by Liberal Democrats on Tue, 23 Jul 2019
Inequality in life expectancy increased between 2012-14 to 2015-17 (the latest data available). In England, life expectancy at birth in the most deprived areas is 9.4 years less for men and 7.4 years less for women than in the least deprived areas.
Life expectancy hasn’t risen at all in the most disadvantaged places (Source: ONS)Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Robin Rea on Tue, 23 Jul 2019
This spring we ran a huge European election campaign - in which we ran our most sophisticated digital operation yet.
And yesterday, we elected Jo Swinson as our new leader of the Liberal Democrats.Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Sir Ed Davey MP on Tue, 23 Jul 2019
Well, that was close then!
Can I start by thanking you, the members. I enjoyed meeting you across the country, hearing how your campaigns are going and what matters to you.Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Jo Swinson on Mon, 22 Jul 2019
Thank you all so much.
I am delighted, honoured, absolutely over the moon to stand before you as the leader of the Liberal Democrats.
And as the first woman to lead our party.Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Jo Swinson on Mon, 22 Jul 2019
I love this party.
I was just 17 when I became a Liberal Democrat. Honestly, if you'd have told me that I’d one day get the chance to write this post as the party's new leader I wouldn't have believed you.Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Vince Cable on Sat, 20 Jul 2019
A decade ago we all knew that there was an economic crisis. Banks were collapsing. Credit was drying up. Bankruptcies. Job losses. Escalating budget deficits. A big drop in the currency. You didn’t need a Nobel Prize in economics to realise that something was terribly amiss. It was the biggest financial crisis in over a century, and the biggest drop in production and incomes since the interwar period.
Six years on: the end of the Coalition.
Were we still in crisis mode or not? On the one hand: a rapid recovery in the economy; a big drop in unemployment; lots of investment, business start-ups and general optimism. But also wages (accounting for inflation) lower than before the crisis, the pain of years of cuts in public spending; austerity.
We are now in a very unusual economic environment.
My preferred metaphor was that the economy had suffered the economic equivalent of a heart attack. It had survived but was still attached to the life-saving drip feed of ultra-cheap and abundant artificial money.
Then to the EU referendum.
Armageddon didn’t happen. But there was the biggest devaluation since the war and subsequent cuts in living standards from the cost of imported goods. A lot of uncertainty, leading three years later to the present state of extreme political uncertainty, paralysis of decision-making in government and Parliament and investors stalling on investment.
We are now in a very unusual economic environment which doesn’t easily fit with what most of us see taught or teach, and appears in economic textbooks.
First of all, there appears to be emerging, based on particular data, a recession defined as two successive quarters of falling output. But it is an economy very close to full employment. The popular view of recession is of slump and long dole queues. That may be to come. But we seem to be entering a different kind of recession in which output falls, not because of a lack of demand-spending, but because of restrictions in supply: labour and skill shortages; lack of ability or willingness by companies to invest in the capacity to produce more goods and services.
The likelihood is that what we are seeing is a pre-slump.
The big shock of a ‘no deal’ or ‘hard’ Brexit – if a new PM were to succeed in making it happen – will produce a very sharp fall in the economy. The new enthusiasm from leading Conservatives, as well as Labour, for populist, deficit financed budgets will further erode confidence in the economy.
The Bank of England will be under intense pressure both to raise interest rates to stop currency collapse and to cut them further to keep the economy afloat: an acute dilemma which could open the way to a more politically pliant Governor, and further loss of confidence.
Mr Johnson may be leading us into a wasted decade.
As the currency tumbles, import costs rise cutting living standards. With weak domestic spending, little investment, EU markets disappearing and other overseas markets closing because of trade and currency warfare we are then set fair for a full-scale slump. Add in some highly leveraged companies and property and - still- high government debt levels, the risks are increased and the freedom to manoeuvre reduced.
Mr Johnson may be leading us into a ‘wasted decade’ worse than the financial crisis.
On a personal level I have been preparing for the handover to a new party leader.
A lot of warm words and genuine affection from colleagues, party activists and members of the public who give me credit for going out on a high, with the prospects for a big breakthrough for the party after the local and Euro elections.
