Theresa May promises an LGBT Action Plan in the Summer
The survey of LGBT individuals in Britain announced by Theresa May last summer has now been completed and the results will be published together with an LGBT Action Plan. The survey is the largest ever undertaken and sheds light on the LGBT world in the UK. Over 100,000 people responded to the survey with their stories, perceptions of their place in society and the difficulties they face. Theresa May wrote an open letter to Gay Times pledging the government’s support and announcing the intention to publish an LGBT Action Plan in the summer. The Action Plan is expected to outline ways to improve health care, personal safety and education. Theresa May further stated that her government wished to make Britain a country where “no one feels the need to hide who they are or who they love”. A bold statement that Gay Lawyers wholehearted hopes can actually be done.
The LGBT Action Plan aims to set tangible steps to address the injustices that many of the LGBT community have endured and improve the lives of people within the community. The Prime Minister touched on the fact that transgender individuals suffer a considerable amount of prejudice and frequently suffer indignities that other sections of society, even within the LGBT community, do not experience. She further commented that transgender people deserved respect and understanding. The government has engaged experts to advise on the particular issues relating to gender recognition and there will be a public consultation on how the government can reform the system and processes to improve the way this sensitive issue is handled. Mrs. May patted her government’s collective back because the UK is considered to be a world leading light in advancing LGBT rights, however, when compared with the fact that in some Commonwealth countries is it still illegal to be gay, the bar is quite low.
However, as the Prime Minister pointed out with deep regret at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting last month, compared to times past when homosexuality was illegal and punishable by prison, things have improved. As 37 countries in the Commonwealth still punish gay people with prison, that law arising from Britain when they were part of the Empire, there is a lot to do to. Mrs. May stated that “those laws were wrong then and they are wrong now”, she further stated her deep regret that there remains a legacy of discrimination, violence and even death due to the blinkered thinking from the past. The government is committed to supporting any Commonwealth member that wishes to reform such outdated legislation that gives permission to discriminate against gay people.
Gay Lawyers is always keen to support any measure that improves the lives of the LGBT community and recognises that, so far, this government is one of the first to take an in-depth look at the lives lived within the LGBT community and recognise that, despite successive legislation to outlaw discrimination in all its forms, there is still a considerable amount of work to be done to create the desired level playing field for all.
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