Updated: Feb 9
It was meant to be the UK government's first ever international LGBT+ event due to take place in June 2022, however following the government’s controversial decision not to include protections for transgender people under conversion therapy ban, the Safe To Be Me Conference was widely boycotted.
ReportOUT, who were invited to be part of the conference, having heard the u-turn to not to include transgender people as part of the government’s policies, were left with no other option but to be the first organisation to withdraw their support for the conference.
One by one organisations and sponsors who were angered and disappointed followed suit as all had lost confidence and trust in the government to finally lead the way on empowering LGBTQI+ voices. What should have been a positive step, instead became a moment of deep sadness and hurt.
Fast forward to 2023 and even more determined to empower the voices of all parts of the LGBTQI+ community, ReportOUT in partnership with the University of Sunderland have announced the Safer To Be Me Symposium which will take place on 22nd June 2023 at Sunderland University in the North East of England.
The symposium will create a safe space where some of the most important issues facing international LGBTQI+ human rights can be explored and discussed in great detail, as well as encouraging a call to action where all involved can identify meaningful ways to be proactive and make a powerful impact.
Commenting on the Symposium, Drew Dalton, Chair of ReportOUT and Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Sunderland said:
“It is thrilling to see this Symposium happen! This partnership between ReportOUT volunteers, staff at the University of Sunderland, and students, has been so exciting to pull together. This Symposium is sorely needed at a time when the global rights of sexual and gender minorities are on a precipice. Whilst we see countries dropping like dominoes in terms of decriminalising same sex activity and the voices of our community being louder than ever, we are also seeing a well-organised global fightback with punitive laws being enacted such as Uganda, growing transphobia in Europe, and camps for LGBTQI+ people in Chechnya.
This Symposium will bring together academics, activists, civil society leaders and organisations to develop a Research and Knowledge Exchange group which will live long after the Symposium itself, to work together to find solutions to the human rights abuses and development needs of sexual and gender minorities. It is time for #SaferToBeMe to ring out loud. We cannot wait to see you there!”
Guaranteed to be one of the leading and important events of its kind to take place, not just in the North East but the UK, ReportOUT and Sunderland University are leading the way in doing what the UK Government failed to do. More details on the Safer To Be Symposium will be announced in due course!
Remember to subscribe to the official ReportOUT where tickets will be announced in March.