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Nancy Kelley is an award winning LGBTQIA+ and human rights campaigner. She continues to be at the forefront of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement and is the Director of Lesbian Visibility Week.

I asked Nancy which women inspire her?

I get a lot of inspiration from LGBTQIA+ women and other marginalised women just living their day-to-day lives. I think it’s not always an easy road to travel, being a queer woman. I’m inspired by the people I meet down the shops and outside my kids’ school. Some of the people I’m working with on Lesbian Visibility Week are heroes of mine, like the team that runs Eurocentralasian Lesbian* Community. Here in the UK its folk like Char Bailey, who is so thoughtful and smart and of course, Linda Riley, who is a legend. Our movement is really blessed when it comes to amazing LGBTQIA+ women.

Are there three LGBTQIA+ issues you would like to highlight in relation to the UK?

Firstly, we’ve got a media and a politics which is absolutely mired in transphobia and it is causing so much real-world harm. The UK trans healthcare system is totally broken. We are talking about waiting lists stretching out year, after year, after year. Decades until someone has been able to access all the treatment that they need and want. We’ve also got a government which is putting forward proposals on trans children in school that will damage a whole generation, just as Section 28 did.

I went to school under Section 28 and the parallels are startling. Which other issues concern you?

When you look at the wider LGBTQIA+ community, hate crime levels are unacceptably high but also online hate is totally out of control. That’s especially worrying to me right now because of the way our community is getting politicised in the run up to a general election. There’s a huge need to get control of that machinery of hate. Then, it’s still legal to conduct conversion practices on LGBTQIA+ people in the UK. That is shameful. I could pick up the phone and call someone today who would offer to suppress or change my identity and we know that causes life long harm. These are some of the issues which really worry me. Until recently the UK was leading the world on LGBTQIA+ rights. We’ve become a cautionary tale about how far and fast a country can fall when it takes its eye off a human rights focus. We need to get back to where we were.

Can you tell us about Lesbian Visibility Week 2024?

For Lesbian Visibility Week 2024 we’re working with ILGA World, EL*C, GLAAD and Curve in the USA, to create a truly global celebration. Our theme for this year is “Unified Not Uniform” so the idea is that we’re really celebrating LGBTQIA+ women and non-binary people who come from every walk of life, who come from every part of the world, but we’re also celebrating the fact that we’re a diverse community that has each other’s back. There are so many incredible events happening here in the UK and around the world. There are going to be fantastic campaign actions and community events that absolutely everybody can get involved with, so I would like everyone to go to the Lesbian Visibility Week website, download our activation pack, follow us on socials and get involved in what will be an uplifting celebration of our community.

Follow Nancy on Instagram.

Follow Lesbian Visibility Week on Instagram.