Stephen Spillane writes on the launch of LGBT+ group, Queer Greens, at the Green Party Convention in Dublin
The 2019 Green Party Convention took place on July 13th and 14th at the Law Society in Dublin.
As part of the proceedings, a group of Green Party Members and friends met to form the Queer Greens / Glasa Aiteacha. The group are now considered an affiliate member of the Green Party / Coamhantas Glas, which means they will be entitled to representation on internal party bodies. The group met to ratify its constitution, confirm its official name, and elect its inaugural committee.
The group was formed to create a network for LGBTQ+ members of the party, to develop LGBTQ+ policy for the party, and to support LGBTQ+ candidates standing for election for the party. The Green Party join several political parties in Ireland who have specific LGBTQ+ sections, these include: Labour Party, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein.
The Green Party has a history of supporting the LGBTQ+ Community, Rob Burton-O’Sullivan, the group’s first chair, said:
“I remember when I first joined the Green Party, I found it a bit odd that there was no LGBT group within the Party. Initially, I put it down to the low numbers in membership, as the Party was still in the midst of its post-2011 collapse, but as I started to float the idea among other queer members, I noticed I was getting the same response from people: ‘We never felt like we needed it’. And it makes sense, when you think about it – this is a party who ran an openly gay candidate when other parties still had prominent largely homophobic policies, and a party that put a lot of legal advances for the community on the table”.
When asked why the Queer Greens were now being set up, they said:
“We decided to set it up not because we needed a queer caucus, if you will, within the Party, but because [we] wanted to make sure that the place of queer voices in the Party, and centring queer voices on queer issues, isn’t left up to chance, even if we got on okay in the first 38-or so years!”
The following were elected to the committee.
· Chair: Rob Burton-O’Sullivan
· Secretary: Claire Chambers
· Treasurer: John O’Sullivan
· Communications: Martha Ewence
· Events: Xander S. Cosgrave
· Policy: Evan Pereira