The Green Party of England and Wales's Autumn Conference 2016 may have grabbed headlines with the election of our new Co-Leaders, but we also took other important steps in Birmingham, with the Conference delegation making significant decisions on equality.
With equality a key part of the party's 'Four Pillars', it is a positive sign that equality for members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Instersex, Queer, Asexual, Plus (LGBTIQA+) community was further progressed at Conference. The Green Party made it policy to campaign to end the discrimination currently faced by people who wish to give blood, including (but not limited to) men who have sex with men, their partners, trans people and sex workers. The party also unanimously passed a policy affirming the identities of transgender and non-binary people, adding the words 'trans men are men, trans women are women, and non-binary identities are real and valid' to the policy books.
Lee-Anne Lawrance from North Surrey Green Party passed a change to the party's constitution to amend any gendered pronouns, such as 'she' or 'him', to be gender neutral, i.e. 'they'. The Green Party's LGBTIQ group became LGBTIQA+ Greens, adding an 'A' to include agender, aromantic and asexual people, as well as a '+' sign to include other diversities of sex, gender, romanticism and sexuality. Jonathan Bartley, Green Party Co-Leader, said: "The Green Party is leading the way on LGBTIQA+ rights, and this Autumn Conference has been no exception. I am extremely proud to be co-leading a party which passed so many motions, including ending unacceptable discrimination in blood donation. It was a privilege to meet LGBTIQA+ Greens at Conference, and I am very much looking forward to working together more in the coming months and years."?
As Equalities (LGBTIQA+) Spokesperson, and Chair of LGBTIQA+ Greens, I think it is wonderful to see the party at the front of equality, recognising trans identities, removing blood donation discrimination, and making our constitution more inclusive - these are brilliant steps forwards in LGBTIQA+ equality. I look forward to working with our new Co-Leaders, our newly elected GPEx representatives, and our membership, to help the Green Party be a proud voice celebrating our diversity.