Next week I’ll be taking a little time out from my work at Edinburgh to go to Wikipedia for Peace at Europride 2019 in Vienna. Europride promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans (LGBT) and other queer issues on an international level through parades, festivals and other cultural activities. During the event a group of international editors will be coming together to create and edit LBGT+ articles in a range of European languages. The event, which is run by Wikimedia Austria, is part of the Wikipedia for Peace movement which aims to strengthen peace and social justice through Wikimedia projects. Wikipedia for Peace organises community projects which bring together Wikipedia editors and people active in social and peace movements.
Although I’m not exactly the world’s most prolific Wikipedia editor, one of my proudest editing achievements is creating a page for Mary Susan McIntosh during one of Ewan McAndrew’s early editathons at the University of Edinburgh. McIntosh was one of the founders of the Gay Liberation Front in the UK, and a member of the Policy Advisory Committee which advocated for lowering the age of male homosexual consent from 21 to 18. As an academic criminologist and sociologist, she was one of the first to present evidence that homosexuality was not a psychiatric or clinical pathology but rather influenced by historical and cultural factors, and her paper The Homosexual Role was crucial in shaping the development of social constructionism.
I had never heard of McIntosh before writing her Wikipedia entry and it was shocking to me that such an important activist and foundational thinker had been omitted from the encyclopedia. I hope I can use my time in Vienna to create articles for other overlooked individuals from the queer community. I’m particularly interested in focusing on the creation of articles around bisexual topics and individuals, which are sometimes marginalised in the LGBT+ community. So if their are any LGBT+, with emphasis on the B, topics or individuals that you think should be added to the encyclopedia, please let me know! You can also participate in the event remotely by signing up here.
I’m also looking forward to having an opportunity to photograph the European Pride Parade for Wikimedia Commons. I think this will be my first Pride since 1998!
I’m immensely grateful to Wikimedia Austria for supporting my attendance at this event, and to Wikipedia UK for funding my travel through one of their project grants. Wikimedia UK’s project grants support volunteers to complete activities that benefit the organisation’s strategic goals including creating and raising awareness of open knowledge, building volunteer communities, releasing information and images under an open licence, and technology innovation. You can find out more information about project grants and how to apply here Wikimedia UK Project Grants.