Tag Archives: lgbt+ lib dems

Lib Dems welcome mixed sex civil partnerships news

News that  the Government will legislate for mixed sex civil partnerships in England and Wales was welcomed by various Liberal Democrats. It makes sense that people should have the choice of what form of ceremony to have.

Our Lynne Featherstone was the Minister who instigated same sex marriage in England.

She welcomed the news on Twitter.

Lynne has always acknowledged the support of Theresa May, who, as Home Secretary, gave her Bill crucial backing. However, the Tories would never allow Lynne to introduce mixed sex civil partnerships. Even now they haven’t done it entirely voluntarily. They were forced to either scrap civil partnerships for same sex couples or introduce them for everyone.

It was therefore sad that the Prime Minister didn’t acknowledge Lynne’s role.

LGBT+ Lib Dems chair Jennie Rigg welcomed the move and said that this was just one of the things that needs to happen to achieve proper partnership equality. I did love the very on message inclusion of “demand better.”

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Reaching out and making friends, just like Vince says

Yesterday, Vince Cable told the Liberal Democrats to reach out and appeal to the millions of voters who are alarmed at the extremes of British politics.

A wee while earlier, some Liberal Democrat members had been reaching out in a manner that can only be described as optimistic.

Not the Leader’s speech is an annual tradition that started during the coalition years. A group of the Awkward Squad would gather in a nearby hostelry, watch the speech on Twitter and work out at what point they would have walked out had they been in the hall. There is less cause …

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Migration of people persecuted for their love

Embed from Getty Images

Liberal Democrats abhor the persecution of people on the grounds of their race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity and look forward to a world in which all people share the same basic rights, live together in peace, and in which their different cultures will be able to develop freely.

Some nations don’t offer those basic human rights and in such places you may be particularly vulnerable to family-based hate-related domestic abuse or honour-based violence.

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Lib Dem, Green and Labour LGBT organisations condemn transphobic protest at Pride

This morning I said I was excited about Pride in London today. Unfortunately, it has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons after a small number of transphobic protesters were allowed to march at the front and hand out transphobic literature to the people lining the streets. From the Huffington Post:

Organisers of the most “diverse” Pride event in London have hit back at accusations it allowed a group of anti-transgender activists to lead the parade through the capital on Saturday.

The small group, which reportedly only consisted of about 10 people, are believed to have carried signs with slogans such as “trans activists erase lesbians” and distributed leaflets stating “a male can never be lesbian”.

And here’s some more reports from Twitter:

The idea that someone’s rights must be the expense of someone else’s comes straight from the divisive rhetoric of the likes of Nigel Farage. And like Nigel Farage, a relatively small group of trans-exclusionary radical feminists are getting a disproportionate amount of air time, much of it complaining that they are being cut out of the “debate.” There’s a lot of their rhetoric which puts me in mind of the horrid homophobia I came across in the 80s.

A recent Stonewall report into trans people’s lives found that 40% had suffered hate crime in the last year and a third had suffered discrimination in their daily lives. These figures should worry liberals and we should be doing our best to stand up against it.

There is no conflict between women’s rights and transgender rights for the very obvious reason that women can be any combination of cis, trans, lesbian, heterosexual, of all races and religions (or none of the latter). Most women just work together for the good of everyone but there are a few who want to spread hate and there should be no place for that in any organisation which advocates equality.

LGBT+ Liberal Democrats condemned the protest and Pride in London’s reaction to it:

And there was a bit of cross-party consensus:

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WATCH: Vince on Lib Dems’ proud record on LGBT rights

The LGBT+ Lib Dems are holding their Winter Strategy Conference today in London.

Vince sent them a message of support in which he outlined the party’s proud record of supporting LGBT rights from opposing Section 28, supporting the equalising of the age of consent right through to achieving same sex marriage and, currently, support for changes to the Gender Recognition Act. He specifically mentioned the climate of transphobia at the moment.

The nice people who made the video have kindly said that we can show it too so, enjoy:

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Review: LGBT+ Lib Dems’ Winter magazine

January’s stark and miserable darkness was made slightly more bearable yesterday with the arrival of the bright Winter issue of LGBT+ Lib Dems’ magazine.

Plus, as the organisation is colloquially known, produces a 16 page glossy magazine for its members twice a year.

This issue is packed full of interesting features. There are news reports about the Scottish Government’s apology to and pardons for past prosecutions of gay and bisexual men, about the 20th Trans Day of Remembrance and on Intersex awareness.

