Liberate have been listening to feedback from the LGBT+ community in Jersey and we know that many of you would like Liberate to create a means for the LGBT+ community to meet. This is something that we would also very much like to see happen as we receive regular enquiries from people, who are newly out or are visitors to the island, about where they might go to meet other LGBT+ people, not necessarily for dating purposes (although that is one reason!), but sometimes for a chat or a bit of support from people who understand.
As a small charity, we are unable to carry the financial risk involved in providing a permanent physical space. We also know that the business model of a “gay bar” no longer works for various reasons, which is why they are closing across the UK and why, ten or more years ago, it was no longer viable for one to continue in Jersey where the population of potential customers is even smaller than the UK.
We have put our thinking caps on and are looking to gather expressions of interest in the following proposition:
We would like to create an exclusively LGBT+ association called “Out”. The only exclusive thing about it would be that it would be for LGBT+ members; otherwise, it would be completely inclusive of race, age, ability, religion, marital status (it would not be just for singles!) and any other identity.
We would like to hold weekly meetings of Out, starting at 7.30pm until 9pm (unless it was a special meeting) – day to be decided by popular vote. Ordinary meetings might consist of listening to an invited speaker, planning a fundraising event for a charitable cause, sharing information about things that are happening to the LGBT+ community at home and abroad, doing a craft activity together. Special meetings might consist of a meal at a restaurant, a guided walk (in summer), a theatre or cinema trip, a sporting tournament (eg. pool, table tennis, darts), a board games evening (in winter), a quiz night, a straight allies’ night etc.
The programme of activities would be up to the Out committee and Out members to decide. There would be a minimal annual membership fee to cover admin and then members would only pay for any activities they attended that had a cost. New members could attend three meetings before deciding if they wanted to pay a membership fee to join.
We think this could work because this model for an association continues to endure and prove popular with all sorts of exclusive groups from the WI to the Scouts to the Freemasons. There is no similarly global movement for LGBT+ people and we think that it is time that there was. (Not that we are suggesting Out goes global immediately!)
The LGBT+ community no longer need to hide from the law and are an integrated part of society now, but they do have distinct interests as a group that are different from the non-LGBT+ population. Out would provide a new space in a way that recognises that LGBT+ people have other interests, just like everyone else, and that they deserve to have a publicly visible club that enables them to contribute to society, just as other groups do.
The Discrimination (Jersey) Law permits discrimination by clubs and associations on the grounds of a protected characteristic (and this would be discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender reassignment) if you have at least 25 members. So, we need to know that there are at least 25 people out there who would like to be the first members of Out and, who knows, maybe be there at the start a little bit of history!
If you think this is something that you would genuinely be interested in joining, please click here to register your interest. (Registration is open until 24 September)