Wikimedia LGBT/2015

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The Wikimedia LGBT+ User Group was recognized as a Wikimedia user group in September 2014. This report outlines the accomplishments and activities organized by the group since then. WMLGBT+ has not applied for funding so no financial reporting is required.

LGBT Free Media Collective[edit]

Wiki Loves Pride[edit]

Press release (PDF) for Wiki Loves Pride 2015

Wiki Loves Pride is a global campaign to expand and improve LGBT-related content across several Wikimedia projects. The activities are focused on June and October, traditionally the months when lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities around the world celebrate LGBT culture and history. 2015 saw the second annual campaign, spearheaded by Dorothy Howard (User:Hexatekin) and Jason Moore (User:Another Believer), both of whom reside in the United States. The duo co-wrote the Wikimedia blog post, "Wiki Loves Pride: Help expand Wikipedia's LGBT coverage" (June 18, 2015).

  • Wiki Loves Pride 2015 at English Wikipedia
    • Results: The 2015 campaign saw activities organized in Lexington, Kentucky; New York City; Portland, Oregon; and Washington, D.C. The campaign also hosted a page for remote participation to accommodate those who: 1) prefer to contribute online, 2) do not live in a community with active Wikimedians, or 3) expressed a desire, but also an inability, to publicly organize a LGBT events in their city or country. In June 2015, at least 110 LGBT-related articles were created at English Wikipedia, as were 45 LGBT-related categories and templates. More than 10 "Did you know" hooks appeared on the Main Page. The aforementioned "Results" page also displays LGBT-related articles that were expanded, drafts, proposed guidelines, Spanish-language contributions, and Persian-language contributions.

The Wiki Loves Pride campaign encourages participants to document and photograph LGBT pride events. The following galleries were created in 2015:

  • June 26, a page specifically dedicated to images associated with the Supreme Court's June 26 ruling on marriage equality
  • Dublin, LGBTQ Pride Festival
  • New Orleans, Gay Easter Parade (April)
  • New York, New York Pride (June)
  • Portland, Oregon, a month-long LGBT photography campaign called "Pride Portland" (June)
  • Rome, Roma Pride
  • Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Gay Pride
  • Toulouse, Toulouse Gay Pride
  • Valdosta, Georgia (United States), Lowndes County Courthouse on June 26, the day of the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality
  • Zagreb, rainbow sidewalk to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

Press[edit]

Bluerasberry co-authored a chapter in a book (Queers Online, "Queering Wikipedia") which mentions Wikimedia LGBT and some Wikipedians, including: Fae, Tom Morris, Varnent, Another Believer, OR drohowa, Ladsgroup, and our absent supporter Wadewitz. In addition, our activities were mentioned by a few online outlets:

Social Media[edit]

By May 28, 2015, the group's Facebook page had 180 followers. As of December 15, 2015, the group has 460 followers.

Wikimania[edit]

See also: Wikimedia LGBT+ User Group at Wikimania 2015

When planning our involvement with Wikimania 2015, we initially submitted a proposed presentation to be delivered during the conference. This would have given a broad overview of LGBT issues and an introduction to our user group, to be followed by a critical review of our current activities and future opportunities. We would have then answered questions from the audience and taken feedback from post-it notes. Regretfully however, our submission was not accepted for presentation.

Instead, we established a presence at Wikimania in the form of a stall at the Community Village. We only had a small number of volunteers, but our stand was part-time manned during all three conference days. Many participants wanted to talk to us, with LGBT issues generally, what we do, and how to get involved, being the three main points of discussion. Colourful hand drawn posters were placed behind our stand which contained the key messages we wanted to convey to passers-by.

The Sixth Annual LGBT Meetup was also organised. This meetup was informal and had no fixed agenda; various topics were discussed, including the future of our user group.

Wikimedia Conference[edit]

Wikimedia LGBT+ User Group representation at the conference

Wikimedia LGBT+ was represented at Wikimedia Conference 2015, which was held in Berlin in April. Following is a copy of User:Another Believer's conference report (originally posted here):

First and foremost, thank you to my fellow WMLGBT+ participants and supporters for allowing me the opportunity to represent this group at the conference. I had a wonderful time seeing familiar faces, meeting staff and leaders from around the world, and learning about the diversity of organizational structures and activities that exist within this wonderful movement. I felt welcome at all times, both as an LGBT individual and as a delegate of a new user group, and people were genuinely curious to learn more about us and our work.