I have been undertaking a final round of leader’s visits across the country, celebrating the real heroes of our campaigning and our success – the grassroots activists.
I have been to Brecon where a major by-election victory is within grasp. Then to Coventry to visit the massive Bhattacharya centre at Warwick University, where 1000 engineers are working on a new generation of electrical and autonomous vehicles: this is one of the really solid Coalition legacies from the industrial strategy and the catapult network. And finally to the Westcountry, to Taunton and Wells in Somerset where the Lib Dem revival is in full swing and parliamentary gains for Gideon Amos and Tessa Munt are in prospect.
On Monday, we shall know who our new leader is.
I look forward to working with them, and with members all round the country, to build on our present success, to stop Brexit and to bring about a liberal, social democratic, internationalist Britain of which we can all be proud.Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by James Lillis on Fri, 19 Jul 2019
Polling week is coming up and we need you in Brecon and Radnorshire to help us win and get Jane Dodds elected to Parliament.
It's incredibly helpful for the team if we know where volunteers are going so we can best prepare leaflets, canvassing packs and clerical work.
So RSVP here to let us know when you can join us.
Join us on the final weekend
Or join us on polling week
If you can't be here, can you help by making some calls from home?
Or chip in £5 to help us win in Brecon and Radnorshire!
Thank you!Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Dan Schmeising on Thu, 18 Jul 2019
Do you know someone special who deserves to be recognized for their service to the party? Yes, it's party awards time again!
Every year at Autumn Conference we hand out prestigious party awards to members who have done some of the most outstanding work in the party. Going above and beyond the call of duty time and time again.
But, as always, we need you to nominate the people that you think are blazing the way in the party. The deadline for nominations is the 24th July and the nomination and submission details are available here:
There are four awards.
The President's Award is open to any party member elected to public office and who has demonstrated excellence and commitment over the years.
The Harriet Smith Liberal Democrat Distinguished Service Award is open to any member never elected to public office who has demonstrated longstanding and outstanding service to the party.
For both these awards, the panel will be looking for outstanding commitment and service to the party. We are seeking people who deserve recognition for their hard work, long service and demonstrable dedication to the party at any level.
The Belinda Eyre-Brooks Award is given to recognize and celebrate the efforts of people who work for our elected representatives in their local areas – from local party employees to political assistants to council groups, to people working in MP’s constituency offices.
The Dadabhai Naoroji Award is presented to the local party that has done the most to promote BAME participants to elected office as councillors, Assembly Members, MP’s, MSP or MEPs. Please note – this award is to a local party, not to an individual, so please think about those local parties that are making a great effort to involve different communities in their work. Regions and States nominate local parties, so tell them of a local party who should be nominated.
Also awarded is the Patsy Calton Award, in memory of the brilliant former MP for Cheadle, the details for the award can be found here: http://www.libdemwomen.org.uk/patsy_calton_awardRead this article on www.libdems.org →
by Greg Foster on Thu, 18 Jul 2019
There's just four days left to cast your ballot in the Liberal Democrat leadership election.
All ballots must be cast by 1pm on Monday 22nd July to count.
It's quick and easy to vote - all you need are your Unique Voting code - which has been emailed or posted to you - and this website: https://www.mi-vote.com/Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Dan Schmeising on Tue, 16 Jul 2019
This time next week, Vince Cable will be the former leader of the Liberal Democrats.
Ballots close at 1pm on Monday 22nd July. That means you have six days to have your say on where our party goes next.
Later that day, either Ed Davey or Jo Swinson will be announced as our party's new leader. They're both fantastic candidates and either would make a fine leader for the Lib Dems going forward. You can find out more about their plans for our party here:
Our new leader will inherit a much stronger party. We have nearly 800 more councillors, 15 new MEPs and we're surging in the polls. We have over 10,000 new members in the last 2 months alone - it's a great time to be a Liberal Democrat.
