LGBT History Month – The Importance of Role Models

Having visible LGBT role models can have a transformative impact on creating a truly inclusive workplace and society.

Stonewall’s guide, Role Models: Being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender in Wales, features inspirational stories from a diverse range of people from different backgrounds working in different areas. You will recognise a couple of them!

Stonewall have also published LGBT voices, a collection of personal stories from LGBT people who have lived through inequalities and experiences rarely reflected on television, in books, in films or in schools.

It is of course important to note that different LGBT groups will have different role models. The Pride Power List 2016 contains a diverse selection of LGBT role models: male, female, non-binary, trans, disabled, Black, Asian, people of faith, older people, and people from a range of backgrounds and careers.

Here, some members of our LGBT workplace network explain why role models are important to them:

“The people I have a lot of respect for are the people who are prepared to go that one step further and put their head above the parapet and challenge the status quo. You shouldn’t underestimate the impact that visibility makes to people. It makes a difference to people when it’s not abstract anymore. There are still a lot of stereotypical ideas so a diverse range of role models is important. I want to be part of creating a modern Wales, a Wales that’s representative.” Hannah Blythyn, AM

“It’s important to have diverse role models; one person is not the totality of gay experience.” Rhys Morgan, Translation and Reporting Service

“It’s very important that there are visible LGBT people within the organisation, that people see that being from a minority group hasn’t hindered peoples’ ability to reach senior levels. We have young people who say it took three years to come out in their previous organisation and three weeks here. If you’ve reached a position of success, if you can inspire someone else, if you can lead by example, you should.” Craig Stephenson, Director of Commission Services and Co-Chair of OUT-NAW

“I think role models help show that it is ok to be you.  They show you that there should be no limits on who you can be and what you can achieve.  The more role models there are and the more diversity they represent, the more we can break down barriers and challenge misconceptions.” Lisa Bowkett, Head of Finance and Co-Chair of OUT-NAW.

LGBT History Month – what progress we’ve made!

Photograph of Claire Clancy wearing a rainbow garland to prepare for Pride Cymru

By Claire Clancy, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Assembly

Since I joined the Assembly in 2007, I have seen a tremendous amount of change in making the Assembly more inclusive.

As this is my last LGBT History Month in the Assembly I have been reflecting specifically on how far we have come in our support of LGBT people and the promotion of LGBT equality. Over the years, we have won many awards for this work, we have increased our outreach, attended more events, reviewed and enhanced policies, provided training and raised awareness to make us a more inclusive employer.

We are very lucky to have an excellent workplace network in OUT-NAW and a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion Team who work extremely hard to further LGBT equality. I would like to take this opportunity to publically thank them for their work.

During my time here, I have had lots of conversations with Craig, co-chair of OUT-NAW, about how we can continue to make progress. I’m very happy to say that I was the first person to sign up to the Allies programme.

Last summer, I had lots of fun joining the network and LGBT Allies at the Pride March through the streets of Cardiff. It was a wonderful experience to see so many people celebrating diversity and inclusion.

I am proud of everything that we have achieved and I am proud to be an ally. I look forward to following the continued success of the Assembly. See you at Pride!

Logo with a rainbow that reads Proud to an Allylogo for LGBT History Month 2017logo for Stonewall's Top 100 employers 2017     logo for OUT NAW the Assembly's LGBT workplace network

photo of Assembly staff at Pridephoto of LGBT staff and allies with the rainbow flag

LGBT History Month – Proud to be an LGBT Ally

Logo with a rainbow that reads Proud to an Ally

There has been massive social changes that have resulted in legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the UK. However, there remain challenges and battles, not only in the UK but across the world. Discrimination and prejudice are still suffered by LGBT people, and there are particular difficulties around the support and protection of transgender people, in schools, in prisons, in workplaces and on the street.

Allies recognise that it’s not just the responsibility of LGBT people to create an inclusive culture. The action they take can range from being a leader of an organisation that puts LGBT equality at the heart of their work to being a junior member of staff who challenges homophobic banter amongst colleagues.

Below, some of our colleagues outline why being an LGBT ally is important to them.

“I have a gay brother and I’ve seen first-hand some of the struggles he’s had through school and into adulthood.  It’s always struck me as unfair the way some people try to use a person’s sexuality against them.  I’m proud of the Assembly’s achievements on LGBT equality and how an inclusive and diverse working culture can create a great place to work. For all of these reasons, I became an Ally.”

