INTRODUCING LGBT+ SOCIALISTS
Founded in 2018 originally under the name of Labour Party LGBT+ Network, our aims were to not only bring together and build an active campaigning nationwide network of socialist LGBT+ members of the Labour movement, but to also provide a coordination platform for those members to organise & promote events, socials, policy forums, share speakers and give members a safe space community while also building links with the wider LGBT+ Community and community groups. Maintaining it via a completely grassroots led organisation that actively aims to promote education to raise consciousness for LGBT+ issues, while also trying to improve and democratise LGBT+ representation within the Labour Party.
As a socialist organisation we believe in community self-organisation, this means being an organisation that actively participates in the struggle rather than viewing politics as just a series of parliamentary manoeuvres and internal elections, or waiting until the next election to bring about change. Issues of equality are visible every single day and are inherently a class issue; we must treat them accordingly, standing against divisions and give everyone a voice.
We recognise that taking a strong stand against Homophobia, Transphobia, Disablism, Sexism, Racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all other forms of bigotry and oppression is not an optional extra in the class struggle but in fact a core part of it. The labour movemet should be leading anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigning within our communities and mobilising on the streets where necessary. We must without qualifications or caveats stand in solidarity with all marginalized groups, and accept political education as a method of countering racism and prejudice, a process that we as socialists must always strive for better in.
We aim to take active steps to reach out to and organising alongside other under-represented communities, standing in solidarity with each other’s ongoing struggles and supporting the pushes for self-organised liberation structures within the movement for our many minority demographics.
We also believe in actively supporting workers and the struggles of working-class communities, and recognise the importance of grassroots organising towards building and transforming the labour movement, such as supporting the campaigns to repeal all anti-union laws. We as organisation have also made a point of visibly showing solidarity to workers in dispute and regularly stand together in solidarity on the picket lines. Our issues are intertwined; we are a collective work force and must always stand staunchly together.
Since our founding we now have a steadily growing membership and have set up both nationwide and localised LGBT+ Officers/members forums, we have in collaboration organised campaign days for LGBT+ identifying candidates, we have teamed up with various community groups, charities and MPs to share events and speakers for education and social events. We have also in areas where there is currently little active organisation or established policy forums for LGBT+ Officers - held socials and events for LGBT+ members to meet one another to help build contacts in their local areas to help get activity started. We have also organised and sent out questioners on LGBT+ rights within internal Labour Party elections such as the 2020 NEC elections to help inform members.
We were also proud to as an organisation which founded in Liverpool to have organised Labour's involvement with Liverpool's first ever Trans Pride in 2019 and to have also organised the ‘Red Block’ at LCR Pride, which seen the largest number of Socialists and Trade Unionists to ever march in together in solidarity with the LGBT+ community at a Liverpool Pride event.
In February 2020 we helped launch the ‘United We Stand – Solidarity Network’ to start bringing together the UKs many minority and under-represented demographics as one large collective to work collaboratively. To help each other build self-organised liberation structures, to collaborate on communal art projects to educate our communities of one another’s cultures, to promote acceptance, to stand in solidarity with each other in one another’s struggles and also combat not only the rise of hate/division but the apathy that facilitates it.
Later that year we were also proud to begin co-organising a trans-led political education programme with Momentum, The World Transformed and Labour Campaign for Trans Rights, also putting on online events with speakers from the PLP and prominent LGBT+ activists.
- Paul McGowan, Founder of LGBT+ Socialists