We explored local government’s responsibility to serve LGBTQIA+ communities, through Pride, representation and more. In this issue, we share a fantastic new interview, plus innovation from leading cities globally and helpful resources and policy examples.
Pride: representation during June and beyond
This week, we’re putting the spotlight on local government's responsibility to serve LGBTQIA+ communities, through Pride, representation and more.
Pride Month commemorates the ongoing struggle for civil rights and equality faced by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ), while also celebrating progress and achievements by people in this community. Most countries celebrate Pride Month in June to honour the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York, USA, although some celebrate in other months.
Pride events can include parades, marches, festivals and commemorations. Local government plays a key role in how these events are run, with community groups and NGOs, and ensuring they are inclusive, accessible, safe, genuinely meeting diverse community needs and not overly commercialised.
Municipalities can visibly welcome, support and celebrate their LGBTQIA+ communities during Pride Month through social media posts, lighting up civic structures in rainbow colours, and flying the Rainbow, Transgender Pride or Progress Pride Flag on public buildings – and partnering with private businesses where this is not possible.
Local government also has a crucial responsibility to develop policy and services that meaningfully support LGBTQIA+ people all year round, created and implemented through ongoing engagement. While national or state laws may limit or be hostile to LGBTQIA+ rights, local authorities still have significant powers to improve the day-to-day lives of people in this community – which can create a “snowball effect” influencing other jurisdictions.
Local government can act internally and externally, benefitting from being the closest government level. Internal actions can include supporting a diverse and inclusive workplace, creating equal employment opportunities and non-discrimination policy, and engaging with campaigns for better LGBTQIA+ representation. External actions include creating an LGBTQIA+ liaison role or advisory board, removing barriers preventing transgender people from accessing public services, developing inclusive, anti-discriminatory school policies, and establishing specific services for older LGBTQIA+ people.
In this edition, we’re sharing a fantastic new interview with Carl Austin-Behan, LGBTQ+ Adviser to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, UK, plus innovation from leading cities globally and helpful resources and policy examples.
Note: The LGBTQIA+ acronym includes intersex and asexual groups, plus other gender identities and sexual orientations not specifically covered, including two-spirit (2S) people. Preferred acronyms vary between global jurisdictions, as reflected in examples featured in this edition.
Welcome to the Global Local Recap from LGIU!
Each week we’ll focus on a different global topic, highlighting innovative content and insights from LGIU and our members globally.
Click here to find out more about Global Local from LGIU.
This week's featured content
Permanent visibility equals permanent acceptance: An interview with LGBTQ+ Adviser Carl Austin-Behan OBE DL
By Freya Millard and Melissa Thorne, LGIU
Carl Austin-Behan was the youngest and first openly gay Lord Mayor of Manchester, UK, from 2016 to 2017. Since 2018, he has served as the LGBTQ+ Adviser to Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.
Carl spoke to LGIU’s Freya Millard about how his background motivated him to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, his advice for organising effective community-led Pride events, and his strategies for making LGBTQ+ issues visible in local government all year round.
LGIU Global Local Highlights
Supporting the LGBTIQA+ community
Originally published to mark International Day Against LGBTQIA+ Discrimination, this briefing looks at how Australian councils are working to acknowledge, support, and engage the diverse groups that make up their workforces and communities. Click here to read this briefing.
How can councils support the LGBT+ community?
Councils across the world support Pride and the LGBT+ community every year, but what about in Northern Ireland? In this 2019 blog, Isla Whateley shares her experiences volunteering with Belfast Pride and how local government there supports Pride despite the region’s difficulties. Click here to read this blog.
Innovation & Inspiration
Curated case studies and news from around the globe
AUSTRALIA: Sydney council visibly supports LGBTQIA+ community
The City of Sydney is home to more LGBTQIA+ people than any other Australian council area. Recent council commitments include: providing nearly $300,000 in seed funding for the proposed Qtopia Sydney Queer Museum, a 90-metre rainbow path and ‘Equality Green’ section of Prince Alfred Park to celebrate marriage equality, and a proposed framework to recognise and protect the Oxford Street precinct’s LGBTQIA+ social and cultural history in future development. Sydney will host the international LGBTQIA+ festival WorldPride in 2023, marking the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade’s 45th anniversary and 50 years since the first Australian Gay Pride Week.
