Campaigning for change
Rosie talks about how the Stonewall Youth Campaigning Programme and a NUS LGBT conference inspired her to set up a LGBT Society at Bradford University.
TRANSCRIPTI can remember Bradford being my… the place where I, I realized that things either were happening on a small scale or they weren’t happening and I could be part of making them happen. So, I guess I started to realise this. There were two big things that made a big difference to my life, to what I helped to make happen in Bradford, I guess. One of them was, I went on the Stonewall Youth Campaigning Programme and it was sort of my… I pegged it as my year of ‘saying yes’ and I’ll do everything. So, I applied to go on the Youth Campaign, the campaigning programme and I got accepted to do that and it was really excited that I was able to be a part of this Youth Campaigning thing, so I went on that and that was probably around 6 years ago that I did that and met a lot of other LGBT young people which I think it was up to the age of 21. I met some really strong friends through that and we spent a weekend on a residential discussing… looking at different ways you can campaign to get LGBT equality across the, mostly… well it was education we looking at and looking at the different campaigns that you can do to get that recognition. And I met so many inspiring people and so many people that had done so many things I'd never even heard of or even thought of, just… it opened my eyes to a whole new world that I just wasn’t aware of at all and other issues that other people faced in different areas. So, that was sort of I came back from that and I worked really hard on creating workshops for kids in secondary schools in Year Eight and I had sort of a learning mentor through that campaign programme who helped me to create this delivery. I went back to my old secondary school and I delivered it to kids in there and I worked hard on getting my old school on board and that was sort of my entry into educating people and delivering workshops and delivering training and I ended up winning the youth campaigner of the year award that year. That just pushed me to do more & more & more, because I didn’t feel like I’d done very much but I’d still done enough to win an award so I thought, ‘oh I can do so much more than this’.
So, that happened in that year but what also happened in that year was I went on the NUS LGBT conference, which is for the colleges and universities and all the LGBT societies to go on the conference to talk about the different policies and stuff that’s happening- I had no idea what was going on. There was a guy who was the LGBT officer at Bradford and he just said ‘Yeah, you can come along to this with me’. So, I just followed him along to Manchester and I didn’t see him for the rest of the weekend and made some more friends there and saw what was happening and saw what LGBT societies could do and saw what the support groups could do.
RE: I met my first non-binary person, I met trans people and discovered the issues that trans people faced and those sort of different diverse identities and people of colour, people of faith and being LGBT and all of these things. I spent a weekend and I got so excited by everything, and those two things happened within about 6 months of each other, and so I sort of took it upon myself from there to make our LGBT society in Bradford happen because nothing was happening. So, I… you know, made a non-drinking space, I made a learning space, I got trans speakers in, I got people to come and talk about sexual health, I got MESMAC to come in and do HIV testing at the University and at the same time I was delivering lectures to social work students around being inclusive of LGBT people in their work. I set up events for LGBT history month and just so many things happened from those two things in six months, it just sort of set me on my way really. It was just so exciting to get that inspiration from these sorts of national places and see what people are doing nationally and to sort of bring my little part of it to Bradford and join all of that. I’d got loads of material to take to BLAGY [LGBT youth group] and to help deliver sessions with Jonathan at BLAGY and from there I managed to get some paid work with MESMAC. So, that was about… it was maybe about 5 years ago that I managed to get paid work with them which was doing some one-to-one support for LGBT people, it was doing some online work, going into schools and setting up groups in schools and offering assemblies to young people in schools and things like that so I sort of managed to get some paid work from MESMAC from having done all the stuff that was going on nationally I guess… yeah [laughter].