In January 2023, the Consortium team held our first face-to-face AGM & Conference in 3 years. The day was action packed, with inspiring keynotes from Lady Phyll and Sarah Vibert as well as presentations by our CEO and board of trustees.
To hear about some of the things Consortium has been up to over the last year, please watch this operational update video from Paul, our CEO.
In-line with the conference theme of ‘Maintaining Our Foundations’, a range of workshops were available to delegates, covering a variety of topics which all linked to Consortium's Strategic Plan.
As only a small number of our 550+ Member organisations were able to physically attend the event in London, we decided to make an overview of the content available here, so all of our Members can access it.
You can find out more about each of the workshop sessions, and access relevant resources if you are logged-in to our Member Dashboard, by clicking to expand any of the titles below.
This workshop consisted of a chaired Q&A session with members that have trans media expertise and had time at the end for participants to ask questions. Topics include promoting positive representations of trans folks in media, the potential for a sector-wide media strategy, the role of cis allies, and more.
In-person workshop speakers included:
- Chair: Violet Fox (Consortium)
- Rico Chase (TransActual/Consortium)
- Helen Belcher (TransActual and more)
- Leo Kirkpatrick (Consortium)
- Madeleine Ellis-Peterson (All About Trans/On Road Media) - unable to attend due to sickness
Additionally, jane fae (Trans Media Watch) recorded a video of her answers to the questions here as well as an introduction to the work that Trans Media Watch does: TMW Presentation for Consortium AGM
The questions asked were as follows:
- Briefly introduce yourself and the work you and/or your organisation does.
- What does positive trans coverage/representation in media look like to you?
- How do you think trans-led organisations can come together to create a more strategic push toward proactive and positive coverage/representation?
- What do you see the role of cis allies to be in supporting this shift?
Key insights from the speakers and audience questions:
- Trans representation and coverage:
- Coverage of ‘trans issues’ should be centered on topics like discrimination, healthcare inadequacies, and economic injustice NOT cis people’s fears about trans people- those are not ‘trans issues’
- Need for more joyous representation of trans people flourishing and loving themselves
- Mainstream journalists have a pattern of recruiting the ‘loudest voices on Twitter’ or ‘any trans person’ to talk about specific subjects that would benefit from expert or at least relevant knowledge – try to point media personnel in the right direction when possible.
- Interviewing a vocal trans person from Twitter about trans sport participation as opposed to reaching out to an organisation like Trans Can Sport for comment.
- Strategy and coalition-building:
- Trans orgs and people need to rely on each other for support and resources -- ‘don’t try to reinvent the wheel’ when there are so many orgs that could collaborate with you and share tools/insight
- Coordination between trans orgs/people is key in a sector where there is so much burnout and dwindling capacity
- Lean on allied orgs as well to support and bolster your work when possible
- What is needed from allies:
- Compensation for trans input, time and energy
- All year-round support (not just around emergencies or events like Pride)
- Listen, and be genuinely invested, not just for us but for yourselves – gender binaries and ‘gender critical’ attitudes harm everyone
- Do your own research on how to stand up for trans folks and deflect transphobic remarks
- See ‘Trans Justice: A Messaging Guide’ developed by Madeleine from All About Trans ([email protected]) and NEON for trans-allied media spokespeople
- Please do not share the guide with the public/social media
- Trans-supportive journalists: Ben Hunt (Vice) & Vicki Parsons (Pink News)
- Interest in media training for trans and other gender diverse folks who want to share their stories in media or be better prepared for transphobic media crises
- Reach out to Trans Media Watch for tailored training on a sliding payment scale
- Interest in discussing how employers should aim to protect and affirm their employees in the event of online transphobic attacks – what is their responsibility?
- See ‘Trans Justice: A Messaging Guide’ developed by Madeleine from All About Trans ([email protected]) and NEON for trans-allied media spokespeople
We hear all the time about the importance of looking after ourselves and each other but what does that really mean in practical terms? This workshop explored how organisations can support staff and volunteers by building self-care and wellbeing practices into day-to-day operations. We looked at some of the tools and resources available and heard from Member groups that have built and embedded a culture of wellbeing for their teams.
The purpose of this session was to get us thinking about how our organisations can create a wellbeing culture and actively support our teams to take care of themselves.
