Matt Rogan

The Young Greens is the youth and student wing of the Green Party of England and Wales. This summer, members of the Young Greens will be voting to elect a new executive. Bright Green is offering each of the candidates a chance to set out their vision.

Intersectionality is more than just a buzzword. It holds massive weight and contains so much power; with such solidarity we can achieve massive change.

I had the privilege of hosting a talk with Jonathan Blake of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) back in February 2021, when I was LGBTQ+ officer for University of York Students’ Union. Jonathan gave an absolutely incredible talk about how he got involved with LGSM in 1984 and he recalled how himself along with a group of queer activists got involved with campaigning for local mining communities. As a result of their activism, at the 1985 Labour Party conference the motion suggesting that the party supports LGBTQ+ rights passed thanks to block voting support from the NUM. This, arguably, is the essence of solidarity and intersectionality; this is the energy I want to bring to the Young Greens.

There are so many different LGBTQ+ experiences that I won’t understand: I am not asexual nor am I aromantic; I will never experience the issues faced by queer people of colour; and I will never experience the issues faced by queer women. However, intersectionality to me is about fighting for everyone; I want to ensure we have campaigning equipment and resources for all aspects of LGBTQ+ liberation, whether it’s running campaigns to help people understand asexuality and aromanticism or campaigns that look at intersex pride. I may not understand the experiences I’ve listed, but I want to ensure my platform is used to help those who do.

I also want to ensure queer young people who want to get involved with the Young Greens are encouraged to do so and are given adequate support. This includes supporting young people who want to stand as candidates in both internal and external elections: these are the voices that matter the most and will bring an intersectional, inclusive perspective to both Green Party/Young Green committees and local authorities.

However, there’s no point skirting around one major issue: there is a problem with transphobia that must be addressed. I believe our party can be the champions of inclusivity in politics, but we must deal with our own issues before we can lead the way. I want to see incidents of transphobia dealt with using clear action taken against those using transphobic rhetoric – this means more than just posting “#TransWomenAreWomen #TransMenAreMen #TransRightsAreHumanRights” on social media. We as queer people are the ones facing the brunt of transphobia – yet when we call it out, we’re ignored. I want to deal with this issue to ensure our voices are not side-lined. I recently found the confidence to come out as trans, but I don’t want other Young Green members to feel they have nobody backing them; I want to be that person to show that we have trans people’s backs.

As I mentioned, I was previously LGBTQ+ officer for the University of York Student’s Union (YUSU). During the two years I was elected as LGBTQ+ officer, I achieved some incredible wins: getting a brand-new inclusive club night (which is now a staple event for the SU), pushing for reform with gender neutral toilets on each campus, even running more social events to ensure queer students can socialise and find their people. This also gave me experience with running a committee and chairing meetings, as well as organising events and campaigns. It was an honour to work as LGBTQ+ officer, but now I want to bring these talents to the Young Greens.

I also had the great privilege in September 2021 to help organise and lead the ‘Gender Revolution’ protest here in York. This was a demonstration that focused on the fact non-binary genders are currently not recognised; the protest was very well attended and raised the important issues surrounding the Gender Recognition Act. Thanks to this demo, we made more residents in York aware of how they can support queer and trans people.

Moreover: I know what works, I know what doesn’t, but most importantly I know the impact of intersectionality and solidarity; therefore, I want to be the Young Greens LGBTIQA+ officer to bring about even more positive change. If you like what you’ve read, I hope I can count on your support!

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