LGBT HERO’s Don’t Lose Your Vote campaign aims to inform LGBTQ+ Londoners of the changes to election law and get them ready to vote. The campaign is particularly focused on preparing trans and young queer people through an online information hub, social media campaign, and voter ID drop-in sessions.
Disclaimer: This activity has been funded by the Greater London Authority’s #NoVoteNoVoice Voter ID community grants programme – phase one.
Unquestionably, the highlight of the Don’t Lose Your Vote campaign has been diving into the community and holding drop-in sessions at events across London. Of particular note was our event at SheHerTheyThem, a community-building social initiative for queer women & gender diverse people in East London. We were given an enthusiastic and warm welcome as we delivered vital information about the changes to voting rights to a group of people who will be most impacted by those changes. Banners, flyers, and a swathe of other materials can only do so much; our extremely knowledgeable engagement officer was there as part of the community, speaking to the community. It’s not easy to have a conversation about legislation in a busy room, but people were clearly keen to talk anyway. We knew, from this early event, that we were on the right track: trans and gender nonconforming people want to know how they can preserve their democratic rights.
Beyond our drop-ins, of particular note were the workshops we delivered to the leaders and frontline staff in the LGBTQ+ sector. They represented the concerns of the community and communicated how trans and young people are feeling. To our great satisfaction, we were able to provide them with specific advice about the Elections Act and how they can support the queer people in their care. The impact of this kind of work isn’t quantifiable through metrics or viewing stats, but its value is clear: they had questions, we had the answers; and they can make a direct difference as trusted figures in the lives of vulnerable people.
We’ve experienced, once again, the power of the LGBTQ+ community when we are working in unison. As a result, LGBT HERO will undoubtedly seek to deepen its ties with the organisations and experts who have proven so fundamental to our campaign’s coherence and reach.
Like all projects, the Don’t Lose Your Vote campaign has been a learning experience. Our community is strong in unison, but reaching the most vulnerable, and those most in need of our advice is still challenging. Many young queer and trans Londoners have switched off from traditional online communications due to the ongoing culture war which has focused its ire on gender nonconforming people. Our responsibility to reach these increasingly disenfranchised groups is greater than ever, and that means that we need to go to them. The swathe of inequalities facing trans people must not be allowed to deepen and include an inequality of information. In the future, we will undoubtedly investigate more ways to develop further direct connections with on-the-ground and grassroots organisations.