I gave a lightning talk about the Wikimedia LGBT+ User Group and Wiki Loves Pride. I began my introduction with two very important (in my opinion) points: 1) Our group does not have a political agenda; we are not advocating for LGBT rights or asking people to support marriage equality, for example. We are merely asking people to create and improve LGBT-related content, and to document/photograph LGBT culture and history. 2) People are in no way required to identify as LGBT, or any other gender or sexual minority, in order to participate in LGBT-related projects and activities. We simply want people accessing information from Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects to find quality, reliable information about LGBT culture and history, the same way I want there to be quality information about battleships and fungi and The Simpsons. :) I then went on to briefly describe the history of our group and asked chapters and affiliates around the world to support our efforts, either by spreading awareness of our group or participating in campaigns like Wiki Loves Pride by writing about LGBT topics or photographing pride events in their region. (Thank you, Dorothy, for co-presenting and for your work on this year's Wiki Loves Pride campaign thus far!)

By far, my favorite moment of the conference came at the end of the day in which I gave my lightning talk. The conference facilitators asked attendees about what they learned and would 'take home' from the event. One delegate from South Africa stood up and shared that, of all the things that he learned that day, he was most affected and inspired to take action by the LGBT lightning talk. He acknowledged that he had never considered attending a pride event in South Africa out of fear that he would be falsely identified as gay. He was embarrassed by this, and committed himself to attending Johannesburg's pride parade as a volunteer Wikimedian in order to help document and photograph South Africa's LGBT culture. I was so moved that I walked across the room and shook his hand, thanking him for his support and kind words. One of the facilitators, who at first thought I was leaving the room and was going to give me a hard time, quickly changed her tune and said our interaction was the most "heart-warming" of the day. :) Whether or not the delegate from South Africa follows though, I really appreciate his support, admire his open-mindedness, and feel empowered by affecting someone in this way. Throughout the rest of the conference, I received compliments for my talk and the interaction with the S. African delegate.

I have always felt that this group has great potential to contribute to free knowledge and culture, to empower a community, and to have great real-world impact. Having attended this conference, I continue to feel that way, and more so than ever. I experienced first-hand that raising awareness about LGBT culture and history can affect how LGBT+ individuals are perceived. Our mission may be simply to provide accurate information to Wikimedia projects, but the real-life impact of increasing awareness of the global LGBT community and its history and culture can be much, much greater.

Again, thank you for the opportunity. It is impossible for one person to represent an affiliate, especially one as diverse as the global LGBT+ community (within the Wikimedia movement or otherwise), but I hope I did our group justice. Whether I attend again or someone else takes a stab, I am glad we have representation and an opportunity to influence the movement. Do let me know if you have any questions or comments. -Another Believer (talk) 22:04, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

Oh!, a few more thoughts. It was great to finally meet Varnent in person and to catch up with CT Cooper and Dorothy, plus other LGBT-identified supporters and allies. And thanks to those who reminded me to explain the meaning of "LGBT" to those who were less familiar. I had the opportunity to talk to Wikimedians in regions of the world where there is little or no tolerance for LGBT communities. Everyone I spoke with was very accepting and appreciative of our efforts, but I learned so much and left feeling very fortunate and priviledged to live where I do and appreciate the support that I have in my life. -Another Believer (talk) 22:12, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

I also failed to mention that during the conference I scheduled a very productive strategic marketing meeting with Katherine Maher of the Wikimedia Foundation re: Wiki Loves Pride. I thank her for her time, interest and support. Which reminds me, please be sure to share and/or *like* one or both of the following Facebook posts re: Wiki Loves Pride:

Thanks! -Another Believer (talk) 00:04, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

For anyone who may be interested, you can read the South African delegate's blog post, which includes remarks on the LGBT lightning talk, at this link. -Another Believer (talk) 18:37, 3 June 2015 (UTC)