Our International Officer Natacha Kennedy reports from the relaunch of Rainbow Rose.
A rather long day on the 23rd Oct. getting the first Eurostar out and the last Eurostar back, enabled me to take part in the official setting up of the Rainbow Rose organisation which will bring together all the Socialist and Social Democrat parties in Europe. Although Rainbow Rose had existed in notional form before the last Euro elections it was not a formal organisation and as such one needed to be formed which could campaign in next year's Euros and beyond, and which can subsequently influence EU policy .
And our own James Asser was elected as one of the interim executive members who will oversee the organisation through its initial stages for the first two years. There was plenty of lively discussion as those important details of the organisations rules and constitution were thrashed out. Probably the most contentious issue was a proposal by some of the Irish contingent; that out of the seven members of the first executive board proper, when it is finally elected in 2015 must be either women or trans. There was good natured, but passionate discussion from both sides but in the end this amendment was carried by a significant majority. As a trans woman I am particularly glad that this proposal was adopted and will form part of Rainbow Rose's constitution. It was significant that at least half of those voting for it were male delegates.
The EU may not appear to be the issue uppermost in LGBT people's minds but in my opinion it can be a vital force for good. We heard from one of the delegates from Italy who told us that there is no LGBT anti-discrimination legislation there at all. It is significant that, at Trans Day of Remembrance there were more murders of trans people in Italy than the rest of Europe combined this year. In the UK we are in a relatively fortunate situation as regards anti-discrimination protection. Rainbow Rose will enable us to help LGBT people in other parts of Europe who are not so fortunate. It is also important that we campaign to get the Labour vote out for the Euro elections next year, as there could conceivably be a far-right majority in Brussels with UKIP forming alliances with some very unsavoury and highly homophobic and transphobic bigots in far-right parties from other countries."