Bumped into our @LibDems leadership candidates @joswinson & @EdwardJDavey whilst at the BBC recording The Week In Westminster (here 22mins in https://t.co/Lh42OqJ8F2). Our contest has been thoughtful, respectful and full of optimism - compare and contrast to the Tory shambles! pic.twitter.com/DR4cHs3t6J— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) July 14, 2019
That makes this leadership election important. Politics is in flux - with the way things are going you could well be electing our next Prime Minister. It's important you have your say.
Haven't had your vote yet? Get in contact - it's not too late to have your say. Email us at [email protected] and we'll get you sorted out.
by Jane Dodds on Tue, 16 Jul 2019
It's been equal parts incredible, exhausting and humbling to be at the centre of a massive Lib Dem parliamentary by-election.Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Irina von Wiese on Sat, 13 Jul 2019
After a time-warp 6 week campaign, an 18 hour polling day marathon and an incredible win on 26 May, the sixteen of us went to Brussels in June to take up our new positions as MEPs. You might have heard about the furore we caused!
The Liberal Democrat cohort are sworn in as MEPs. If you like our tshirts, you can get your own here
Between setting up offices in Brussels, Strasbourg and home constituencies, hiring staff, filling in forms and receiving hundreds of messages, we ran from meeting to meeting and started to home in on key policy targets.
For me, that meant fulfilling a lifetime passion for human rights work. In my previous life, I had volunteered for a number of charities and hosted refugees. But my day job did not allow me enough time to make a real impact. Being an MEP enables me to work with private organisations, governments and individuals from all over the world to drive an agenda of change. We have the power, and the responsibility to speak up for the weakest members of society - those who have been displaced, discriminated against or persecuted by their own governments. As Vice Chair of the Human Rights Committee, I am determined to fight for their rights.
I'm also delighted about what The Express have called the "Lib Dems EU Takeover" - our own Chris Davies and Lucy Nethsingha have both been elected committee chairs, of the Fisheries and Legal Affairs committees respectively.
Apart from committee work, there is so much else I want to do: a Young Visitors programme for UK apprentices, an arts competition for school children, and a series of documentaries about some of the many unknown EU-driven benefits to London citizens.
Of course, none of this possible if we leave the EU. Brexit hanging over us like a dark cloud, and the prospect of a sudden end to our dreams is tough. Surely, few others have a more pressing personal as well as political incentive to Stop Brexit than the sixteen of us. That's why we were elected, that's what we promised to do and with your help, we will do.
Best wishes from the EurostarRead this article on www.libdems.org →
by Sal Brinton on Sat, 13 Jul 2019
As I write this on Friday, I am about to set off for Brecon and Radnorshire, to help the brilliant Jane Dodds campaign in the by-election. It will be my third visit since the Recall petition first started. Make no bones about it, Jane is a brilliant candidate and our team there is outstanding, but we need more people to help over the next few weeks: we have a tough fight on our hands in a very rural seat. We need more people to help deliver leaflets, knock on doors and help with clerical work. Please, please, come and help. Postal votes land on doorsteps, and we need to call on postal voters this coming weekend, before many voters go on holiday.
Jane is a good friend. As Leader of the Welsh Lib Dems she has been reinvigorating the party, and we need her in Parliament in Westminster. Please do whatever you can to come and help!
On your behalf I attended the Executive Committee of ALDE (our European sister party alliance) in Zurich at the end of June. We were celebrating the wonderful success of liberals in the European Parliament elections, and planning for the next five years. Leaders of our sister parties were absolutely delighted that our result with 16 brilliant MEPs helped secure that result, and they join us in believing that we can stop Brexit. It was uplifting to know so many politicians across Europe are fighting with us.
And last weekend, again on your behalf, I was at the Liberal International Executive Committee in London. It was a pleasure to welcome members of our 47 sister parties from around the world and to train and learn from each other in campaign techniques, as well as conduct our usual business. But for me, as ever, I was heartened with the stories of those liberal politicians across the world for whom democracy is a constant battle against autocracy and dictatorship.
