According to this Press Release, the Minister for Women and Equalities, Theresa May today set out “an ambitious cross-government programme of work” with the admirable intention of tackling anti GLb(t) prejudice, including these aims:
- a commitment to remove historical convictions for consensual gay sex from criminal records;
- new work to end the blight of homophobic bullying in schools;
- work to allow same-sex couples to register their relationships in a religious setting;
- lobbying other countries to repeal homophobic legislation and recognise UK civil partnerships;
- and an end to the removal of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because their sexual orientation or gender identification puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution.
Whilst I welcome Mrs May’s recent change of mind on gay adoption and applaud her commitment to scrapping ID cards and the National Identity Register, it should be remembered that anti GLb(t) prejudice and discrimination – and the consequent bigotry, hate speech and violence – remain daily realities for many.
With that in mind, and in the knowledge that a “more detailed action plan, setting out exactly how all the changes will be delivered” at an unspecified date sometime in the next six months, I hope Mrs May will understand my scepticism towards her wish to “tear down barriers to equal opportunities” and “build a fairer society”. Because without a clearly defined plan of action – drawn up in consultation with those affected by prejudice and discrimination towards our gender identity and/or sexual orientation – her fine words remain only that.
And so I, for one, await with interest the publication and implementation of the promised “detailed action plan”. Only then will members of the GLb(t) community be able to judge just how seriously the government takes this commitment.
Later today the Minister for Women and Equality will join the Prime Minister and figures from across the LGB and T community for a reception at 10 Downing Street to mark the beginning of Pride London fortnight.
Dwahlings, I can’t tell you how disappointed I am not to have been invited – and me a member of the trans community and the Downing Street Project’s mock Cabinet, and all. Obviously I need to work at my (lack of) social climbing skills.
…saucer of milk for table 5…
ETA 17 June: I’ve been sent a copy of the full statement (Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality) that yesterday’s announcement was based on. I’ve not been able to track down where it’s cached online so, for any interested parties, I’ve uploaded a copy of the 4-page PDF document to this site – here’s the direct link to it.
Whilst it’s still short on the detail of exactly how it will be implemented, it does add a little more about the scope – for example, the focus on SSM will also include working to improve recognition of civil partnerships outside the UK. Perhaps more significant is this paragraph on asylum:
We will stop the deportation of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because their sexual orientation or gender identification puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution.
And the further information in the section on additional action for trans equality is also to be welcomed – although I have to say that I’m still reserving final judgement until I’ve seen more concrete proposals.