This document was originally written in English and has been translated by paid professionals into Arabic, Croatian, French, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Turkish, which are currently being proofread. Other translations are community efforts and have not been reviewed by the Coordinating Committee.
Scope and format
QW2021 was a 12 hour event across three days designed to formulate concrete actions and next steps for the LGBT+ User Group. It is the first of its kind and the first Wikimedia event to focus exclusively on LGBT+ issues.
Key issues discussed were:
- Representation and diversity
- LGBT+ roles in and contribution to movement strategy and movement governance
- Organisational structures
- Decision making processes
- Roles and responsibilities
- Capacity and community building
- Universal Code of Conduct
Overview of outcomes of the event
Collective decisions were made on the various issues detailed below in the document. To frame the discussions and guide decision making, several options were presented with each question, and through the process of discussion these were reduced to one or two options preferred by participating members of the User Group.
Concrete next steps as well as individual and group commitments to implement them were decided for the above as well. Actions which the group took immediately in the next week included meetings of both the interim governance team and the planning team for Queering Wikipedia 2022.
Issues such as safety and anonymity were centered, with various ideas developed about how people can safely and effectively participate in Wikimedia governance while reducing risk to themselves.
The amount of notes and documentation for this relatively small conference were extensive by Wikipedia community standards. These were made to make it easy to refer to discussions and to make future planning that much clearer.
Additionally, with some topics reaching greater consensus, planning for the next annual Wikimedia LGBT+ conference was able to be undertaken and initial volunteer roles assigned in that planning.
Sessions were facilitated by an external professional, documented by members and live translation was offered for Spanish speakers in order for some participants to participate fully in an English-language event.
The first day covered introductions of the team, presentations on history and context of the event and a general overview of the coming days. The subsequent days were more focused on active discussion and consensus-building around specific topics within the User Group (with time allowed for reflection, discussion and then summarising by facilitators), and on planning for the 2022 Queering Wikipedia conference.
What went well?
The discussions were well facilitated and contributions were forthcoming from all participants. The format was flexible and enabled participation by people with poor connections or who wanted to communicate in Spanish or English. Some new participants were informed of the processes.
The shared understanding of diversity and representation, which was strong already, was improved, and this allowed clear ideas to be proposed and suggested for a future event on how to actually be more inclusive, inviting, proactive in outreach and support. This was discussed mostly along LGBT+ identities but there was a strong emphasis on linguistic and cultural diversity, but also disability and class/economic differences. The one minor friendly space issue was resolved quickly and was largely a misunderstanding about what could be shared outside of conference channels.
What could be improved?
There was less representation from regions such as East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa than hoped, and some participants had difficulty with their personal connection to the conference due to unstable Internet connections. Allocating greater funds to enable individuals to better connect to the internet could help alleviate this in future events.
Submitting presentation content in advance for translation to other languages could help increase access.
Some previous contributors, including the initiator of the 2019 project and a programme board member in 2020, were unable to participate due to not having registered in advance and the security protocols required by the organisers.
Detailed program and decisions
History and current state of the User Group
This was an extensive summary of the background and history of organising members of the LGBTQ+ community within Wikimedia.
The work done by LGBTQ+ volunteers has contributed to an incredibly valuable corpus of information about LGBT+ issues, including basic healthcare, relationships and civil rights that is accessible to billions of people regardless of local legislation or prejudice.
Decision points for the User Group
Organisational structure discussion
There was general support to act as a working group moving towards a more formalized and structured entity.
A working group moves the User Group forward from its current structure of something like an Adhokratie (Q356648) towards a more formal structure like a legal entity. However, in order to do this the group needs more experience working together and broader participation in the User Group.
The decision was to check-in at Queering Wikipedia 2022 to revisit the option of a legal entity with a board and to make a plan for developing organizational structure, while collaborating with other Wikimedia community groups to achieve the diverse, inclusive, increased membership that is sought.
Definitions of membership and participation
There were no firm decisions but general agreements on the following:
Wikimedia LGBT+ Membership is broad. Different people will engage differently based on resources, time, interests, safety, and engagement with other Wikimedia groups. Requirement is that the work / interest must support, advocate for, and protect activities and interests of Wikimedia LGBT+.
It is important to acknowledge that we are vulnerable people in this group, and another internal safer space for people from LGBT+ phobic countries may be needed.
Community agreement (yet to be defined) should be clear to define what makes someone not welcome as a member.
Membership is open to anyone who wants to register, be present and support the objectives of the UG; there can be different levels of engagement.
Those who violate the Universal Code of Conduct should no longer be members.
Decision making processes
No single method was settled on, but it was determined that different sorts of decision making processes would be needed for different decisions, including majority votes, consensus votes, and bold/revert/discuss (BRD).
Members should be aware of decisions being made and how they can participate in them.
Interim committee discussion
On the formation of the committee and general schedule of activity, once formed the committee should announce its purpose to the wider community. Participants volunteered for the committee in various different capacities. No one was opposed in any of these roles.
Note: Committee name may be changed in future.
- Owen Blacker (timezone Europe/London; lang: en-N fr-3 es-2 de-2 cy-2) — especially around financial governance.
- Owen needs to send out an invite to other folx to join from the mailing list
- John Samuel (timezone: Europe/Paris; lang: en-N, ml-N, fr-4, hi-4)
- Pepe Robles (timezone: America/Argentina; lang: es-N, en)
- Paulo (timezone Europe/Lisbon; lang: pt-N, en) — bylaws
- Fæ (timezone Europe/London; lang: en-N)
- Rajeeb (timezone: UTC+5:30 hours; lang: bn-N, hi-4, en)
- Rachel - bylaws (can draft an outline quickly)
- Zblace - happy to assist in bylaws
- drMel - Help with outreach to increase our inclusivity — especially multilingual, multicultural
Reporting and meeting schedule
- Monthly meetings to continue but a section is dedicated to committee work.
- Asynchronous reporting of activity in text or audio/video.
Some of the issues discussed were:
- Volunteers lacking support or needing urgent support for LGBT+ related issues
- Volunteers needing legal advice
- Responding to harassment
- Lack of some types of diversity in our participation, including regional, linguistic, and gender
- Criticism of having English or American focus on content rather than multilingual
- Need to respond to public criticism
QW2022 Conference planning
In terms of the next event, an increased budget size was suggested in order to better facilitate a hybrid event with satellite events and increase accessibility. Keeping and honouring the input of the previous team is important.
- Zblace (conditionally — to pair with someone with strong understanding of WMF)
- drMel (has previous experience of WMF funding as part of WikiBlind)
- Ayokanmi (worked on Wiki Indaba grant writing and would like to dedicate time)
QW2022 grant support
- Owen Blacker happy to help provide financial oversight.