In our tables, we discussed different things that we have or plan to implement in our groups.
- Building wellbeing into project plans and ensuring regular check-ins are standard.
- Not waiting until crisis point to encourage self-care or implement support structures – ensure they are embedded so people can use them to prevent things getting overwhelming.
- Consider different methods of team support, such as peer supervision or storytelling approaches.
- Think about ways to reduce or share leadership load, such as rotating responsibilities across directors.
Abstract: This Member-led panel will bring together a variety of perspectives on accessibility within LGBT+ organisations and spaces. Through these discussions and opportunities to ask questions this workshop will support your organisation in developing an inclusive and diverse approach to accessibility for all.
Suriya Aisha (she/they)
Suriya Aisha is an experienced Community Practitioner and Artist. Using her background in arts and psychology she holds spaces for marginalised groups to make meaningful connections. Suriya is co-director of Colours Youth Network and host of SICKBABE podcast.
Sage M Stephanou (they/them)
Sage is a community worker and educator with a background in facilitation and Art Therapy. Their work is focused on anti-colonial, abolitionist and liberatory practices which are influenced by their lived experience as a working class, disabled QTIPOC. Sage is the founder and a co-director of the Radical Therapist Network.
- After introductions of each other, Suriya and Sage about the work they do and their new project Centring Community Care as LGBT+ Disabled People of Colour
- Post lockdown- spaces are no longer accessible for disabled people after a period of online and more inclusive ways of connecting communities due to covid restrictions
- Importance of looking at intersectionality within accessibility- how LGBT+ communities, Black and people of colour are affected, the intersections of that and other identities impact needs
- Participant reiterated the value of their work and how important it is to frame accessibility as love and care work
- Participant asked about helpful tips or suggestions when considering accessibility. Although there are no quick tips, some useful insights were provided such as (event specific):
- Creating a mental picture of participants when planning and the variety of needs
- Frame access needs as ways you can include your participants and make sure they can be involved
- Provide maps of the building and routes if in person
- Walking people through the venue and the running order of the day
- Check in with people that have submitted their access needs before an event
- Let participants know about any changes and consider impact of change
This Member-led session focussed on practical ways to resist systems of oppression. We reflected on key issues that our communities have faced and how these continue to disproportionately impact the LGBTQIA+ and Muslim, Black and Brown communities today. We also explored the ways in which systems of oppression intersect and some things we can do to keep ourselves and our communities safe.
- Looking at the origins of Stonewall, how it was an uprising rather than a riot
- Thinking about people who started the movement like Martha P Johnson, Silvia Riveria and starting initiatives e.g., STAR house for LGBT youth under Martha P Johnson.
- How we’ve moved from liberation and direct action to rights and respectability
- Thinking about changing how we look and implement safeguarding policies, especially concerning more marginalised LGBT people: I.e., trans people of colour, people of colour, disabled people, young people etc
- Bystander intervention as an alternative to policing (sisters uncut)
- Thinking about how PREVENT and other interventions impact the demographics they are targeted at, and how police powers and other civil powers are used when enacting PREVENT
- Young people alternatives to policing could be speaking to other grassroots orgs doing similar work, or Galop.
Maryam’s recap (Twitter thread)
Do you want to learn more? IMI and TransActual have created a reading list that you can access here: https://tinyurl.com/anti-oppressive
This workshop covered some practical ways you can better protect your organisation from some of the threats we find charities can suffer from. We explored the topic of DSARs (Direct Subject Access Requests), FOIs (Freedom of Information requests), cyber-attacks and insurance considerations.
Information was shared by the panellists but there was also time for questions and discussion, supporting Members to work towards having the strongest and most resilient LGBT+ organisations.
This workshop explored some practical ways you can better protect your organisation from some of the threats we find charities can suffer from. Topics explored included DSARs (Direct Subject Access Requests), FOIs (Freedom of Information requests), Organisational Risk Registers and insurance considerations.
The workshop chaired by Chris started with a point to raise that this was about entry level conversations on some key topics which could then lead to future in depth sessions facilitated by Consortium later in the year. The key was about getting organisations thinking about topics they might be considering, need additional thoughts on or are finding challenging.