One way of raising awareness of issues is to ask your MP to support an Early Day Motion, which is kind of like a House of Commons petition. There’s a selection of LGBT+ Friendly ones to highlight.

There’s a review of Lynne Featherstone’s brilliant book about how she pushed through same sex marriage and an opinion piece on why we really shouldn’t call it equal marriage. 

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Party organisations comment on resignation of Tim Farron

Two party organisations have commented on the resignation of Tim Farron.

LGBT+ Lib Dems highlight Tim Farron’s record as a friend of LGBT rights but note that his failure to adequately answer the questions on gay sex “cast a shadow on the campaign.”

Nonetheless, LGBT+ Lib Dems were at the forefront of the efforts to defend Tim based on his proven track record of friendship and support for our rights.

During Tim’s time as leader, the Liberal Democrats passed the most far reaching policy any party has ever had in favour of trans equality. In addition, he has been vocal on ending the “Blood Ban” on some people giving blood based on prejudices about their sexual behavior, and was the first party leader to speak out against human rights abuses against gay men in Chechnya.

We recognise that many of our LGBT+ members are also people of faith, and firmly believe that the Liberal Democrats should be a place open and tolerant for people of all faiths and none, just as much as it should be a place for people of all sexualities and genders. These are values that Tim has always stood for, and we would like to place on record our thanks to him, and to wish him all the best for the future.

We look forward to continuing our work with our new leader, once they are elected, promoting PrEP for all that want it, X gender markers on passports, and extending civil partnerships to all couples, amongst many other issues.

In the same statement, they also pay tribute to Brian Paddick for his work as Shadow Home Secretary and say that they don’t believe that he was part of an organised plot to oust Tim.

They conclude:

We very much hope and intend there to be space for all of us in the Liberal tradition when commenting on the matter, and as an organisation we will continue to offer our support to both Brian and Tim.

Humanist and Secularist Lib Dems praise Tim Farron’s record and say that it is his actions rather than personal beliefs that matter:

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Marking the Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of RemembranceNovember 20th each year is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s the day when we honour those who have lost their lives through transphobic violence. The list of those who have been murdered for being who they are is so harrowing to read.

Nobody should face fear, intimidation, discrimination and violence because of who they are. As the forces of intolerance appear to have the upper hand in politics in too many places, those of us who believe in freedom, diversity and equality have our work cut out for us.

This is a day to remember those who have died but also to re-affirm our own commitment to not put up with a world where this sort of thing happens. It isn’t going to become a more tolerant place by itself. We have to make it happen, one person at a time, by questioning prejudice whenever we see it, whether it’s round the dining room table with our grandparents, in the pub, at work or in the party.

LGBT+ Lib Dems has statements from Lorely Burt and LGBT+ secretary Zoe O’Connell, who is one of the few transgender people to have stood for Parliament.

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Liberal Democrats react to Transgender Equality Report

Today’s publication of the Transgender Equality Report by the Commons Women and Equality Committee should lead to some big improvements to services and better rights for transgender people. It has some useful recommendations around health services – ensuring, for example, that GPs have sufficient training in how they should treat transgender people. The Committee certainly seems to have listened to many of the concerns put to them.

Their approach to the spousal veto question was more cautious than I would have liked. They basically said that it needed more consideration but didn’t recommend doing away with it, even though they accepted that a spouse could stand in the way of a transgender person getting their legal recognition. However, if the law is changed to abolish that cumbersome process, as the Committee. This is a big step forward:

In place of the present medicalised, quasi-judicial application process, an administrative process must be developed, centred on the wishes of the individual applicant, rather than on intensive analysis by doctors and lawyers.

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Four priorities for LGBT+ in 2016

New chair of LGBT+, Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett has set out 4 priorities for the organisation in the coming year in his New Year message. They are:

Mental health

We know that suicides amongst LGBT+ people are at their highest, and that bullying and harassment leads to a myriad issues, from drug, sex and alcohol addiction, chemsex, lack of happiness, isolation and body image expectations. Where there are potential solutions like the use of PReP, or new Hep C drugs available, especially when HIV diagnoses are increasing, we need to lobby governments to tell pharmaceutical companies to make these medications available to those who are at risk and need that support.