“It’s important for me to support my colleagues by being an Ally of OUT-NAW because I believe that everyone deserves the right to be happy and comfortable in their workplace. Becoming an ally of the LGBT network was the natural thing to do for me, since we don’t need a stage to be who we are. Life is not an audition, and to quote the chorus of that memorable song, taken from La Cage Aux Folles: Life’s not worth a damn ‘til you can say, Hey World, I am what I am.”

“Signing up to the allies programme didn’t require any thought. For me, it’s about personal values and a lesson learnt early about treating others in a way you would want to be treated. People don’t leave who they are at the door when they come to work, and that’s the motivation for me and why it’s important to be an ally. We all adopt personas in the workplace to some extent, but not being able to be yourself, on a fundamental level, is something I would not want to tolerate. So I support LGBT equality because I can’t think of a single reason not to.”

“LGBT people are our doctors, our nurses, our police officer, our family, our friends. They are Muslim, Christian, atheist. They are Black, White, Asian. They are disabled. They are young and old. They are male, female and everything in between. As the late MP Jo Cox said, “we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us”, and as long as there is a fight for LGBT equality, I will stand by their side as an ally.”

“I didn’t think twice before becoming an Ally. I was going to say that ‘I think everyone has the right to be themselves’ but I don’t think that, I know that! Everyone does have the right to be themselves. Sexuality doesn’t define you as a person, relationships and friendships are about love, not gender. And in the words of Lady Gaga – “No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive.”

“I’m proud to work at the Assembly, because of the work that we do, and because of the contribution that we make for the people of Wales. I became an ally of Out-NAW in my first week at the Assembly because it’s important to me that the people I work with can be themselves, without fear or prejudice, and can feel equally proud of the Assembly as an inclusive, welcoming employer. Working here feels honest, diverse, and celebratory – great stuff!”

For more information on our LGBT network, our allies or about LGBT-inclusion within the Assembly, please contact the Diversity and Inclusion Team.

Further information and tips on how allies can help to create an LGBT-inclusive workplace are available in Stonewall’s workplace guide.

logo for OUT NAW the Assembly's LGBT workplace network

The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister swaps Cardiff Bay for Carmarthen

The Assembly Committee responsible for scrutiny of the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, will examine the approach to reducing poverty in Wales and other issues in the West Wales region.

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The First Minister Carwyn Jones will be appearing before the Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister on Friday, 17 February at 11.00 in the Halliwell Centre, Carmarthen.

What does the committee do?

The Assembly has several committees made up of Assembly Members from different political parties to look at different subjects in detail, i.e. health, education and culture. One of their functions is to investigate whether the Welsh Government is doing a good job.

They do this by asking for views from the public and by getting input from experts, charities and other organisations. They also regularly question Welsh Government  Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First of the Minister meets once a term and (as the name suggests) looks specifically at what the First Minister is doing. The chair of the Committee is the Deputy Presiding Officer Ann Jones AM. All of the Assembly Members in this committee are also currently chairs of other committees.

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister – Membership

Ann Jones AM (Chair) Welsh Labour  Jayne Bryant AM Welsh Labour
Huw Irranca-Davies AM Welsh Labour Russell George AM Welsh Conservatives
John Griffiths AM Welsh Labour Mike Hedges AM Welsh Labour
Bethan Jenkins AM Plaid Cymru Dai Lloyd AM Plaid Cymru
Lynne Neagle AM Welsh Labour Nick Ramsay AM Welsh Conservatives
Mark Reckless AM UKIP Wales David Rees AM Welsh Labour
 Simon Thomas AM Plaid Cymru

What does the First Minister do?

The First Minister of Wales is the leader of the Welsh Government and is appointed by HM The Queen following nomination by Assembly Members in the Senedd.

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The First Minister’s responsibilities include:

  • appointing the Cabinet who comprise the Welsh Government;
  • chairing Cabinet meetings;
  • leading policy development and delivery;
  • managing relationships with the rest of the UK and internationally;
  • representing the people of Wales on official business, and
  • staffing of the Welsh Government.

What will the Committee be discussing this time?

For this meeting the Committee will be focusing on the Welsh Government’s vision and approach to reducing poverty in Wales.  Read more about the issue.

The Committee would also like to discuss other major issues in the West Wales region. If you have an issue you’d like to raise, you can suggest a topic in advance.

How can I watch?

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You are welcome to come and watch the Committee proceedings in person. Let us know via our booking line. If you are local to Carmarthen or live in the West Wales area you can also suggest topics for discussion in advance.

If you can’t make it in person, the meeting will be available to watch very soon afterwards on Senedd.TV.