We heard from each of the presenters for around 5 minutes on their chosen area:
- Robbie from Stonewall: Direct Subject Access Requirements
- Organisations need to be mindful and aware of the risks with these and to keep in mind when the operations of their organisations
- Be careful and mindful of using people’s names in internal communications
- All communications could be needed to be sifted if someone put in a DSAR so best not to talk about people in email, whatsapp, Teams chats, etc.
- Think about retention policies for how long your org keeps information
- Remember all communication methods could need to be searched
- If in doubt, don’t talk about people negatively!
- Emily from Consortium: Risk Register
- Emily took the group through what a simple risk register would look like and what the elements mean
- Will always be risks that are going to be more likely than others and this is fine
- Important to note a combination of risks in the Risk Register
- Any Register needs reviewing at least annually, but should be added to when needed
- Remember the mitigating activities are important—they help manage the risks identified
- Anything with a high likelihood and impact rating is going to need immediate attention to mitigate against—as much as is possible
- Organisations in room keen to see if there is a way of orgs sharing info on their risk registers to help others develop one
- Click here to access the Risk Register resource developed following the AGM discussion
- Richard from Scrutton Bland: insurance
- Gave an overview of some of the key insurances that voluntary organisations might need to consider
- Not about a one size fits all approach. Scrutton Bland can support orgs on looking at their specific needs and tailoring insurance
- Members get access to discounted rates and personalised service
Members keen for these sorts of topics to be discussed in more detail in specific dedicated sessions throughout the year.
This short, practical workshop was led by communications experts and offered a variety of approaches, tips and tricks for delivering strong, positive organisational messages and for redefining and challenging hostile narratives.
Lots of people incorrectly perceive communications as their destination and end-point. For example, a new service launches and the response is ‘let’s pitch to the Guardian’.
Instead, we should understand comms as our vehicle (and journey) to our desired destination.
We can then work backwards. If our destination is engaging young people in a new service, is the Guardian really the right vehicle to get there?
Carefully consider your approach, rather than opting for what looks the best, shouts the loudest or follows the latest trend.
(Podcasts and video content are not always the answer!)
Who do you want to reach, and what do you want them to do? Where and how are you most likely to engage them?
When deciding on the ‘how’ i.e., social media campaign or adverts in a newspaper, don’t just opt for what seems trendiest. Be considerate and strategic.
Think about who you want to reach, how you want to reach them and where might be a sensible place to try reaching and engaging them
The slides from the session can be accessed here: Communications Workshop
This panel discussion session explored what good LGBT+ leadership looks like, where we want LGBT+ leadership to be in the future and how we might get there. The panel discussion was discussed through the critical lens of equity and how we ensure the LGBT+ sector is a of good practice when thinking about leadership towards the future.
We started the discussion by asking each of the three panellists to speak for up to 5 minutes on their own reflections around LGBT+ Leadership and what this meant to them. Core themes across the three came up:
- Questioning the norm
- Questioning how we hold power
The session then moved into a discussion around some key questions:
- What do you think are the most important qualities of a leader in the LGBT+ voluntary sector, and why?
- What are the best ways we can support each other as leaders, particularly with those working at an targeted intersectional level?
- Top tip you would give other leaders in the LGBT+ sector wanting to be more inclusive?
Key points arising from the questions:
- We need to ensure leaders have the support they need to be a good supporter themselves
- Leadership v management—everyone has something to share and can be a leader. It goes beyond just managing people
- We need to utilities spaces to get to know each other better and build trust
- We must question the norms.
- Leadership is creating a sense of belonging
- We must open up our vulnerability
- Need to normalise imposter syndrome
- We musn’t assume someone’s knowledge or skills base
- Leadership through a place of grief and love—as lenses
- Resilience as leaders is needed but needs support to achieve
- Not everyone wants the label “leader” (or expects it)
- There are emotional aspects of leadership. We all need support and that is ok
- If we support others constantly but don’t have anyone we can turn to or “offload” with, we can cause damage to ourselves
- Good leadership is combining elements of your whole self and sharing
- Need to explore how we should and share power
“(Clements) proposed that plants were cooperators as well as competitors. Canopy trees ‘nursed’ the saplings beneath their branches, creating more sheltered, nutritious conditions in a plant-helping-plant process later dubbed facilitation. They shaded seedlings from the drying sun, blocked the winds, and fertilised the soil with their leaves. As time passed, one community of plants prepared the way for another; annual plants built the soil for perennial shrubs, and those shrubs nourished saplings that grew into forests. Everywhere Clements looked, he saw communities so tightly interwoven, he called them organismic.” - Janine Benyus ‘Reciprocity’ in “All We Can Save”.
