On Friday 19th November, Consortium held a landmark panel event at London’s City Hall.
On the occasion of the annual Trans Awareness Week, the event brought together more than 50 key stakeholders from Greater London Authority, public services and Trans & LGBT+ community organisations.
Entitled ‘What could recovery look like for London’s Trans Communities?’ the event highlighted the challenges Trans and non-binary Londoners have faced during the pandemic and discussed what recovery and renewal for Trans communities in Greater London could look like.
The afternoon kicked off powerfully with Assembly Member Sian Berry welcoming everyone warmly at the London Living Room, with its iconic views over The Thames and Tower Bridge.
Following, Consortium’s London Coordinator Martin Karadzhov and Trans Network Officer Shaan Knan outlined some key findings of Consortium’s LGBTQIA+ Plan for London . It was developed, as a response to the Mayor of London’s 2020 London Recovery Programme, which is a missions-based, ambitious plan to address the impact of Covid-19 and rebuild among other London’s communities, economies, and environments.
Designed by and for trans and non-binary communities the LGBTQI+ Plan’s Trans Mission states that: By 2025, London will be the most trans-inclusive city in the world, offering a range of publicly funded, safe, accessible trans-led specialised services and community spaces.
It was such an honour to be joined by Deputy Mayor Debbie Weekes-Bernard who expressed a strong commitment toward creating a fairer London for all in her compelling speech: ‘’Consortium’s LGBTQIA+ Plan for London Is a stark reminder of how trans communities have become further isolated during this pandemic. We must do more!’
The audience then enjoyed two panels: on Social Justice and Safe Spaces for Trans Londoners, and on Adequate Services and Housing for Trans Londoners.
Community stakeholders from Consortium member groups and organisations including TransActual, Black Trans Foundation, CliniQ, Gendered Intelligence, Stonewall, The Outside Project shared a platform with representatives from London Authorities, NHS England and London Councils.
The day concluded with host Sian Berry summarising some of the topics and themes discussed on panels, and take-aways – for herself as a trans ally and the GLA.
This was notably one of the last public events at City Hall before the GLA’s move to a new location, but it was certainly the beginning of many conversations between London stakeholders from across the sectors.
Shaan Knan said: “We are extremely happy to have started a positive and proactive conversation that will spark collaboration between our diverse communities and sectors across all London Boroughs. I am pleased that we could centre trans voices in the London recovery conversation, in the presence of funders, local authorities and the Mayor’s office. Our members are the experts on the issues they face but are far too often denied the platform to share the challenges the face.”
Martin Karadzhov added: “Many stakeholders came forward during Pride season in support of our communities but too often their promises are empty, their allyship is performative and remain silent during the rest of the year. We hope this will be a first of many more trans-led and specific event, bringing trans organisations into the decision-making processes across London. We have a short window period to bring meaningful change and we need everyone to step-up, including us at Consortium. We have to step-up to not only resist the hostile environment our trans and non-binary siblings are facing, but also to fight for adequate trans health and support services and safe spaces.”
Reflecting on the event, Briony Williamson, Consortium’s Head of Membership and Engagement said: “This was the just first step towards making the vision of London as the most inclusive city into a reality. Now, it is time to hold stakeholders accountable and work across sectors to bring about meaningful change. We leave this evening hopeful that we have brought together communities and allies, made new friends and become more connected across London and beyond.”
Consortium would like to thank Sian Berry and GLA for their kind support.
A recording of the event’s highlights is available here.