I met colleagues again from our sister party in Cambodia (the Cambodian National Rescue Party) whose Leader, Kem Sokha, has been imprisoned by the Prime Minister Hun Sen. Our colleagues are living in exile, at risk of attacks, with reports of torture and killings inside Cambodia. These brave people aren’t just fighting for their beliefs, for some they are fighting for their democracy and their lives. We stand strong beside them and will continue to do whatever we can to help them.
Glad to offer support to our Cambodian sister party, asking the Cambodian Gvt to free Kem Sokha, President of CNRP, from detention and to allow his colleagues to return and take part in politics without fear of arrest or worse. @liberalinternat @LibDems #humanrights pic.twitter.com/e9S1AGNmfE— SalBrinton (@SalBrinton) July 6, 2019
I hope that you all get a good break over the summer - after the Brecon and Radnorshire polling day on 1 August! - and come back fighting fit for the Autumn. A new Prime Minister will not change the arithmetic in Parliament, and we need to continue to fight to stop Brexit. Who knows what will happen? I know one thing: the Liberal Democrats are resurgent because of you and your hard work. We remain at over 20% in the polls, and everything has changed. Let’s keep campaigning, growing and winning!Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Sir Ed Davey MP on Fri, 12 Jul 2019
Climate change, liberalism, winning. That is my pitch to be leader in four words.
As a party we have led the national debate on Brexit, and become the clear rallying point for remain voters. The result was amazing. Our best ever result in a European Election. First place in London. Beating the Conservatives in every region in the UK, and the Labour Party across the country. The Lib Dems are back in the game.
Our recent success shows the roadmap to winning again – completely owning an issue like stopping Brexit. And as Leader, stopping Brexit would be my number one priority.
But if and when we do stop Brexit we need another issue to demonstrate our Liberal values in action. In the same way we are a beacon of light for Remainers everywhere, I want us to become the rallying point for the sensible majority of the country who are rightly alarmed by the threat that the climate emergency poses to our very existence.
In Government, I championed renewable energy. We didn’t just increase its market share- we quadrupled it. But I know that we need to do so much more to tackle the climate emergency. We need to invest in communities to bring jobs and prosperity to our country as a whole, and lead the world as the first major economy to go green. We need to decarbonise capitalism.
As Leader, my approach to Brexit and Climate Change would set out our Liberal values to voters everywhere. Many of our hard-won freedoms are at risk from the likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. So we need to be bolder than ever on defending the Liberal values we hold so dear.
My record shows I won’t flinch from fighting for liberalism – like when I moved an amendment to abolish the Tories vile and homophobic section 28, and when we delivered same-sex marriage in Government. Seriously investing in better education to ensure everyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to achieve their dream. Fighting for true equality – which we are still so far from achieving as a country.
But even if we own the major issues of the day, and are stalwart in our defence of Liberal values, we need to win in order to put them into practice. Now we are back in the game, we have to stay in the game. I want us winning at every level of Government – and my track record proves I know how to make this happen
I was the first non-target seat candidate to win for 40 years when I was first elected back in 1997. We won then because we campaigned with confidence and belief on the issues that matter to our local community. That is how the Liberal Democrats will campaign if I am elected leader - we will keep on winning. The more we win, the more we can point to Liberal Democrats at all levels changing their communities for the better – and that gives us the best campaigning message of all.
So if you want to stop Brexit, turn the tide on climate change, stand up for our shared liberal values, and keep us winning, support my bid to be Leader of our Party.Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Jo Swinson on Fri, 12 Jul 2019
Deciding to run for leader was not something I did lightly. This party has a history of leaders who had a huge impact on British politics, including people like Charles and Paddy, heroes of mine who I was so lucky to be able to know and work with.Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Layla Moran on Thu, 11 Jul 2019
World Population Day is an opportunity to put reproductive rights and issues of gender equality firmly on the global agenda. This year, period poverty must be front and centre of the conversation.
If the UK Conservative government are serious about eradicating period poverty by 2030 then they must use this opportunity to ensure ending period poverty is in the minds of every single world leader. The Conservative government have a duty to do all they can to end the injustice and stigma surrounding periods in the UK and across the globe.
