Birmingham City Council’s LGBT Employees Network
Recent News and Successes
Educate & Celebrate Showcase: 15th February 2013
Birmingham’s very first ‘Educate and Celebrate’ showcase in celebration of LGBT History Month took place in The Library Theatre on Friday February 15th.
In September 2012, Elly Barnes (IoS Pink List No:1) was appointed as Birmingham’s LGBT schools advisor with a view to educating young people through the curriculum about the achievements of LGBT people in history and eradicate homophobic language and bullying from our schools. Further information about the work Elly is undertaking available on her website www.ellybarnes.com
The concert showcased student’s work from 20 participating schools, including music and drama performances, presentations, speeches, stalls and key speakers. LGBT service providers in the city also supported the event, including LGBT Birmingham, Youth Services, the LGBT network at Birmingham City Council and Rainbow voices. Key speakers included Birmingham Council cabinet members and local celebrities.
Participating schools included Cockshut Hill Technology College, Turves Green Girls School, Lindsworth School, Perry Beeches Academy, Ninestiles Academy, Parkfield community school, Grestone Primary School and Saltley School.
"Educating through the curriculum is key to creating an enlightened environment in which our teachers and students can thrive and be who they want to be without fear of discrimination" – Elly Barnes Birmingham LGBT Health & Wellbeing Centre
A pioneering new Centre has opened in Birmingham to address the health inequalities faced by the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community. The Centre is funded in part by Birmingham City Council, and run by Birmingham LGBT who are a 3rd Sector organisation.
The Birmingham LGBT Centre for health and wellbeing opened to the public on 29th January 2013. Further information can be found on Birmingham LGBT’s website or through the link to the Birmingham City Council newsroom below.
Birmingham LGBT – www.blgbt.org/centre
Birmingham Newsroom Press Release –www.birminghamnewsroom.com/2013/01/lgbt-health-and-wellbeing-centre-to-open-in-birmingham/
What is the LGBT Employees’ Network?
Birmingham City Council LGBT Employees’ Network was set up in 2002. The network is made up of employees who either identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or anyone who is supportive of the issues faced by this diverse community.
Our steering group is made up of officers who volunteer their time to work with the organisation on behalf of Network members.
We aim to:
- Improve the quality of working life for those who identify as LGBT, promoting equality across the organisation
- Improve the quality of services we offer our customers, especially those who identify as LGBT
We value the fact that our membership includes employees from across the organisation with a wide range of skills. If you think you can help us, please get in touch!
We also welcome contact from other organisations and LGBT networks, including citizens or service users.
How can I join the network?
To join the LGBT employees’ network, please email us at email@example.com. Your details will be held securely only by an elected member of the steering group. We welcome applications from other organisations and LGBT networks, including citizens or service users.
When you have joined the mailing list, you will receive information about issues affecting the LGBT community and details of future meetings and events.
Why do we have a network?
The LGBT network aims to be the voice of employees who identify as LGB or T. We consult with the organisation to ensure that the needs of the LGBT community, both within Birmingham City Council and outside are considered when important decisions are made, and that our voice is heard. We can also provide advice and signposting to members and colleagues around the needs of LGBT employees and the services available for the community.
We want to encourage a working environment where LGBT employees can feel safe and confident to be themselves and perform to the best of their ability within the organisation.
Why should I join the network?
There are a number of benefits to joining the network. As a network, we offer a unique opportunity to meet other lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans employees within the council, to make new contacts, and to share our knowledge. We have four networking events each year, including the Annual General Meeting. These usually have a theme, relevant to the community.
We also have a range of additional social events. If you’re new to the organisation, coming out at work, or if you just feel like you don’t know any other employees that identify as LGBT, these are a great way to network with colleagues in a non-formal environment.
We are also active social networkers! Our details are at the bottom of the page. Please join the discussion! We also keep our members up to date with news about the community.
The network provides the unique opportunity for members to work with the Chief Executive, the LGBT Equality Champion, Senior Managers and elected Councillors to develop a better understanding about the needs of the community and to promote better outcomes for the community.
In addition, the network provides mentoring, coaching, and training for staff to raise awareness about issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.
I’m not out at work. Does this mean that I can’t join the network?
No. We encourage all LGBT employees to join the network, regardless of whether they identify openly with the community or not. The contact details of our members are kept in a confidential file held by a member of our steering group and will never be passed onto anyone else within or outside of the organisation. Our meetings are usually open to only network members and our Allies, and are a safe space for colleagues to meet other LGBT colleagues.
I don’t identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender – can I still join the network?
Many non-LGBT people who identify as heterosexual or straight may have an interest in supporting the network due to their work, a fellow colleague or service user who they are managing or supporting, or because of a friend or family member. We sometimes refer to these people as ‘Allies’. We particularly encourage membership from colleagues who work in HR, Equalities and Communications, customer facing roles, plus any external organisations or LGBT Networks who are interested in working collaboratively to improve services for Birmingham’s citizens.
Regular events for your diary
There are a number of network and community events that happen regularly throughout the year. This is a list of some of the bigger events:
Annual General Meeting
As a constituted group, our network is required to hold an AGM each year. We normally do this around the end of the financial year. In this meeting the Chair, Vice Chair and Steering Group resign, and a fresh group is elected to set the direction for the network for the next 12 months. We also provide a round up of the work that has been done throughout the year, and hear from important speakers such as the Chief Executive and the LGBT Equality Champion. We usually invite a guest speaker to highlight a relevant issue. Recent guests have included Elly Barnes and Vince Laws. We would love our members to come to all of our meetings in the year, but if you can only make one, this is the one to make!
Birmingham Pride takes place every year on the last bank holiday in May. It is a major event celebrating the LGBT community. Covering the whole three days, the event starts with a march through the city centre, culminating in a festival in the Hurst Street area. The event has a genuine community feel with something for everyone. If you’ve not been to pride before, why not come along next year.
Launched in 2009, the Shout Festival is a relative new-comer to Birmingham’s LGBT Community. Acting as a showcase for LGBTQ art and culture, this festival has rapidly become a key event on the LGBT calendar. If you have an interest in LGBT culture, or simply an appreciation of art, film and music, this is an event not to be missed.
LGBT History Month
Every February is LGBT history month. The month is dedicated to celebrating the contribution the LGBT community has made to society. Each year, the month will have a theme. Recent themes include Maths and Science, and music. There is a programme of events each year. Keep your eyes open for next year’s details closer to the time.N
Throughout the year, Birmingham City Council’s LGBT network holds 3 meetings. These usually have a theme and / or a guest speaker. They are a great opportunity to meet and network with colleagues, and find out what is happening in the network and the community at work. If you’re looking for a way to meet like minded colleagues or to get involved more, this is a great place to do it. Members of the Steering Group will always be around for you to talk to at these meetings. We look forward to seeing you there!