Wikimedia LGBT+/Wikimedia Summit 2019
Becuase Wikimedia LGBT+ is officially recognized as a User Group, it could participate in the Wikimedia Summit 2019 in Berlin. This report summarizes the activites of the User Group at the Summit. The Wikimedia LGBT+ User Group has not applied for funding, so no financial reporting is required.
Wikimedia Summit 2019 - Summary Report
Shikeishu attended the conference on behalf of the User Group. The following are his notes of the summit. For a general overview of what happened at the conference, please take a look at the Documentation of the Summit.
Wednesday, March 27:
- Met up for dinner with FULBERT, who represented the User Group the previous year and is now involved in a working group of the Strategy Process. He explained the background of the conference as well as the aims and important things to know for the upcoming days. We also discussed the state of the User Group in general and the importance of developing it further.
Friday, March 29: Downloading
- Re-Connecting: Summary of the Strategy Process and introduction to the program. Interesting was the getting to know part at the end, where I briefly talked to Katherine Maher and discussed LGBT+ content with her for a few minutes and she expressed her support for the user group and how important it is that it exists and thrives.
- Participating in Movement Strategy: As I am not part of a working group in the strategy process, I attended this session, which was all about further giving the participants knowledge about the strategy process as well as clarifying misunderstandings and open questions. The method that was used to filter out the most burning questions was really interesting and I would want to use it at future Q&A sessions with big groups.
- Participating in Movement Governance: A presentation about the process of electing affiliate-selected board seats to the board of Trustees. Quite a heated and lively discussion afterwards, but for me most of the process and the international structures were new, so I focused more on understanding rather than contributing. Was very interesting though and had implications for the User Group as well, because we are an affiliate and participate in the process. Definitely something that needs to be followed up on.
- LGBT+ User Group Meetup: see below
Saturday, March 30: Processing
- Changing Movement Structures: This was probably the core of the Summit. We had the chance to visit different working groups and answer the scoping questions of their scoping documents, discuss the scoping documents and other issues with them, contribute with content from our communities
- As a representative of the User Group, I first went to the Diversity group and contributed quite a lot in three different groups there. We discussed issues like gender-inclusive language, how to gain new minority contributors, resource allocation to groups we want to have represented more and administrative obstacles for that, etc. I also feedbacked that the groups that we talk about when we talk about diversity should be more clear, as LGBT+ groups were not always mentioned in the scoping document. The group was very open to LGBT+ topics and would be happy to receive more input from the user group. I exchanged contacts with some working group representatives to stay more in touch with them and for them to have a face behind the User Group.
- Partnerships: I contributed that partnerships with social movements and NGOs should be crucial to our movement, giving the example of partnering with queer and human rights organisations as we do with projects in the User Group.
- Roles and Responsibilities: Here I felt like most things I wanted to contribute had already been thought through, so I learned more about the ongoing thought process there and was fascinated by the possibly upcoming structural changes that could be beneficial to our User Group, as thematic organisations and diverse representation could become more institutionalized and thus gaining more visibility within the movement.
- Progress Check-in: An end to the day, was interesting and good to see the faces behind all board members and to see who is involved. It was great to see that the board does include diverse perspectives and also has LGBT+ representation.
Sunday, March 31: Uploading
- Open Space: Several small discussions in small groups and also just networking. I connected with some other people who are part of our User Group (or allies) during this session, who were representing other affiliates. The most memorable session for me was about funding and discussing how to get funding for justice- and diversity-related projects like LGBT+ community projects. I gave input into how we in Europe have access to a lot of also external funding that we could use for projects like that, e.g. from the European Commission, and there was a lot of interest from several chapters and regional user groups to start projects with funding like that.
- What happens next?: Here I shared with other participants the involvement of our user group in the strategy process and how I intend to bring the content towards the rest of the group. I explained that I think Diversity and Community Health are probably the two most obvious areas that we could focus on, but there's other working groups such as Partnerships, Capacity Building, Resource Allocation, etc. that we could and should be involved in as well.