Time Out / City of Sydney / Star Observer / Australian Pride Network
THAILAND: Bangkok Pride officially returns after 16 years
Bangkok hosted its first official Pride parade since 2006 this month, attended by thousands of LGBTQIA+ community members and allies. Naruemit Pride 2022 (meaning ‘creation’) received local government backing and was attended by newly elected Governor of Bangkok Chadchart Sittipunt, who marched the whole route in solidarity. Two days after the event, the Government of Thailand’s cabinet approved a draft Civil Partnership Bill that would allow same-sex couples to adopt children, jointly manage assets and make medical decisions on their partner’s behalf, but stops short of marriage equality. Thailand would become the second Asian jurisdiction to allow same-sex unions, after Taiwan.
GCN / DW / Thai PBS / PinkNews
GERMANY: Specific support services aimed at LGBTI refugees in Berlin
Berlin has increased the specialist psychosocial and therapeutic care that it offers for LGBTI refugees, including medium- to long-term counselling and therapy, to provide better and longer-lasting support in cooperation with key local stakeholders. The council’s website brings together a range of dedicated resources about services offered locally to support LGBTI refugees, from friendly and safe spaces to meet other LGBTI refugees to specialist counselling, legal advice and shelter. Information is offered in multiple languages. Protecting LGBTI refugees is among the focuses of Berlin’s action plan against homophobia and transphobia.
Berlin.de / European Committee of the Regions / Rainbow Cities Network
SPAIN: Barcelona’s innovative LGBTI Centre hosts range of activities
Launched in 2019, the Barcelona City Council’s LGBTI Centre is a public facility that is open to all. The centre brings together a range of services supporting the LGBTI community, from counselling to legal and employment advice to social and health information. It also promotes the legal rights of LGBTI people, offers training for individuals and organisations, and raises local community awareness about LGBTI issues, including in schools and homes for older people. The centre runs programmes promoting LGBTI arts and culture, and is currently celebrating sexual and gender diversity through the monthlong ‘L’Orgullosa’ event series in museums and neighbourhoods across Barcelona.
Barcelona LGBTI Centre / L'Orgullosa Barcelona / Barcelona Metropolitan
Policy & Resources
What local government can do: This helpful CAP report identifies how local authorities can take action to advance LGBTQIA+ equality through governance, policy and community engagement, with USA case studies throughout. This chapter explores how OECD countries can better include LGBTQIA+ people beyond inclusive law-making and highlights global best practice.
Cities working together: The Rainbow Cities Network brings together more than 40 global cities that take an active role in combatting discrimination against LGBTI people, sharing initiatives and activities to increase the impact of local actions. Each year, network members share a best practice one-pager. 2021 examples included an intersex visibility campaign in Hanover, Germany, and a citizenship initiative empowering trans people in São Paulo, Brazil.
Supporting older LGBTQIA+ people: Older people in the LGBTQIA+ community face specific challenges that need to be accounted for when planning events and services. This ‘Still Here, Still Queer’ handbook outlines these challenges, plus effective Canadian responses. This practical SAGE guide sets out how to make pride events age-friendly. The Australian Silver Rainbow project shares resources about supporting LGBTQIA+ people who are ageing or in aged care, while targeted projects aim to improve social inclusion.
Local policy examples: Each community has different priorities, so it is essential to create an open engagement space and listen carefully when developing local policy, while acknowledging not everyone will be reached. Vancouver, Canada, has a dedicated advisory committee and action plan for better including trans, gender-diverse and two-spirit people in parks and recreation services. Brighton & Hove, UK, published a LGBT housing strategy in 2009. This 2021 LGBTQ2S+ Inclusion Action Plan for Yukon, Canada, sets out clear engagement processes, actions and timelines around health, governance, data and education policy.
Thanks for reading!
Next week, we’ll be exploring freshwater management, by looking at local government initiatives and responsibilities to ensure reliable access to safe water around the globe.
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