and plans for an exciting exhibition- as well as our new Hatecrime and Fed Advisory Board. 


25th November 2019: AGM & Reflections on 2019

 

We are pleased to announce our LGBT+ Fed Annual General Meeting Tuesday 17th December 2019. Notice and a link to book a place: 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-lgbt-fed-agm-tickets-85745181145

 

At our AGM we will be celebrating the last year of the Fed. There has been a lot of transition over the last year we have welcomed new Board Members, funded new exciting projects and reviewed the Fed's structures and activities. 

 

Our wonderful mentor, founder and former chair of The Fed Louise Evan Wong stepped down this year, although we are sad we also wish her the best with her new adventures ahead. She has been pivotal in driving The Fed and bringing new and exciting projects as well as funding to ensure members had activities and The Fed remained a voice for LGBT+ people.

 

Over the last year we have reviewed our structures, policies and protocols, updated safeguarding protocols in relation to our more vulnerable members and been successful in funding for two key projects that are of concern to our members; HateCrime and support of our members who are seeking asylum. We have also rebranded, and have  a new training package and offer in place for 2020. Alongside this we have continued to represent strategically and at key events such as Regional Pride events and other community based events. 

 

As a voluntary run organisation without an office or paid staff, we are very proud of  our achievements. 

 We would also like to thank all of our members and supporters who have kept us going and given us support, resources and their precious time. A special thanks to Frontrunners, Gasbags and the Angelou Centre for their generosity.

 

As we go forward into 2020, with a new website in progress and some new activities being planned-we would like to encourage members, friends and allies from the LGBT+ community to join us - we will be advertising Board opportunities and further opportunities to get involved with our new Advisory Board as well as upcoming events. 

 

If we don't see you at our AGM we wish you all the best over the Xmas and New Year period, this can be a difficult time for many of our LGBT+ members but know that we are thinking of you and your chosen family and wishing you all the best- we look forward to seeing you in 2020!

 

 

 

 

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11th November 2019


A BIG THANK YOU, to all who came out to our wonderful Glitterball event, much fun was had and we were fabulously entertained by Stevie Wonderful and DJ Awkward Black Girl, we launched our HateCrime and migrant voices project and danced into the night! We are now planning for our AGM and do hope you can join us.  Details to follow soon.

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Prepping Our Safe From Hate Project table at Victims First in Newcastle & a Slide from our Hate Crime Awareness Presentation


One of our fabulous Trainers and LGBT+ Educators, Russell Dickinson-Deane has been out and about raising awareness of LGBT+ Hate Crime and educating our local statutory and voluntary services as well as wider communities about this escalating issue.  At a recent Victims First event, with a focus on Hate Crime during Hate Crime Week, we amplified the voices of our members and gave a presentation to police, the voluntary sector and victim's services who are often dealing with any hate crime reports from our communities. We believe it is crucial forLGBT+ people to have the right to a LGBT+ peer or worker -womeone who fully understands what they're needs are. Unfortunately in the North East we have very few LGBT+ services led by and for our communities, which has an impact on our often discriminated against communities. Asides from the educating and networking, we plan to run a campaign and put together an advisory group of lived expertise  to influence and inform decision makers about the needs of our diverse communities. 


If you would like to get involved with the Safe from Hate Campaign, or join our expert by experience advisory board please email: mail@lgbtfed.com


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Being you is not a crime.  Attacking you for being you is.  


With a 27% rise in reported hate crime based on sexual orientation in 2017/18 compared to the prior year*, this is an area of concern to the police. 12% of all hate crime in that year was motivated by sexual orientation, and 2% was transgender hate crime.  Victims in the north east often come to Victims First Northumbria, who provide practical and emotional support through a group of Co-ordinators.  On Friday October 4th the Co-ordinators received a morning of training in how best to respond when supporting victims of hate crime.  PC Tor Metcalfe of Northumbria Police gave a powerful introductory presentation on types of hate crime and their impact, and this was followed by specific sessions on the different types.  The LGBT+ Fed presented on LGBT Hate Crime, including the barriers to reporting these crimes and how best to support the victims.  Key elements were use of appropriate language, and being sensitive to the fact that the victim may not publicly be “out” - thus nervous that reporting will reveal their sexual identity to their community. 