Established by the United Nation Development Programme in 1989, the internationally recognised day has helped to highlight the importance of population issues and amplify calls for reproductive health as a priority. A key pillar of reproductive rights, menstrual hygiene impacts women and girl’s access to education, and often has a big effect on their overall health.
Around half of all women and girls across the world do not have access to safe sanitary products and the stigma and taboos surrounding periods persists globally.
Around half of all women and girls across the world do not have access to safe sanitary products and the stigma and taboos surrounding periods persists globally. The reality for many is that they are forced to use dirty rags, grass, plastic, or overuse a pad or tampon, due to a lack of access to sterilised sanitary products. The everyday reality and cost of periods is putting lives at risk and perpetuating inequality. So too is the cycle of misinformation and taboos that surrounds periods.
Just this year, a Nepali mother and her two children were found dead after the woman was banished to a "menstruation hut". In this heart-breaking instance, the cause of death was smoke inhalation as she lit a fire in a desperate attempt to keep her children warm, but there have also been cases of women dying from snake bites, and others being subject to criminal attacks. These unnecessary, shameful cases are as a direct result of a lack of education surrounding periods. Associating periods with bad luck or impurity is not uncommon in cultures across the world, with devastating consequences.
In the UK, a lack of understanding and education also leads to persistent stigma. Nearly half of those who get their period for the first time don’t know what’s happening to them and almost 60% report feeling embarrassed about their period. A failure to provide effective education about menstrual health to those of all genders is keeping taboos alive and perpetuating inequalities. Health issues including endometriosis often go undiagnosed because people aren’t clued up on warning signs or symptoms.
Just this year, a Nepali mother and her two children were found dead after the woman was banished to a "menstruation hut".
Providing sanitary products in hospitals and schools in England is a step in the right direction, but we should be leading on this issue. The Tories must pledge to roll our free products across other spaces too, including shelters, hostels, libraries, and leisure centres. The campaign to end period poverty globally by 2030 is crucial, but to do this we must protect our UK aid commitment and keep the issue on the global political agenda. Today is a chance to do that.
It is time to eradicate period poverty wherever it exists. This World Population Day the Conservative government must use their voice to break the silence surrounding periods and ensure they are taking the most effective steps possible to bring an end to period poverty. No one, no matter where they live, should lose out on an education or have their health and wellbeing put at risk because of their period. Eradicating period poverty will take funding, it will take education, and it will take unwavering commitment. This World Population Day, I am calling on the Conservative government to use their influence and resources to help ensure the fight gets all three, at home and abroad.
Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Tom Brake on Wed, 10 Jul 2019
When we think of great moments of political upheaval, social change and protests for justice, the images which often come to mind are marches. There is something acutely powerful about seeing so many come together to create, for one moment in time, a community of like-minded people. A crowd which passionately believes in a common cause will have its cause noticed. Marches become beacons of free speech and spawn mass movements which captivate people's attention.
These marches can seize or reinforce an agenda and create a new public narrative for how we view today's challenges.
We saw this recently in Westminster with the march for climate change, and at the pride marches around the country, as a rainbow of people flow through the streets of Britain every summer. These marches can seize or reinforce an agenda and create a new public narrative for how we view today's challenges.
While their disruptive methods caused frustration and, for some, may have overstepped the mark, no one can deny that Extinction Rebellion made people start discussing the environment around the kitchen table. It couldn't be clearer that when people take a stand, they become impossible to ignore.
I was so proud to join more than a million people took to the streets of London to show their support for a People's Vote.
My first march was 30-and-a-bit years ago with Amnesty International, highlighting the plight of prisoners of conscience abroad. Last month, as one of over 100 MPs I strode in solidarity to meet Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe outside the Iranian Embassy, during his hunger strike in protest at his wife's continued shocking and unlawful detention. I was also incredibly proud to be at the largest march this country has ever seen, back in 2003, against the Iraq war, when Charles Kennedy and the Liberal Democrats led the political protest in the face of overwhelming criticism from the Tory and Labour parties.
But I was even prouder, earlier this year, to be part of the largest march seen in the UK since then - when over a million people took to the streets of London to show their support for a People's Vote.