Continue reading “The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister swaps Cardiff Bay for Carmarthen”

Holocaust Memorial Day 2012 – 27 January 2017

logo for holocaust memorial dayOn Holocaust Memorial Day we share the memory of the millions who have been murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. HMD provides an opportunity for everyone to learn lessons from the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides and apply them to the present day to challenge hatred and persecution and create a safer, better future.

Click here to find out about events taking place across Wales.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 theme: How can life go on?.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust have produced a short film that challenges us to think about how we can support those who face hostility today and create a safer society together.

Below are some quotes from genocide survivors about the aftermath, their response and concerns for the future. These are taken from the HMD website.

“For the survivor death is not the problem. Death was an everyday occurrence. We learned to live with Death. The problem is to adjust to life, to living. You must teach us about living.” Elie Wiesel – author and survivor of the Holocaust

“‘The sight of someone dressed entirely in black would also trigger a memory – the uniforms of the Khmer Rouge. And for a moment it could paralyse me as if I was under a spell… Memories seep back to me in ways I hadn’t imagined.” Chanrithy Him – survivor of the Genocide in Cambodia

“Sometimes there is nothing you can do about a particular individual or the situation. Therefore retaining the anger in your heart continues to bring pain and bitterness to you and may affect your children in future. Forgiveness is therefore not for the other person, but for you who are bitter. When you forgive, you heal yourself.” Jean Paul Samputu – survivor of the Genocide in Rwanda and musician

“I’m afraid that Europe is forgetting its past and that Auschwitz is only sleeping. Anti-Gypsy threats, policies and actions worry me greatly and make me very sad.” Ceija Stojka – Roma Auchwitz survivor

Policy internships for PhD students

Did you know that the National Assembly for Wales participates in the Research Councils UK Phd student policy internship scheme

Find out more about the experience Eleanor Warren Thomas had as an intern in the National Assembly for Wales Research Service by reading her post on the Research Service blog, In Brief.


We employ people with a range of skills in departments across the organisation including: Facilities, Visitor Relations, Communications, Finance, ICT, Research, Security and Translation:

Current vacancies

Work experience placements

Work for an Assembly Member

 

Woman writes in notebook at an informal meeting

 

Encouraging public participation in the work of the Assembly

Improving engagement with the people of Wales is a big priority for us at the Assembly, and increasingly we have been doing this by involving people in discussions with Assembly committees on issues they are passionate about.

This plays an important role in helping Assembly committees scrutinise the Welsh Government, but recently we have been looking into what affect these participation projects have on those citizens involved.

The Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee’s inquiry into Business Rates saw small businesses from different parts of Wales take part in video interviews with outreach officers. Their contributions were shown to Assembly Members and helped inform the Committee’s scrutiny work.

Having taken part in the video interview, and having received updates from Assembly staff on the results of their contribution, participants were asked if they felt that they had the opportunity to express their views, and given the opportunity, would they take part in an activity like this again.

They were also asked to state how much they agreed or disagreed with the following statements before they took part, and how they felt about the same statements having taken part:

  • People like me don’t have a say in the decisions the National Assembly for Wales makes;
  • I have the confidence and information needed to get involved in politics;
  • I know what role the National Assembly for Wales plays in making sure the Welsh Government is doing its job properly;
  • I pay a lot of attention to Welsh politics;
  • The National Assembly for Wales is essential to our democracy;
  • I know what decisions get made in Wales by the National Assembly for Wales;
  • I will vote in an upcoming National Assembly for Wales election.

This was the first time we have measured the effect of participation in one of our engagement initiatives from the participants’ perspective, the results of which showed us that all participants would take part again if given the opportunity, and that they felt that they had the opportunity to express their views. The most significant change in perception when comparing the responses before and after taking part were evident with the following statements:

  • ‘People like me don’t have a say in the decisions the National Assembly for Wales’: none of the participants disagreed with this statement before taking part, compared to 67% who disagreed with the statement having taken part.
  • ‘I have the confidence and information needed to get involved in politics’: half of the participants disagreed with this statement before taking part, where as 88% agreed with this statement after taking part.

Our intention is to seek to gather this type of information for the range of different engagement initiatives we deliver here, in order for us to understand their effectiveness and improve our offer in the future.

Read more: Public engagement at the National Assembly for Wales featured in a recent post on the Parliaments and Legislatures blog by Kevin Davies and Cristina Leston-Bandeira.

Kevin Davies is Senior Public Engagement Manager at the National Assembly for Wales.

Stay up to date with what’s happening at the Assembly – we have a number of social media channels you can follow.


How easy is it to contribute to our work? What changes could we make to encourage more people to get more involved?

We are running a user needs survey until Friday 10 February 2017 and would love to hear your ideas.