A New Hope...
So, Ben Summerskill has (finally) resigned as Stonewall CEO and Ruth Hunt has taken over in an acting capacity.
*must not gloat, must not gloat*
Ruth Hunt has already talked a lot about listening to the community and wanting to have lots of conversations. I really do hope this means a new direction for Stonewall which is desperately needs.
Below is the email I have sent as part of these conversations (to their general email account).
Dear Ms Hunt,
Congratulations first of all on your appointment as Acting CEO of Stonewall. I have not seen eye to eye with the organisation for some time and I am hopeful that a new leadership will lead to a new start and a new relationship.
I already feel as if your first tweet after the announcement has made a much better impression on me than anything your predecessor managed. By speaking about “homophobia and biphobia” rather than “gay men and lesbians” you are already starting to suggest a more inclusive Stonewall which I hope will continue and expand.
I would also hope that, regardless of any discussion or decision about becoming an LGBT organisation, this inclusive Stonewall also starts to work more intersectionally both in terms of its own operations (I never again want to see Stonewall honouring people who are bigoted in other ways as they did by shortlisting Julie Bindel for Journalist of the Year or naming the Home Office employer of the year ignoring the negative impact they have on LGBT immigrants and asylum seekers) and within the “gay community” (so it can hopefully shake its image of being for wealthy white elite).
I also hope that your new leadership can begin to look more at community involvement. At present the “Ways to get involved” section on Stonewall's website is, with the exception of volunteering on the helpline (London only), only about how to donate money to Stonewall. This is disempowering and led to a lot of resentment when Stonewall was actively working against campaigners for equal marriage because “it was not a priority campaign”. I believe Stonewall should be about more than anti-bullying, discrimination in the workplace and the occasional petition. It can empower individuals and the community, support local activity, encourage debate, action and understanding of the issues we all face.
Or it can remain a monolith happy to accept our money and ignore us in every other aspect.
I wish you the best of luck in your new role and hope you and the board can start to make some changes for a new Stonewall.