International aid and asylum

 I’m proud to say that the Lib Dems set out our policy against the deportation of LGBT+ asylum seekers way back in 2008, and this policy made it to our 2010 manifesto and the Coalition Agreement. However, when the Tories took over the Home Office from Labour, they continued to send people back to countries where they may be persecuted, prisoned or killed. Our asylum system still sees it fit to probe people’s personal lives to try and determine whether their sexuality is genuine. I still find that hard to stomach; essentially you are asking someone to prove they are LGBT+ when in those countries the public knowledge of this may lead to perilous circumstances. Would we like our personal stories to be forensically detailed just to prove we love someone of the same sex?

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Jo Swinson marks Bisexual Visibility Day

Bisexual Pride Flag23 September every year is Bi Visibility Day. Why, I hear you ask, do we need such a thing in these tolerant and accepting times? Didn’t we just pass same sex marriage?

Well, actually, there is still a fair amount of homophobia around. And if you are bisexual, you can actually experience  discrimination even from within the LGBT community.

A couple of years ago, The Bisexuality Report produced by the Open University and contributed to by LGBT+ Lib Dems’ Jen Yockney gave a snapshot of what life can be like for bisexual people in the UK. Many of its recommendations aim to tackle marginalisation of bisexual people and to promote a wider understanding of the specific problems they face.

Last year on Bisexual Visibility Day, LGBT+ Lib Dems’ Dave Page wrote an excellent post in which he outlined why this day is needed:

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Last chance to respond to Scottish Equal Marriage consultation

At almost the 11th hour, I have submitted my views to the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities Committee which will be considering Scotland’s Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill.

The deadline is today, so you really need to get on with it. The “other side” will make sure that they get their point of view across so it’s really important that the Committee hears from those in support.

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The Liberal Democrat Equal Marriage Act Roll of Honour

mark and ros at equal marriage vigilAs the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill receives Royal Assent and becomes an Act, which I’m reliably informed will be around now. I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate those people in the Liberal Democrats whose work made it happen. I know that such an endeavour is fraught with danger because I am bound to leave somebody out and they will be upset, or hate me forever, or both, but I thought it was worth the risk – and if I do …

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A victory for equality: 3 pieces of news about the same sex marriage bill

I thought it might be useful to do a quick catch-up on various aspects of the parliamentary debate on same sex marriage which took place on Monday and Tuesday.

How did Liberal Democrat MPs vote on the Third Reading?

There were no huge surprises – and given that 11 had voted on an amendment, which was defeated, to give registrars an opt out from marrying same sex couples on religious grounds, the fact that only 4 actually voted against the Third Reading was better than some had expected. Simon Hughes and Tim Farron were two high profile abstainers. They clearly struggled with …

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Opinion: Lib Dem MPs: Vote for equality, human rights and love today

The culmination of more than three years of heartfelt campaigning by the LGBT+ Lib Dems finally comes to the final hurdle in the House of Commons battle for equal marriage this week, with votes today and tomorrow.

It will sadly see the ultimate opportunity for those MPs who remain implacably behind the times in opposition to equality and fairness in the United Kingdom to block progress. It is also the opportunity for the sun to shine on those MPs who vote in favour of equality, fairness, human rights, respect and love. LGBT+ people want to celebrate and share their love just …

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Opinion: Equal marriage legislation proves that Liberal Democrats have equality in their DNA

Equality has always been at the core of our party’s values, and is one of the main reasons why I joined the party in 2006. However, until 2010, Liberal Democrats had not been able to prove to the wider public that we had always been ahead of the curve on sexual equality simply because we hadn’t been in Government for 80 years. In opposition, though, we were adopting policies on these issues way before previous governments had done anything. In many cases governments had only acted because of the threat of

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Conference Accreditation Consultation – what Liberal Democrat bloggers are saying

Last Saturday, Federal Conference Committee chair Andrew Wiseman invited responses  in an article on Liberal Democrat Voice from members on the controversial issue of an accreditation system for Conference. Sussex Police had requested that party members would have to submit their identity details and past addresses so that they could be checked out by the Police to keep out people who might cause security issues.

Unsurprisingly, the Liberal Democrat blogosphere has been vocal in response. If there has been a post out there in favour of such a system, then I’ve not been able to find it.

At Liberal England, …

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Tim Farron MP writes… Equal Marriage consultation: take part and spread the word

One of our fundamental values as a party is our firm belief in equality. This is why I am member of our party and why I am so proud to be your President. We have always stood for individual liberty and the right to choose how we lead our lives. That’s why we came into being in the 19th century to protect the rights of religious minorities, it’s why we led the support for equality for women and why we decided before any other major party that civil marriage should be open to same-sex couples equally. The Liberal Democrats in …

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