“Every single one of us here in this workshop today has a platform. We all have the power to tell stories that can genuinely and meaningfully make an impact. We all have the opportunity to go away from today with the tools to make that impact within our organisations, so that the LGBT+ community feels seen, feels included and ultimately feels safe.”
As part of the Together Thursdays project, on Thursday 27th January we held a workshop entitled ‘Creating an Inclusive Environment’. The above quote was part of my opening statement during my section of the workshop – ‘The Power of Storytelling’ – and by the end of the workshop, several stories and discussions were held which all left us feeling inspired.
Only acknowledging the LGBT+ community during pride month simply isn’t enough. We need to make sure that there is a thread of inclusivity in everything that we do, and not just for one month of the year.
We have to practice what we preach here at Rural Youth Europe, and since September 2020, we have published podcast episodes, social media posts and held workshops and discussions about how we can all try to make our organisations more inclusive.
By simply asking all the participants during the workshop to include their pronouns after their name, already created a more inclusive environment. For some, these subtle changes won’t hardly be noticed, but others really will appreciate it and feel a lot more comfortable as a result of it.
Sharing Best Practice
We have very proudly shared best practise from our member organisations who are doing incredible work on this topic.
This includes BDL in Germany who set up a working group on the topic. They have held workshops and webinars about the LGBT+ community, as well as launched campaigns to increase LGBT+ visibility within their organisation. You can hear more about this in our podcast episode here.
We also heard about the brilliant LGBTI+ Network setup within Macra Na Feirme in Ireland. They’ve created a safe space, whether online or physically, for people within the LGBT community to not only meet up and have open conversations, but also put forward statements, share best practices and encourage LGBT+ inclusivity within the wider farming sector. They are an incredibly proactive group. You can hear more about this network from MEP Maria Walsh, in our podcast episode here.
Here is what some of the participants had to say following the workshop:
“It is important to build LGBTQIA+ awareness in rural areas, in order for queer people to feel at home and accepted and not escape to the cities. Queer is an adjective and does not define the whole person. We have queer people in rural areas and it’s a shame that not everyone can be open about it for fear of not being accepted and excluded.
“It’s a shame that still not all queer people (in rural areas) can be open about being queer for fear of being excluded and not accepted for who they are.”
Macra na Feirme LGBTQ+ Network
“It was with great pride (pun intended!) that members of our Macra na Feirme LGBTQ+ Network attended the Rural Youth Europe (RYE) Workshop ‘Creating an Inclusive Environment’, which dealt with the topic of LGBTQ+ inclusion. It was wonderful to connect with RYE LGBTQ+ members and allies from all over Europe, on Zoom. Sincere thanks to the organisers for hosting an excellent workshop.”
Next week we will be publishing a second blog post on this topic, which will feature all the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ gathered by the participants during the workshop. This should be a really useful material for everyone wanting to create a more inclusive environment within their organisation, so keep an eye out!
This week’s blog was put together by Dan Grist, Rural Youth Europe’s Communications Officer
This blog is part of the Together Thursdays project, co funded by the European Union.