Lesbian Labour’s Paula Boulton speaks at Labour Women’s Declaration Fringe Event

This Monday evening (26th Sept) our own Paula Boulton delivered a speech (pictured far right ) on behalf of Labour Lesbians at the Labour Women’s Declaration conference fringe event titled:

“What do women need from the Labour manifesto?”

She spoke alongside Dame Diana Johnson MP, Cllr Nina Killen, Cllr Emina Ibrahim, Judith Green, Karen Ingala Smith and writer Joan Smith in a night that covered a wide range of issues affecting women. Here is Paula preparing her speech the day before.

You can view a pdf copy of her speech HERE and watch her deliver the speech on our youtube channel HERE

The Lesbian Canaries – Whatever You Are!

Canaries were iconically used in coal mines to detect the presence of deadly carbon monoxide. The bird’s rapid breathing rate, small size, and high metabolism, compared to the miners, led birds in dangerous mines to succumb before the miners, thereby giving the miners time to take action.

Lesbians are the canaries in the coal mine.

Lesbians were removed from Pride Cymru in Cardiff this August bank holiday.

Shock, horror, outrage! Over 3 million people watched the video on twitter as Get The L Out activist Angela Wild clarified the police response.

But to many of us this was no surprise. This is our “normal”.

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LGB Alliance Cymru write to the Counsel General and Minister for Health

The LGB Alliance Cymru today wrote to the Welsh Counsel General and Minister for Health regarding Gender Identity Services in Wales and their impact on same-sex attracted young people.

This comes after the law firm Pogust Godhead announced today its intent to pursue group legal action against the Tavistock and Portman NHS foundation trust, and their gender identity services clinic. Dr Hilary Cass recently wrote the the NHS, stating

A fundamentally different service model is needed which is more in line with other paediatric provision, to provide timely and appropriate care for children and young people needing support around their gender identity. This must include support for any other clinical presentations that they may have.

This comes as the Tavistock’s gender identity clinic announces its closure as of early next year. In light of these developments LGB Alliance Cymru urges the Welsh government to reassess its stance on gender affirmation. We at Lesbian Labour support the LGB Alliance Cymru and welcome this update from the Cass Review.

You can read the LGB Alliance Cymru’s letter to the Welsh government here

Proud Lesbians: Lesbian Labour gives Lesbians a voice for pride 2022

This summer for Pride month, Lesbian Labour wanted to do something for Lesbians. We are often frustrated by the lack of Lesbian voices during Pride month and beyond, and rather than relying on the narrative that Stonewall and Pride events present, we wanted to talk to a wide variety of  lesbians on the ground. Our own Paula Boulton had the idea to start a ‘Proud Lesbian’ series. Here at Lesbian Labour we’re all proud of being Lesbians, so Paula thought we should interview other proud Lesbians. She was curious to find out – what’s happening in Lesbian lives? Are Stonewall law policies surrounding gender affecting Lesbian lives or not? As Paula says, “How seldom do we hear lesbian voices, how seldom do we read lesbian voices represented in the media? real stories of lesbian lives”.

So Paula set out to find out the answers to these questions and put out some feelers. What none of us were prepared for was the response from Lesbians worldwide wishing to talk about their stories and have their voices heard. Lots of Lesbians contacted us wishing to take part in the project. It’s now a very eclectic mix of Lesbians spanning different ages, religion, politics, jobs and life experiences – as detailed in the linked promo video below.

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CALL TO ACTION – Support LGBT refugees in the Kakuma Refugee camp, Kenya

We ask our supporters and members to petition the UNHCR to release LGB+T refugees in Kenya at risk of being killed, by allowing them to leave the camp where they are being violently attacked. They lack basic shelter, food and facilities and our lesbian sisters in particular are at risk of sexual abuse. More information about their plight can be found here and more ways to support the Kakuma refugees can be found here

Simply copy and paste the text below into a blank email and send to the following email addresses. Please ACT NOW and let the UN refugee agency know that more must be done to help.

Kenya
englbrec@unhcr.org
alish@unhcr.org
kenna@unhcr.org
Kakuma
UNHCR Protection office in Kakuma:
KENKA@unhcr.org
kenkaprt@unhcr.org
Geneva

swibe@unhcr.org
cansizog@unhcr.org
CC: Tayyar Sukru Cansizoglu (Head of Sub Office Kakuma)

Email text:

Dear UNHCR,
We demand that you IMMEDIATELY ensure that movement passes are issued for all LGBT refugees to leave Kakuma Camp.
We demand that you give your protection for all LGBT refugees to transit safely from Kakuma Camp to Nairobi and to be protected for the duration of their time in Kenya.
According to The Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the ‘essential function of UNHCR is to provide international protection to refugees and to seek durable solutions to their problems by facilitating either their voluntary repatriation or their integration into new national communities in safety and with dignity’
FiLiA believes that the residents of Block 13 in Kakuma camp are not being protected or having due regard to their safety or dignity.
LGBT Refugees in Kakuma Camp are facing violent attacks on a daily basis and in 6 years UNHCR has proven that protecting them in the camp is not possible.
UNHCR operates the camp at Kakuma and the neighbouring Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement – https://www.unhcr.org/ke/kakuma-refugee-camp
UNHCR’s own Guideline No. 9, which deals with claims based on sexual orientation and / or gender identity, recognises that non-state actors may be agents of persecution where the state is unwilling or unable to protect them. The residents in Block 13 are experiencing harm capable of amounting to persecution and have no recourse to protection from the state or apparently from UNHCR. https://www.unhcr.org/…/unhcr-guidelines-international…
UNHCR’s Guideline on Gender-Related Persecution, which deals with sex and gender in refugee claims, acknowledges that gender-based violence encompasses persecution on the basis of sexual orientation, and that sexual violence is capable of amounting to persecution. Women in Block 13 are at risk due to both their sex and their sexual orientation.
Article 5 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights confirms that nobody shall be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.
Article 7 of the same – all are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection against discrimination.
Article 14 – everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution.
The conditions in Kakuma for those who are resident in Block 13 fail on these counts. Having sought asylum from persecution in their countries of origin, they are exposed to continued persecution and to inhuman and degrading treatment and discrimination due to their sexual orientation. This undermines the purpose of the Refugee Convention and compounds the suffering of the refugees in Block 13.
Please do your job and protect these Refugees.
Yours sincerely,