Sometimes you are invested in something so much, you end up putting yourself in a tunnel vision. It’s difficult to get away from the vacuum of believing that whatever you are doing might not be the right thing, or just you need the space to breathe and get different ideas flowing in.
Then again, you get invested in something for a reason. It motivates you, it gives you purpose and slowly you start seeing the results. Some days are good, taking my example - I got to get a royal meeting not once or twice but a couple of times, some other days are bad - taking my example - you forget you are representing a community, that is there to support every individual. You get lost in the politics of things - and admitting a mistake is not easy. Then again some good things - like meeting the Queen might be good for a short time, but impact the organisation in the long term.
This is what happened with LGBTI+, Gozo, or well, maybe what could happen if we don’t admit mistakes.
In 2015, the idea was simple - a group of young people joining to meet and have a friendly conversation about the reality of being LGBT on the island of Gozo. Slowly but surely the structure was needed for an organisation to be founded to give a proper representation on a National and International level, some say it is brave to lead an LGBTI organisation on the island of Gozo, the first time it ever happened, and so slowly from local to national to international commitments I started venturing into other organisations and commitments all in the belive of the better good.
Now, it is true, you know, all that I’ve done as an activist was for the better good, but the bravery was not only mine, the bravery was through all the executive members who joined - Reb, Antoine, Jan, Mel, Shaun, Chirsty and Wilbert who were brave enough to trust me. Trust me, when they shouldn’t have - except for Jan I was a stranger to all of them. Trust me enough to a fault that even when I screwed up, they knew to pick me up and move on to learn from mistakes, and admitting mistakes is not easy. We as humans are wired to point your fingers at someone else, to blame whoever as long as not yourself. I’ve done that a couple of fo times, more than I should be proud of.
The bravery came from our families, in which maybe they did not understand what we are doing, but trusted we are doing good, or attempting to.
The bravery was all those members and stakeholder we’ve worked with who were brave enough to work with LGBTI+ Gozo. Those who, although there was not a strategy, not a blueprint of an organisation like LGBTI+ Gozo, knew to tell us we can do it, you are doing it. The bravery came from us being united together for one mission,
...and so you meet, you plan you execute. You succeed and sometimes you fail...you revaluate and try again. We’ve done that for 4 years, testing what works and what doesn’t, not knowing how we are going to survive, but trusting that as long as we have each other we will. Then it got too tiring for all of us. The failed attempt, the being involved in many things, the not focusing enough, the being late, the mistakes I was too proud to admit. The tunnel vision I’ve built for myself.
Then when you re about to lose everything, you remember the good pumps, the laughs and the moments that we committed for altogether, to create something which was never done before, and at that moment you realise, it's time to move on…
… move on from being too much all over the place, from being involved in 6 organisations at one,,, from not meeting friends, from not showing up. move on from not admitting mistakes and move on from the barriers you ve built.
It's time to move on from being the face of an organisation...because as much as it was needed, that time had passed. its time for fresh ideas, fresh energy and fresh people to join and take ownership..and what once was a 16-year-old idea, in a small bedroom in the middle of Victoria is now a living organisation that needs change.
It is difficult for an activist to just leave, after so much investment and after so many hours, so many meetings and so much joy but a true leader knows when to leave...and so it’s time to move on, whilst LGBTI+ Gozo has no full-time workers, or a space to operate from, not funding streams or sustained support...it has one powerful tool. The trust of each other.
I don’t have the answer to what I will do after I leave LGBTI+ Gozo, but all I know is that whatever happens this year is my last year as President. I will always be an active member and always be there to give my opinion on things (and those who know me know I am well opinionated) but it's time to move on...and so as we celebrate our 5 year anniversary the search is on for you that are reading this to be brave and trust yourself and each other. Our Annual General Meeting for this year will be on the 28th of March.and so if you want to start becoming active and get a taste of what activism is all about I to invite you to attend.
President, LGBTI+ Gozo