We’ve come so far, but the fight for full equality for LGBT+ communities is far from being over

We’re now on the second day of LGBT History Month 2018.

One of the things that makes me most proud to be a Liberal Democrat is our record on LGBT+ rights and equality.

We have, indeed, always been there on these issues…leading the way, with pioneering policies and brave advocates.

From campaigning for an end to discriminatory legislation such as Section 28, which barred the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools, to enacting Same Sex Marriage legislation during the 2010-15 Coalition Government (by far, in my humble opinion, the best thing we did in office)…thank you, Lynne Featherstone!

From LGBT+ Lib Dems, to activists, Councillors, Parliamentarians and Ministers, Lib Dems have, overwhelmingly, been on the right side of history when it comes to the need for full equality for all of our communities.

As a gay man, I’ll always be so, so proud that it was Lib Dems in government who helped to ensure I and millions like me became as near to fully equal under the law as we’ve ever been.

The Labour government which proceeded the Coalition also deserves a good deal of credit on this agenda, to be fair.

But until everyone is equal, none are equal.

We must remember that in one part of these islands, Northern Ireland, Same Sex Marriage is still illegal…as the DUP, which props up the UK Tory government, continues to block progressive change in the province.

And until trans and non-binary folks are respected and made equal under the law, then we Lib Dems still have much work to do.

Recent figures released by Stonewall, in new research, make for truly shocking reading.

Their report, based on research with 871 trans and non-binary people, reveals the discrimination faced each and every day.

Among their findings, are:

  • One in eight trans employees (12%) have been physically attacked by a colleague or a customer in the last year.
  • More than half of trans people (51%) have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination.
  • A quarter of trans people (25%) have experienced homelessness.
  • Almost half of (48%) of trans people don’t feel comfortable using public toilets through fear of discrimination or harassment.
  • A third of trans people (34%) have been discriminated against because of their gender identity when visiting a cafe, restaurant, bar or nightclub in the last year.
  • When accessing general healthcare services in the last year, two in five trans people (41%) said healthcare staff lacked understanding of trans health needs.

You can find out more on these and other findings here.

The rise of transphobia on the streets, in much of the press, on social media and even in certain political parties, shows just how far there is to go to achieve a world where everyone is accepted for who they are and who they love; where we don’t just ‘tolerate’ diversity…but celebrate and embrace it.

So, fellow Lib Dems, let’s say it loud and say it proud:

Trans Rights Are Human Rights and Human Rights Are Trans Rights.

Let us use this month, where LGBT+ matters are in the spotlight, to pressure those in authority, especially this lacklustre Tory government, to do their duty…to further, protect and defend the rights of all the people in this country and to enact new legislation to give trans and non-binary people the justice and equality that is their human right.

Let’s get to work!

* Mathew Hulbert is Vice Chair of Bosworth Constituency Lib Dems and a former Councillor.

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One Comment

  • Lorenzo Cherin 2nd Feb '18 - 1:17pm

    Mathew

    An admirable and eloquent article, appreciated.

    We are able to say the good things Blair’s government did more than his party ! But this party has a for the most part, a terrific track record on many issues, not least these featured in this piece.

    The transgender debacles today, as with those relating to antisemitism, are very troubling and we as a party need to be very keen on defeating those who spout that which is mean at best, nasty at worst.

    The issue of LGBT rights and wellbeing needs to be explored better, by all, we can add much, with both a real passionate feeling and a sensible rational manner.

    It is essential we take on this with an open mind though, and do not go down the no platforming road.

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