Since Gay Advice Darlington/Durham closed I have been asked what I intend to do now. I have been involved in the support and advocating for the Lesbian Gay, Bisexual Trans and Those who Question their sexuality and gender Identity for over 20 years. You could say it was something that defined who I was and how I was as a person. I have looked very deeply into myself and considered walking away from the sector and finding something else, a vague term but my confidence and sense of failure that after 21 years the organisation had closed with me at the helm. The fact that is was a victim of austerity and funding cuts. The third sector is being slowly dismantled, overburdened, and underfunded. Darlington once had a thriving voluntary sector now it is hard pressed and is scrambling for funds from an ever decreasing pot of money. Anyone who doubts the value for money that these organisations provide, and there are those that do will see when all services are closed how much the Town will decline very quickly. Equality is often the easiest target by politicians in times of financial hardship and falls victim very quickly. I could rant easily about this a poor policy in terms of the contribution and need to have a fair society and the economics of it and no doubt I shall but not here.
This is me being a little self indulgent and letting people know that I have decided not to walk away from the community but to continue, It may be arrogance it may be hubris or it may be the fear of doing something different. I hope it is because I still have something to contribute to improvement of the lives of LGBTQI people.
In a time when Chechnya has placed gay men in camps, Russia has a long standing campaign against LGBTQI people, the majority of countries in the commonwealth have anti LGBT legislation, there are countries with the death penalty just for being gay, and these are a few international issues of protest.
Nationally hate crime is rising, HIV/AIDS funding is being dismantled, LGBT charities are closing at an astonishing rate. The Human Rights act is threatened and this is the foundation of all the positive legislative change that has occurred in the last 15 years.
Intersex people have long been ignored their voice not heard. Kids surgically mutilated by medical specialists who “know better” and with no consent from the child or transparent consultation with parents. This causes long term health issues as they fall through the cracks with damaged endocrine systems and heightened risks because of the interventions. There is no real recognition of these issues in the mainstream and are the forgotten cousins in the LGBTQI world.
There is so much to do still and as a result I am launching QuerKey which is Community Interest Company that will initially advocate for victims of hate crime and deliver training and policy support to agencies and organisations. This will be charged to companies and sold as an asset to them economically and in terms of social responsibility.
The primary function will be initially a virtual entity to keep the overheads to a minimum. I intend to use the income to be able to invest in services to be delivered directly to the community. I will be working initially in the North East but I shall be happy to work further afield.
Please spread the word and have an awesome weekend.
The facebook page is QuerKey please like the page.
I may even venture into Instagram and Tumblr but no promises.