Statement from LGBT Sector Leaders on EU Referendum
Published: 30 June 2016 Tags: eu, human rights, lgbt By John Walding
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans sectors are strong, resilient and passionately believe in equality for all. It is important this is the first message we send—one of positivity, one of strength and one of solidarity not only with our own communities but with all diverse communities—at a time when hard fought freedoms could be at threat.
The result of the EU Referendum has sent shockwaves across the United Kingdom and beyond, and we as LGBT leaders in the sector have concerns about the future of equality, diversity and inclusion. We are collectively resolute in our vision for the future of society in the United Kingdom, whatever happens politically and economically. We refuse to allow inequality to creep in further, for diverse communities to be marginalised or for the protections we have fought hard for diminished in any way. We want to remain part of a society that is built on fairness, equality and inclusivity, and which values and cherishes diversity.
LGBT Leaders from organisations across the United Kingdom call upon all politicians to stand up for the following commitments in order to maintain a strong and resilient voice for LGBT people:
Protection of the Equality Act
The Equality Act 2010 is an Act of the UK Parliament but has its roots in requirements from the EU. We want to see the Equality Act, and the distinct equality legislation in Northern Ireland, not only protected but strengthened and improved to fully include gender identity and intersectional discrimination.
Tackle Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia
An immense amount of work has already been undertaken to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia across a range of platforms including hate crime and bullying within education. We want to see continued commitment to investment in this area in all parts of the UK to increase awareness, raise knowledge levels and foster understanding of what it means to be LGB and T.
Remain bound by the European Convention on Human Rights
Current government policy is to remain a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights, even when outside of the EU. We want all parties to commit to remaining as a signatory, respecting the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, and promoting the positive work it undertakes.
Defend the Human Rights Act
Alongside remaining a signatory to the ECHR, we want to see the protections within the Human Rights Act protected for future generations, as well as the ECHR protections in the constitutions of the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In particular it is critical that the UK Courts must retain the power they have now under the Human Rights Act to take the European Convention into account when determining UK cases.
Retain equalities as a key function across the UK’s Governments
In England and Wales, the Women and Equalities Minister holds responsibility for LGBT policy development, whilst in Northern Ireland this lies with the Minister for Communities, and in Scotland the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities is responsible for LGBTI equality. We want to see Cabinet-level Ministers across all parts of the UK retain responsibility for equalities and to promote LGBT policy development
Continued engagement with LGBT communities
Government engagement with diverse communities is vital as we continue to fight for a society based on fairness, equality and inclusion. We want a commitment that UK government will continue to engage effectively with LGBT communities in matters of policy development, and that our communities will be listened to and have greater opportunity to raise our voices.
Respond to the Inquiry into Transgender Equality and take action
The sector has warmly welcomed the Women and Equalities Select Committee Inquiry into Transgender Equality. We now call upon the UK Government to release its response to the Inquiry and work with our communities to take action on its recommendations. In Scotland, we expect to see the Scottish Government honour its manifesto commitment to reform gender recognition law.
Equality in Equal Marriage
We are proud that a form of equal marriage now exists in England, Wales and Scotland. However, we are concerned that this is not the case for Northern Ireland and that some key issues remain in order to make it truly equal marriage. We urge the UK’s Governments to support each other to remedy the inequalities that still exist in this area.
Advocate for LGBT rights internationally
The UK has been an important voice in the global fight for LGBT rights. We want the UK to maintain its positive stance in this regard and to show strong solidarity with those LGBT communities in other countries who are unable to live free from fear, prejudice and risk of persecution. The UK should also fully honour its obligation to protect LGBT asylum seekers and refugees.
Address cross-cutting community issues
We recognise that LGBT communities do not sit in isolation. Our own communities are diverse and intersect with all other parts of society. We want equality, diversity and inclusion to be seen through a cross-cutting lens and for an integrated approach to tackling these issues, involving all communities.
Signatories to this statement:
Paul Roberts OBE, Chief Executive—The Consortium of LGBT Voluntary and Community Organisations
Tim Sigsworth MBE, Chief Executive—Albert Kennedy Trust
Steve Williamson, Director—Cara-Friend
David Spence, CEO—centred
Jonathan Charlesworth, Executive Director—EACH
Sarah Humphries, Chair—ELOP
Tim Hopkins, Chief Executive—Equality Network Scotland
Nik Noone, Chief Executive—Galop
Emma Roebuck, Chief Officer—Gay Advice Darlington and Durham
Terry Reed OBE, Trustee—GIRES
Bernard Reed OBE, Trustee—GIRES
Matthew Hodson, Chief Executive—GMFA
Lewis Turner, Project Manager—Lancashire LGBT
Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive—LGBT Foundation
Monty Moncrieff, Chief Executive—London Friend
Greg Ussher, Chief Executive—METRO
Helen Jones, Chief Executive—MindOut
Lukasz Konieczka, Director—Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre
Tor Doherty, Chief Executive—New Family Social
Alice Wallace, Manager—Opening Doors London
Amelia Lee, Strategic Director—Proud Trust
Tony Fenwick, CEO—Schools Out UK
Lara Jaffey, Executive Director—SexYouality
Bob Green, Chief Executive—Stonewall Housing
Michael Halls, Executive Director—The Intercom Trust
John O’Doherty, Director—The Rainbow Project
Salim Khalifa, Director—Trade Sexual Health
Helen Belcher, Trustee—Trans Media Watch
Andrew Davies, Chief Executive—Unity Group Wales
Tom Doyle, Chief Executive—Yorkshire MESMAC