And that's why I'm delighted the Lib Dems will be joining thousands of others on July 20 at the March for Change - unequivocally demanding this Brexit mess be stopped.
We're unequivocally demanding this Brexit mess be stopped.
Again the Lib Dems were prominent, just as we have been dominant in the fight against Brexit since the day after the referendum three years ago. Back then, many people described our position as desperate, out on a limb while Jeremy Corbyn urged that Article 50 be triggered immediately. Yet over time, more people joined our cause, our rallies became bigger and we made more allies in our fight against a government increasingly committed to the most chaotic of Brexits. Our message has grown louder and more people have taken to the streets to shout loud and clear to Labour and the Conservatives that the Brexit they want to deliver is not in our name and not what the majority want.
We will take to the streets to shout loud and clear to Labour and the Conservatives that the Brexit they want to deliver is not in our name
Some will disregard the marchers' voices. The Tory candidates to be our prime minister are putting rocket boosters on their campaigns to reach the dreaded No Deal cliff-end sooner. Jeremy Corbyn is choosing to bury his head even deeper in the sand.
We the Lib Dems not only hear those voices, we are channelling their energy.
I am proud to be the anti-Brexit spokesperson of the largest, loudest and proudest party committed to demanding better than Brexit and diverting us from the disastrous trajectory we've taken. More and more people are rallying behind our banner as we inch closer than ever to stopping Brexit.
So, when we march in just a few weeks' time on July 20, we will do so with a more purposeful stride. I hope you will join us.
The march for change are organising coaches to the march from across the UK. You can book a coach here: https://www.marchforchange.uk/assembly_pointsRead this article on www.libdems.org →
by Benny Curtis on Wed, 10 Jul 2019
I'm Benny, and I've been a Liberal Democrat since 2017 - but I never really had a chance to get particularly involved.
That changed last week when I headed up to Brecon.
I knew how important this by-election is going in - we can't afford to take it for granted. It's essential as many Liberal Democrats as possible head to Brecon and Radnorshire to support our candidate, Jane Dodds.
Brecon and Radnorshire is closer than you think.
I was a bit nervous, initially. I'd never really done anything like this before. But the team on the ground were super welcoming and professional. I was paired up with experienced campaigners and learned a lot from them. I even got the opportunity to act as Jane's aide, travelling around the constituency with her - it was a lot of fun!
There's a variety of stuff to do, too. There’s doorknocking, leaflet delivery, envelope stuffing and more – and I want you to know as a first-timer that it was easier and more fun than I ever imagined.
Brecon and Radnorshire is closer than you think. I live in Shepherd’s Bush, and it's about a 3-hour drive to Brecon from home. It's pretty easy to get to by public transport too - just get the train out to Cardiff then switch onto a bus there. Many buses to the constituency are free on weekends - it can work out pretty cheap if you book in advance.
Time's ticking on. There’s serious potential for a Lib Dem gain here, but the Conservatives and Brexit Party are working the constituency hard. We can't get complacent.
Our team is currently working on the plan for postal votes, which land in just 9 days. In a constituency like Brecon and Radnorshire, that's a huge chunk of the electorate. That means this weekend is crucial for the campaign.
Don't leave it to someone else - they might be leaving it to you.
If you've never helped before, don't be put off - everyone has to start somewhere and the team couldn't be more welcoming. Come along - you'll love it.
Don't leave it to someone else - they might be leaving it to you. Come to Brecon and Radnorshire - help us elect a new Lib Dem MP.
Follow Benny on Twitter: @Benny_curtis1Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Nadya Fadih-Phoenix on Sat, 06 Jul 2019
This is a strange way to start off this blog post, but please bear with me. In April 2016 I got my first telescope. I didn’t spend a great deal, and it took me awhile to learn how to focus it, but eventually one night I caught Jupiter, its red spot and the bright twinkles of the four Galilean moons. It was at that moment I started to believe in Allah again. At around the same time I properly and very bluntly came out to my father - the end of a rather long journey in me accepting that I was a gay woman. Soon after, I popped down to the LGBT inclusive Christian church at the bottom of my road, in a bid to be able to reconcile faith in god with my sexuality. It was welcoming, but it did not feel like my spiritual home.