 

Following the formal session, the Victims First Co-ordinators were able to talk one-to-one with the Fed and get further supporting materials to help them in their valuable work.  Russell Dickinson-Deane, representing the Fed at this event, commented, “I was impressed by the level of knowledge the Co-ordinators already possessed, and their keenness to learn more so that they can better support people in need”.



More information on the work of Victims First can be found at https://victimsfirstnorthumbria.org.uk.


 

* Source: HM Government Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2017/18, Statistical bulletin 20/18


SAFE FROM HATE: Delivering LGBT+ Hatecrime Awareness Raising Sessions in the North East During Hate Crime Week


14th October 2019 

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1st September 2019 


So excited to announce our new small funding streams from the LGBT Consortium and Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner! 


The Northumbria  PCC grant will fund our work raising awareness of Hate Crime and making sure that LGBTQIA+ people's concerns about hate cime are listened to. As the rise in Hate Crime against our communities and in our region escalates, we need to ensure that LGBTQIA+ people are not only protected but feel safe and confident in reporting these crimes. We also want to skill up the people that deal with Hate Crime against our communities have an understanding informed by our membership. 


Our other project (funded by the LGBT Consortium) is to support a 'led by and for' Asylum and Refugee group to ensure that all our members of our community are empowered and able to collectively meet and develop ideas. Many members of our community, due to uncertain immigration status or due to circumstances such as abuse or threats in their country of origin, have little or no access to funding and are destitute. This project ensures that our members who face these challenges are better able to access spaces to meet, collectivise and contribute to their communities.


We want to ensure the LGBT Fed is led by and for ALL of our members, and over the next year we will be focusing on underrepresented groups in our membership particularly those with disability, those who present outside of imposed gender norms, or face discrimination as black and minoritised people. 


At the LGBT Fed we are very proud of our diverse membership and the attention we pay to representation within the Fed but we hope, with our members help, to fulfill our rainbow ambition even more effectively.


More project information to follow about how you can volunteer or get involved in these projects. Any queries please mail us:

mail@lgbtfed.com



Flagging it up!

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25th April 2018

Flagging it up!

 

This week artist Azin reminded us of some salient points to consider to firm up our ideas and main message on our flags. We agreed that our messages should be simple, clear and bold (a bit more work needed here I think). We discussed the shapes and sizes of our flags as well as the colours and lettering. Azin provided some drawings to work out logistics such as size and layout.

 

We practiced our designs and tested out a few colours of non-washable fabric paints on samples of our pre-washed calico. We discussed durability and also eco-friendliness of materials used. 

 

Of course it's all a work in progress but some of the concepts being conceived are very exciting! One participant wanted to represent different cultures/ ethnicities using words in different languages such a 'khubam', a farsi word meaning well-being. How apt for our workshop gathering which sparked creativity and conversation. Lou decided on the rallying call 'LGBT the Fed One Strong Voice' whilst the slogan 'No Fear, I'm Here' evoked yet a different narrative amongst messages of unity and togetherness. A friend once said to me that in the LGBT community we can sometimes find, as in the self-named book by Amistead Maupin our "logical family' in our quest to claim our own lives. 

A shared creative space 


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2nd May 2018

The flags are coming into fruition. Upon entering the workshop all hands were on the go 'creativity at work!' 

The stories highlighted in the flags are developing through drawing, painting and lettering. One of the participants talked about the  discriminatory situation in her country for LGBT people. It makes life difficult and unfair.  The session gives us an opportunity to share whilst creating. 

Artis Azin continued supporting participants in terms of developing the right graphics and dimensions for flags. We started cutting out the size of the flags we wanted from the calico. It is it is not as easy as it looks bit we' re having a lot of fun. 


Some quotes from artist and participants:
"I thought it would be a bit more difficult but Azin's teaching instructions has helped". Lou

"Lots of energy in the room". Azin 

"I like the international aspect of the people on the project". Lou

"I enjoy the company and I'm feeling good vibes". Al

"I feel serenity". Dee

LIVE WELL PROJECT

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9th May 2018

Poem written by one of our participants Dee

The poem is about loss and the continuation of her life. This powerfull poem was written and performed by Dee at our session this week.  Everyone listened intently. It shares her experience of a personal and painfull loss.  


