Liberate is the Channel Islands’ equality and diversity charity. We have branches in Jersey and Guernsey, serving islanders in both Bailiwicks.
If you want to find out more about what is happening in Guernsey, please follow this link.
Liberate was formed in February 2014 in Guernsey and in August 2014 in Jersey in order to steer the Channel Islands’ response to the change in UK legislation that brought in equal marriage. Since our formation, we have been involved in consultations with the States of Jersey and Guernsey on equal marriage law and, in Jersey, sex discrimination law, ensuring that the islands’ LGBTQ voice is heard by its governments. Equal marriage legislation has been approved in Jersey, in principle, and expected to be law by the end of 2017.
Together with our partner organisation Trans* Jersey, we have worked to learn from and improve on the UK’s Equality Act in Jersey. As a result, Jersey’s sex discrimination legislation, which came into force in September 2015, includes recognition of intersex as a protected characteristic and protections for all people who are of non-binary gender, not just those who are under medical supervision to transition.
In June 2014, Jersey held a rally to press the States of Jersey for equal marriage. Nearly 1,000 islanders took to the streets after a whirlwind Facebook campaign of a few days. The resulting march was more akin to Pride than a political rally. In September 2015, Liberate was responsible for delivering the first ever Pride to be held in the Channel Islands. Hosted by Jersey, over 3,000 people took part. Liberate built on these numbers in September 2016 with the first pan-island Pride taking place in Guernsey and Jersey. Over 2,000 people attended Guernsey Pride and 5,000 people attended Jersey Pride.
Video made by Jersey residents to celebrate Pride 2015:
September 2016 also saw the first ever Channel Islands Equality & Diversity Awards. These were presented by Liberate and judged by an independent diversity panel. Seven awards were presented including a special award for Social Security’s work on the discrimination legislation and a lifetime achievement award for Daphne Minihane’s work with Age Concern and the Jersey AIDS Relief Group in the 1980s. The response to the awards by the business community was extremely positive and Liberate will look to grow its work in this area over the coming months.
With the successful introduction of anti-discrimination legislation in Jersey, Liberate’s task has shifted from one of consultation to education and we have rolled out a series of talks about gender and sexuality in the workplace that has proved popular with all organisations. A year later, Liberate has delivered over 50 of these one hour talks, free of charge.
Liberate will be bringing new courses online in 2017 to expand its education on equality, diversity and inclusion. It also launched a new DIFERA employer accreditation scheme in May 2017 that demonstrates to employees (past, present and future), to clients and suppliers that the organisation places Diversity, Inclusion, Fairness, Equality, Respect and Acceptance at the heart of what it does.
Liberate’s early strategy was around bringing Jersey’s LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all other identities) community together with a series of social fundraisers that allowed the steering group to gauge the level of support for Liberate and to find out what the community wanted from Liberate in terms of the work to be done. We have hosted club nights, pub quizzes, bingo evenings, a haus party and a film night featuring a documentary about the local artist, Claude Cahun. These events have proved popular with members of the LGBT+ community and their allies.
It is a mark of how far LGBT+ rights have progressed over the last twenty to thirty years that the island cannot make a gay bar sustainable and that our social events are integrated, not segregated, with everyone welcome to attend. Recognising this shift, Liberate has launched a new social group called Out that will be for LGBT+ members exclusively, but will seek to be active within the Channel Islands generally by engaging with community events, fundraising for local causes and getting out and about with a variety of activities.
2017 will also see the introduction of same-sex marriage legislation across the Channel Islands. Liberate was involved in the consultation to make this happen in both Bailiwicks and, to celebrate, CI Pride this year will be on the theme of weddings.