I am of Arab Muslim descent and in my late teens I was a devout Muslim.
See, I am of Arab Muslim descent and in my late teens I was a devout Muslim. I wore the hijab, prayed five times a day, did voluntary fasts, only ate halal, didn’t drink, stopped listening to music, stopped watching films, and would only read Islamic texts or books written by Islamic scholars. I found peace in Islam and prayer, but that peace started to shatter as my attraction to a Muslim sister I attended Jummuah prayer with started to increase. This wasn’t the first time I had been attracted to a woman, but it was the first time I understood what my feelings meant. I buried that part of me, and met with a Muslim brother from my mosque to discuss marriage. Alhamdulillah that marriage did not take place as it would have been wretched for me and any children that eventuated.
I walked away from Islam. I moved out of home. I met a woman who I was absolutely in love with. I had my first intimate experience with another woman (the former was unrequited). The day after I felt horrid, dirty, wrong and ashamed. I stopped calling myself Muslim.
For the next decade and a bit, I would have relationships with women, self-sabotage them and then go back to dating men. Whilst I accepted and embraced seeing others in same-sex partnerships and unions, I couldn’t embrace me being in one. A current close friend of mine commented that it was uncomfortable to watch.
I have a lot of regrets, the women I walked away from that could have made me so happy, the relationships I had with men that made me feel broken and disconnected inside (not their fault), the impact the above had on my mental health and all those lost years not being who I truly was.
I feel whole and am the person I was meant to be.
With all those regrets riding heavy on my shoulder, I attended Stonewalls’ Diaspora Showcase last year. That led me to attending the Stonewall BAME/LGBT+ role models programme in November 2018, where I met a representative from Hidayah, a Muslim LGBT charity. I am utterly ashamed to say when I walked into the room, I automatically assumed that the person wearing Hijab and Abayah was an ally, not LGBT themselves. It was unconscious bias stemming from my own experience growing up with no LGBT+ Muslim role models.
Where am I now? After 20 years of struggling with my sexuality I have embraced being a gay woman. Hidayah has helped me reconcile my sexuality with my renewed belief and has shown me there is more than one way to be Muslim. I feel whole and am the person I was meant to be. I am not sacrificing aspects of myself.
I am also stepping up. It is hard. Whilst I have stopped caring if my extended family knows about me being gay, I am still petrified of bringing shame to my very supportive father. I have started to deliver talks about BAME and LGBT intersectionality. I was part of a panel on behalf of Hidayah in late March. It is nerve racking in the moments before I talk, but letting it all out and using my voice has given me a peace I thought was well and truly outside of my reach.
I want to change the outcomes of other Muslim LGBT people
And, most importantly I want to change the outcomes of other Muslim LGBT people. If I had been able to see someone like me growing up, I wouldn’t have felt so alone, isolated, scared and have lost so many years being an unauthentic me. I am doing that by working with groups like the Liberal Democrat Campaign for Race Equality and Hidayah, but also by being visible.
Nadya Fadih-Phoenix - Brit, Aussie, Arab, Muslim, Gay (pronoun them/they)
Read this article on www.libdems.org →
by Liberal Democrats on Fri, 05 Jul 2019
In a time of political crisis, we have some good news, and an invitation to demand democracy.
We have signed the Good Systems Agreement, alongside other parties, organisations and public figures.
Together we have achieved something that has never been done in the UK. We're securing broad consensus about the principles that define good voting systems. Most importantly, seats won in Parliament must closely reflect the votes cast. We have also agreed that the best voting system for the UK would ideally be determined by citizens. This could be done through an evidence-based, deliberative process, like a citizens’ assembly.
We believe this is a major milestone on the path to winning real democracy.
And now you have a chance to play your part! On Saturday 6th July, we are supporting a major action by Make Votes Matter activists all across the country. A host of street stalls and other activities are being organised for Demand Democracy Day. Check out the map and see what’s happening in your area. You can volunteer to help out and meet some new friends, or simply pop along to show your support for getting Proportional Representation in the House of Commons.