THEGAYUK

We Are Gay UK

This is what the UK’s Government has said it will do to improve the lives of LGBT people

Today the Government launched its LGBT+ action plan, a list of 75 things it wants to do to improve the lives of LGBT+ people in the UK and internationally.

naeimasgary / Pixabay

Minister for Women and Equality, Penny Mordaunt has launched the Government’s LGBT Action Plan, after carrying out one of the most extensive surveys of LGBT people in history. The survey asked questions about people’s experiences of living in the UK and in accessing public services. LGBT people were asked questions about education, healthcare, personal safety and employment.

Over 108,000 people answered the survey, which was launched last summer and some of the results are shocking.

One statistic alone speaks volumes. Two-thirds of respondents said they had avoided holding their same-sex partner’s hand in public for fear of a negative reaction. Holding hands with someone you love should be one of the simplest things in the world; not a source of fear or hesitation. There were difficult findings in other areas, such as safety, health, education and employment.

Speaking about the plans, Ms Mordaunt said,

“We have more work to do.

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“I am pleased that one of my first acts as the new Minister for Women and Equalities is to publish this comprehensive LGBT Action Plan. With over 75 commitments, the cross-Government plan sets out how we will improve the lives of LGBT people over the course of this Parliament. Some of the key actions include:

  • appointing a national LGBT health adviser to provide leadership on reducing the health inequalities that LGBT people face
  • extending the anti-homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying programme in schools
  • bringing forward proposals to end the practice of conversion therapy in the UK
  • taking further action on LGBT hate crime”

You can read what the plans are for each of the areas defined by the LGBT action plan. We have seperated the plan into the six key areas.

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Education | Healthcare | Representation | Workplace | International | Safety

£4.5m made available for the action plan

In order to pay for the LGBT action plan, the Government have made £4.5m available to deliever on its commitments. It has created an ‘LGBT Implementation Fund’.

The funding will initially run until March 2020. Some of this funding will be used to deliver projects within the government. The remainder will be made available to public, private and voluntary sector organisations to deliver projects to support LGBT people. The Government Equalities Office will manage the funding, and decide how money is allocated to projects.

“Flawed”

CREDIT: Monty McKinnen

However, some critics have called the plan flawed, Peter Tatchell, the UK’s most prominent LGBT+ rights advocate said,

“The LGBT Action Plan is a welcome start but it falls short on key issues,”
“The biggest fail is the lack of any pledge to end the detention and deportation of LGBT+ refugees fleeing persecution in violently homophobic countries like Uganda, Iran, Russia, Egypt and Jamaica.
“Another big omission is the absence of any commitment to compensate gay and bisexual men who were convicted under past anti-gay laws. They suffered greatly; frequently being hit with huge fines. Some were jailed and beaten in prison. They often lost their job, income and home. Many suffered mental breakdowns. Their lives were wrecked for decades. The government’s unwillingness to include compensation in its Action Plan is a huge let down.
“The £4.5 million budget is derisory and insulting. It coincides with cuts in funding for sexual health clinics, which make it hard to get testing and treatment appointments. This is contributing to a rise in infections among gay – and straight – people.
“Banning gay conversion therapy is the right thing to do. It doesn’t work and it is deeply offensive to try to change a fundamental, natural and widespread human characteristic.”

LGBT Action Plan fails to acknowledge inequality across the UK

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In response to the plan, Co-Chairs of Pride in London, Alison Camps and Michael Salter-Church said,

“What is missing from the report is an acknowledgement that we do not have equality across the whole of the UK. The Prime Minister and the Minister both mention the UK’s global leadership on LGBT+ rights. The truth of the matter is that other countries have overtaken us and there has been a failure to address fundamental issues in our country; the lack of equal marriage in Northern Ireland and cohesive relationship, gender and sex education being the most obvious. We call on the government to specifically address these points.

“Above all, what we see is that Pride matters as much as it ever has. This Saturday, the UK’s biggest Pride parade will take to the streets 46 years after it started. We will be there not just to celebrate how far we’ve come, but to march and protest for how much further we need to go in London and beyond”.

You can read the full release here.

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