Tag Archives: stonewall

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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Stonewall withdraw their inaccurate election graphic – but don’t replace it with one which accurately reflects Lib Dem achievements

Every time you think it’s safe to like Stonewall again, they do something tribally partisan for the Labour Party. As I reported yesterday, they produced a graphic that gave Labour full marks to their questions, but only 2/5 for Liberal Democrats. A cursory glance at the manifesto would have given us full marks, as LGBT + Lib Dems Chair Dave Page and Communities Minister Stephen Williams told Pink News.

I’m astounded by this grossly misleading graphic, suggesting the Liberal Democrats have little to say about LGB&T rights in our manifesto. The opposite is true.

We have seven specific policies including making anti gay chanting an offence, promoting international recognition of same sex marriages and more action on homophobic bullying. As a Stonewall member I am deeply disappointed that they have chosen to spell out Labour Party policies and ignore Lib Dem proposals, which build on our long standing commitment to gay rights.

Liz Barker’s tweets in response were also very informative.

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Two grateful men, one scarf, an angry Baroness and an LGBT organisation that can’t read what’s in the Lib Dem manifesto

Stonewall dropped a huge clanger yesterday by issuing a graphic on its Facebook page that gave Labour a tick for all the policies it had featured and gave only two to the Liberal Democrats. Thing is, anyone who had read the Liberal Democrat manifesto would know that all these things were in fact there.

Pink News has a wonderfully sarcastic quote from LGBT+ Chair Dave Page:

It is surprising that an organisation with Stonewall’s resources, if it seeks to appear nonpartisan, did not seem to have taken the time to quickly search through the Liberal Democrats’ main party manifesto (rather than the separate documents published by some other parties).

If they had, they would have found the commitment to tackle hate crime in section 9.3: ‘Change sentencing guidelines to increase sentences available for hate crimes.’

They would have also found the following on overseas aid in section 11.6: ‘Liberal Democrats believe British foreign policy and international aid should seek to advance human rights and democracy throughout the world. We believe all people – regardless of ethnicity, disability, age, belief, gender or sexual orientation – deserve a freer, fairer and more prosperous world.’

Under Ruth Hunt’s excellent leadership, Stonewall have done a lot of work to build bridges and listen to a wider array of voices.

We hope that the days of Lib Dem MPs having to lobby Stonewall to support equality rather than the opposite are behind us all. Unfortunately their rush to issue this ill-researched graphic undermines their reputation for being even-handed advocates of equality.

Lib Dem Peer Liz Barker also took Stonewall to task on Twitter. In a series of tweets parodying Stonewall’s “Some people are gay/trans, get over it” phrase, she outlined the Liberal Democrat record on LGBT rights:

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Lynne Featherstone wins Stonewall Politician of the Year

Lynne Featherstone MP was named Stonewall’s ‘Politician of the Year’ at their annual awards ceremony yesterday. It was awarded jointly to Lynne and to this guy off Eastenders.

Lynne has been tireless in promoting LGBT+ rights over the last four and a half years and was the architect of the bill legalising same sex marriage.

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Lynne Featherstone on shortlist for Stonewall Politician of the Year

Lynne Featherstone at PrideOn 6th November, Stonewall’s annual awards ceremony takes place in London. Many Liberal Democrats have had their issues with Stonewall in the past, but I’d say that they are definitely improving. For example, it’s good to see Stonewall Scotland’s “Some people are Trans, get over it” t-shirts. They may have come late to the equal marriage party, but they got there eventually.  On top of that,  their resources for schools are excellent.  Stonewall Chief Executive, Ruth Hunt, who is doing some great work in making the organisation more inclusive, spoke at our Conference in Glasgow.

Up for Politician of the Year is our own Lynne Featherstone, the woman who set the country firmly on the road to same sex marriage. Alex Neil, the Minister who was responsible for the Scottish bill, is also nominated. As an aside, it was announced yesterday that the first Scottish same sex marriages will take place on Hogmanay. That’s not a huge amount of time to organise a party, but I’m sure some will manage it.

The shortlist in full is:

Lord Cashman
Lynne Featherstone MP
Lord Fowler
Kerry McCarthy MP
Alex Neil MSP

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Just when you thought it was safe to like Stonewall…

mark and ros at equal marriage vigilThe relationship between Stonewall and the Liberal Democrats would be described, in Facebook terms, as “it’s complicated.” We might share many of the same goals, but it can all get a bit spiky between us from time to time.

The Observer reports that their former chief executive Ben Summerskill has attacked the Liberal Democrats for being opportunistic over equal marriage, not passing our policy before 2010. In fact, there was huge support within the party for equal marriage and earlier in 2010, the Scottish Party had passed its policy in support. The equal marriage campaign only really started in earnest a couple of years before that and Stonewall itself took a long time to support the measure.

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Video: Stonewall says thank you on equal marriage

Four weeks on Saturday, the first same sex marriages will take place in England. Scotland will have to wait a bit longer, till the Autumn.

You’ll remember the emotions of the parliamentary debates on this. In order to say thank you to all the parliamentarians who contributed, as well as to all the people who campaigned for equal marriage, Stonewall have released this video which shows highlights of some of the best parliamentary speeches made by lesbian, gay and bisexual parliamentarians. Our own  Liz Barker, Stephen Gilbert and Stephen Williams are featured. It made us smile and is just the thing to brighten up a February Monday. Enjoy.

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Has Stonewall snubbed the Liberal Democrats in their awards?