- Closing: Interesting closing speeches and inspirational way to look ahead. Also, the Wikimania in Stockholm was introduced, which will have a focus on diversity and might include LGBT+ related sessions and side program - definitely a motivation to go north in August.
Overall, it was great for me to participate in the Summit. I learned not only a lot about the international structures of our movement and about the importance of the strategy process, I also met lots of people supportive of our user group and I got a lot of motivation to co-develop our group in new directions and in more cohesive ways together with some other motivated members that I met here and previously. It was very powerful for me personally to "represent" the group, because, even though I was active in LGBT+ editing and community projects for a few years already in the Wikiverse, I felt like the group was very focused on the English Wikipedia and the North American context and it was hard for me to connect. Through this representation, I feel like I can be a much more active part in the group. Let's get this group going worldwide! :)
The meetup, like other thematic and regional meetups, took place on Friday evening. An event page was created and people were invited both through the Wikimedia Summit and the LGBT+ user group communication channels.
- Josie Fraser
- Chris Keating
- Shikeishu (User Group Representative)
- Claudia Garád
- Person A (didn't ask for permission to add the name here)
The meeting had two big topics and some side discussions, see below.
LGBT+ and the Strategy Process
We discussed what topics are important to address in the upcoming days at the Summit:
- LGBT+ in the Diversity scoping documents. How do we make sure that we don't get lost among the many valid concerns and groups that need to be talked about here?
- Gender-inclusive language: Where is it in the scoping documents?
- Issues in smaller language Wikipedias like the homophobia conflict in Amharic Wikipedia
- Roles and responsibilities - we as a LGBT+ User Group differ quite a bit from regional user groups, but also other thematic user groups that are sometimes very specific. How can we have a structure that makes us more visible within the movement in the future?
We also discussed the representation of the User Group in the working groups. While we know of some people in the working groups, it's hard to measure LGBT+ involvement overall. As a user group, we haven't really taken a stance towards the strategy process yet, which urgently needs to change. We need to discuss this, as it will affect strongly the possibilities of the development of our user group and of LGBT+ visibility in the Wikiverse and on Wikimedia projects until 2030.
It was mentioned that we need a liaison to the strategy process for the LGBT+ User Group. Shikeishu volunteered for that position and will take care of creating a discussion about LGBT+ in the scoping documents within the user group.
Employee for LGBT+ Coordination
First brought up at the user group meetup at Wikimania 2018, again the need for a Wikimedia employee to support LGBT+ initiatives on a global level was voiced. We want to have someone who can do communication and who can support the organisation of LGBT+-related events and community projects with capacity in terms of administration and know-how. The person would help us in building a community rather than just supporting the existing community as well. We would want that position to be time-limited and to then raise the profile, once the position has increased the visibility and functioning of LGBT+-related initiatives in our movement. Such a position has no precedent in the movement and could be a pilot project for enhancing diversity.
The step forward would be to create a concept and job description for the position and to get chapters on board to finance this position. Wikimedia UK and Wikimedia Austria voiced their interest already at this meeting.
Since the meetup, Josie has continued working on this and introduced the progress in the online meetups of the user group.
It was discussed that it is unclear how user group representatives are chosen and that they need to fulfill certain tasks. We discussed whether an election for user group representatives is necessary. We wondered how such an election process could work.
We also came to the conclusion that communication in the user group needs to happen on more occasions than just the biannual meetups at Wikimedia Summit and Wikimania and the few posts on the user group talk page. User FULBERT started the online meetups in reaction to this conversation.
Lastly, language in the movement on an international level was talked about. We noticed that in international announcements in our movement, language is very binary and non-binary people are not included in the communication, even though we want to be inclusive and there are lots of non-binary people in our community. We need a manual of style with guidelines from the perspective of Wikimedia LGBT+. We will start working on these in English and create a discussion around these within our user group. FULBERT and Amir will work on this.