Small or new organisations often struggle to provide enough data to evidence their valuable work and support grant applications. In this session, we talked to funders about how they are looking beyond the numbers when assessing applications and the best ways for groups to incorporate the voices of those with lived experience in their bids.
James from London Funders and Nat from City Bridge Trust joined Briony from Consortium for a session looking at the different ways we can illustrate the work that we have done, or plan to do, in funding bids.
We started by thinking about what is meant by the terms ‘data’ and ‘evidence’. We realised that although we tend to think mainly about hard data in terms of numbers, facts and figures, actually anything can be data!
We heard examples of the ways in which funders are moving away from traditional models and taking more equity-focused approaches and supporting exploration through initiatives such as Consortium’s Equity Fund and London’s Propel programme.
We were reminded to keep in mind that although the organisations we are asking for money can seem intimidating, funders are human beings too! The person reading your application will likely have gone into their role with the same motivation that you have - to make things better.
We ended with some top tips from the panel and the room:
- Be creative about how you collect community voices, consider whether you could use recordings or exercises to allow people to talk about their experiences.
- Think about the person reading your application and use relevant stories of those with lived experience to demonstrate specific needs and impacts of your work.
- Whatever data you have, make sure you are recording all of it. Whether that is attendance/engagement figures, feedback, testimonials, staff reflections. You never know what might be useful in future.
- Showcase partnership working and highlight where you provide extra value for money
- Build evaluation costs into your bid, to ensure you are collecting for reporting and to support future bids.
- Not all funders are the same, be targeted about where you apply – research using sites like 360 giving to inform your choices and ensure a good fit.
You can access a range of fundraising resources via our Member Dashboard.
Is your team spending so much time firefighting that you struggle to find time to explore how you practically embed equity in your work?
We heard about different approaches to equitable work, and ways of embedding equity in your organisation, no matter the size of your LGBT+ organisations.
The workshop was also an opportunity to explore what we mean by equity and how we keep it as a priority within our sector.
Embedding Equity Workshop
Delivered by Leyla (LGBT+ Consortium), Marita (LGBT+ Consortium) and Rico (TransActual UK, LGBT+ Consortium)
In this workshop led by Rico from TransActual and LGBT+ Consortium, we exchanged aspirations and challenges with implementing equitable practice into our organisations. The workshop facilitators began by emphasising the importance of approaching equity with curiosity and openness, rather than expecting to find immediate solutions. Leyla and Marita spoke briefly about why LGBT+ Consortium is shifting its focus from equality to equity and gave a few examples about how this shift has led a review and ongoing changes to LGBT+ Consortium’s recruitment processes.
Equality and equity can both be viewed as tools for achieving fairness, but with very different outcomes. Using equality as a tool for achieving fairness, means treating everyone in the same way – regardless of individual needs and lived experiences. Using equity as a tool for achieving fairness, means to recognise and address systemic and structural disadvantages, and to provide tailored support based on the barriers an individual faces. Equitable practice is a process and a goal through which change is led by and for those with lived experience of systemic and structural disadvantage.
Rico shared some experiences from TransActual’s work, as well as from his own experiences as an EDI consultant. The participants were then asked to discuss and share their reflections on the following questions in groups:
- What do you want to learn in this session, and what equitable practice do you want to develop in your organisation?
- What are some challenges you face in your organisation with embedding equity?
- What’s one aspect you would like a charity leader to know about your own intersectional experience?
The participants were able to share some reflections with the room, which we have summarised below.
- EDI challenges vary immensely between individual groups – we all have different challenges
- Some groups have very specific challenges and may not want to spend their time going to a general EDI workshop if they do not think they will get a ‘solution’ out of it.
- Important to remember that sometimes a compromise, collaborations, or peer support may be the best solution at the time, rather than expecting immediate answers and solutions
- Accepting your group’s limited resources and be transparent about them can often go longer than you think
It can be helpful for groups to acknowledge that their challenges are long standing, have developed over time, and will in turn take time to address