Every time I think kindly about Stonewall, they do something to annoy me. Way back in 2010, their opposition to equal marriage reached the fringes of our Liverpool Conference. That came just a few months after Ed Fordham wrote on here that he was no longer able to support Stonewall over its treatment of David Laws.

Happily, Stonewall did eventually come around to supporting equal marriage and attended the vigils outside Parliament which Ed organised when the Bill was being debated. They are also just about to start a brilliant campaign on homophobic bullying to run in anti-bullying …

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The word ‘straight’ isn’t homophobic. Now can we get on to the stuff that matters, please?

Two significant events this week in the campaign for equal LGBT rights…

First, as we reported this week, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg asked that the ‘Pride flag’ be flown from Whitehall to symbolise Government support for Saturday’s rally in London. As The Sun’s political editor Tom Newton-Dunn tweeted:

(The picture show here was taken by Verity Harding: you can follow her on Twitter here.)

Secondly, Nick Clegg voiced his personal support for religious gay marriage for those which wish to recognise and celebrate a same-sex union:

… in an interview with the London Evening Standard to mark the World Pride event, Mr Clegg said: “This is a personal view at the moment, but I think that in exactly the same way that we shouldn’t force any church to conduct gay marriage, we shouldn’t stop any church that wants to conduct gay marriage. I don’t see why two individuals who love each other and want to show commitment to each other should not be able to do so in a way that is socially recognised as being marriage.”

A couple of weeks ago, Nick recorded this message — described by Attitude as “a really passionate, well-articulated support for equal marriage” — for Out for Marriage:

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Lynne Featherstone’s honeycomb surprise

MPs’ offices get stacks and stacks of mail. Every day all manner of things arrive, from invitations, to big glossy brochures from various organisations, to letters from constituents, to replies from letters written to various Government bodies on behalf of local residents, to thank you cards when problems have been resolved.

Today, Lynne Featherstone’s constituency office received a special surprise in the post. Ben and Jerry’s, in conjunction with Stonewall, had produced a specially designed ice cream tub, complete with the Equality Minister’s photograph and the title Lynne Honeycomb, to show the company’s support for Equal Marriage. Sadly for her office …

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Paul Burstow MP writes: Lifting of lifetime gay blood donation ban – progress, but not the final word

The lifetime ban on men who have had sex with men (MSM) is an issue that our party has always felt uncomfortable with. Superficially it looks little more than a discriminatory throwback to the 1980s stereotypes associated with gay men and increased risk of sexual disease.

Yesterday the Government took a significant step in changing their position by announcing the lifting of the lifetime ban on MSM from giving blood. So let me give you the detail about how that decision was reached, and what it means for men wanting to donate blood.

The previous Government had also questioned the …

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Opinion: Mike Hancock has grave concerns for a gay constituent facing deportation to Uganda

Robert Segwanyi is a gay man from Uganda. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, and Robert was imprisoned and, he says, tortured because he is gay.

In June last year, he escaped and fled to Britain.

Now the UK Border Agency want to send him back.

UKBA does not accept he is gay and a judge rejected his appeal claiming that there is no risk to gay people in Uganda.

This is what Amnesty International said about Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Laws:

Both the current law and the proposed new law violate a number of human rights including the rights to equality and non-discrimination, privacy, liberty and

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Opinion: What does Stonewall want if it isn’t gay marriage?

I resigned from Stonewall many years ago when I realised that they don’t speak for me or much of the UK’s LGBT community and is too blinkered and led by its own politics, rather than campaigning for what their members want.

Ben Summerskill and Angela Mason before him only appear to do what Labour wanted, when Labour wanted it.

In recent weeks we have seen Stonewall attacked for their silence on the issue of gay marriage, but I want to throw in an extra attack on them before I get onto gay marriage.

If you visit the main Stonewall website …

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Liberal Democrats support equal marriage for LGBT community

This morning the Lib Dems voted to extend civil partnerships to heterosexual couples and open the institution of marriage to gay couples.

Conference was addressed by a broad spectrum of those directly affected by the issue and many supporters from the sideline.

Amongst the speakers was former mayoral candidate Brian Paddick who spoke of his own experience of marriage. He was married in the UK to a woman in the early 1980s before his growing realisation of his own sexuality. Since falling in love with a Norwegian man in the 2000s he took advantage of the change of law in …

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Opinion: I’m no longer prepared to support Stonewall under the leadership of Mr Summerskill

David Laws has resigned and the story has more or less moved along.  For my part I know and like David a lot and his loss is a real blow to the Liberal Democrats, the Government and the country.  But most of all this was a personal story.

So I was appalled by the decision of Stonewall’s Chief Executive Ben Summerskill to take the airwaves and print media to launch his own mini-campaign against David.

The very organisation that you would expect to have the courage to stand up and explain the moral realities of being gay and struggling with a public …

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Walk with Brian for equality

An email drops into The Voice’s inbox from Brighton & Hove Lib Dems, which we are very happy to share:

Liberal Democrats in Brighton and Hove are calling on colleagues from across the South East to join Brian Paddick as he leads the Stonewall Equality Walk. The annual 10km walk takes place on Sunday 3rd May from 1pm meeting at the Royal Pavilion grounds. Last year Lib Dem campaigners raised over £1,200 for Stonewall.

Lib Dem Council Group Leader Paul Elgood said: ‘Come to Brighton and help support Brian as he leads the Stonewall Equality Walk. It’ll be an enjoyable day for

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