'Like a tree root, breaking new ground

Deep within the soil; undeterred

Drilling further down new soil, parting earth

Tirelessly pushing through until it reaches

A soft place where it can suck up, feed the trunk

Nourish the leaves and tickle the buds for a spring bloom. 

 

That is alright; bruised ends, chipped bark and all

Yet it produces a fresh head of flowers for an awaiting spring

We all touch n’ feel and smell and sneeze too from time to time

Oh, but it is the joys and allergies too lol

A symbol of love and gratitude; a bundle of flowers

We pick a bundle for loved ones unfamiliar to us

The pain in the root, the beauty of it’s determination. 

 

With the same determination comes a crack from a breaking mirror

How it travels uncontrollably

I bring you also reflections from a broken mirror

Oh, how a small tap brought out cracks from every angle 

Breaking down into smithereens.

Leaving behind small shattered glasses

No tape nor glue can hold, nor the most patient being can put back together

Definitely, not much of the mended mirror is good enough to be used

Through the cracks and glue that holds it together, I can hardly see my reflection. 

 

Disposing a broken mirror from where I stand

On a pile of emotions

Of the memories the mirror and I shared;

My nakedness, my imperfections, my brokenness

Could I really throw it away in its broken state and not feel I lost a part of me?

Reality check! It is broken and it’s broken pieces can easily cut me

I cannot see my reflection in this mirror. 

 

Like a ritual, I close my eyes and easily let go of my old mirror

Careful it does not prick me for the last time.

Taking a last glance at it’s old beautiful frame

And though crafted with such art, we cannot be together. 

Broken things break things in this the same way

Hurt people will hurt people.

My broken mirror will cut me, so I lower it down the bin

Not because I don’t care anymore

But we just don’t belong together. 

 

So here I am now, saved up, mirror shopping

I finally got enough for a new mirror

From where I stand, a showroom of mirrors,

Big, small, thin, beautiful frames

Well some, not so beautiful

 But the image is so good I could forget about the colour of the frame

You know we could make a team and make the best of the situation. 

 

Isn’t it funny how

The memories of the broken mirror suddenly begins to play. 

 Should I choose a similar one, will it not break the same way?

Somehow the fears of the unknown, the past, creep up

When the chance arises to move on from broken memories. 

 If not careful,

It will take us back to holding on to broken memories. 

 

From here, where I stand I see an image of me, complete!! 

This mirror presents me a chance to see myself anew.

A chance to be complete again.

From where I stand, in front of this mirror

That reflects me with good hope to make fresh memories

I am left thinking, won’t it break again and prick me?

 

From where I stand, 

 I have a choice to be a root breaking new ground

To take home a new mirror and turn it’s frame into something I really want or

To stand here, reflecting on the broken mirror.'

 

DAME VERA BAIRD WITH THE FED'S HATE CRIME ADVOCATES

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28th March 2018

In praise of The Fed’s Hate Crime Advocates 


A special thanks to Vera Baird, QC Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner for her positive stance and acknowledgement to The Fed and its resilient group of hate crime advocates tonight. One of The Fed’s Directors, Louise Evan-Wong has echoed Vera Baird's acknowledgement of the positive 6 year partnership both organisations have shared working together to tackle hate crime in the North East.

Hate crime advocates are trained volunteers of the Fed and play a multi-faceted and invaluable role in supporting victims & those who have experienced hate crime. As Vera Baird explained "these hate crime advocates are an important link to advocating and reporting to the police as well”. 


Anyone can experience a hate crime but it is usually the most vulnerable people who are discriminated against and/or abused and physically harmed just for being who they are! Hate crime can affect people psychologically as well.

 

An LGBT hate crime is any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity.


The Fed wishes to thank Vera Baird & Awards 4 All and all those hate crime advocates out there who attended last night and whose hard work, perseverance & dedication aspires to improve our communities and to achieve a sense of reassurance & safety.