The Global Greens LGBT+ network “aims to facilitate networking and cooperation between LGBT+ groups in Green parties across the world”. It is being established by the current Equalities Spokesperson for the Green Party of England and Wales, Aimee Challenor, and myself, one of the founders of Queer Greens Victoria.
“We're seeing international participation in politics grow," said Interim Co-Convener Aimee Challenor, "and with the rising support for LGBT+ rights around the world, we see this as the perfect time to set up the Global Greens LGBT+ Network so that LGBT+ groups in Green parties around the world have a forum to work together, support each other, and create effective change.”
The Global Greens Charter commits the Greens to “support the right of gay and lesbian people to their lifestyle”, and the network will work to implement this commitment in parliaments and in international forums. Many Green parties have built on this commitment to advocate for bisexual, trans, gender diverse and intersex rights, including the Australian Greens in its policy on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex affairs.
With Greens activists in some countries still beaten and arrested for advocating for LGBT+ rights, there is a need to provide support for LGBT+ activists involved in Green parties. As LGBT+ people are still massively underrepresented in parliaments worldwide, there is also a need support and build the capacity of LGBT+ Green activists to run for parliament. Last year, the Victorian Greens saw major breakthroughs in local elections with five LGBT+ candidates elected to councils across the state, and the new network will build on this strong work.
The upcoming Congress provides a unique opportunity to combine the power and knowledge of LGBT+ Green activists and organisations across national borders in order to help realise Greens policy goals on LGBT+ rights.
The formation of this new network comes at the same time as the Australian Greens discuss the reformation of the national Sexuality and Gender Identity Working Group, which was formed in 2008 and dissolved in 2012, and as similar networks grow in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.
These kinds of networks are springing up throughout the party and being welcomed across the board. At last year's National Conference, Australian Greens Leader Senator Richard Di Natale said, “If we are truly welcoming and inclusive, let us consider establishing communities of interest inside the party so that meetings at the branch level are not the only mechanism for engagement.”
Building on this vision, this new global network will act as a point of engagement between Green and LGBT+ activists worldwide.