UK Government “committed” to GLb(t) anti discrimination and prejudice plan

// 16 June 2010

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GEO-logo.jpgAccording to this Press Release, the Minister for Women and Equalities, Theresa May today set out “an ambitious cross-government programme of work” with the admirable intention of tackling anti GLb(t) prejudice, including these aims:

  • a commitment to remove historical convictions for consensual gay sex from criminal records;
  • new work to end the blight of homophobic bullying in schools;
  • work to allow same-sex couples to register their relationships in a religious setting;
  • lobbying other countries to repeal homophobic legislation and recognise UK civil partnerships;
  • and an end to the removal of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because their sexual orientation or gender identification puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution.

Whilst I welcome Mrs May’s recent change of mind on gay adoption and applaud her commitment to scrapping ID cards and the National Identity Register, it should be remembered that anti GLb(t) prejudice and discrimination – and the consequent bigotry, hate speech and violence – remain daily realities for many.

With that in mind, and in the knowledge that a “more detailed action plan, setting out exactly how all the changes will be delivered” at an unspecified date sometime in the next six months, I hope Mrs May will understand my scepticism towards her wish to “tear down barriers to equal opportunities” and “build a fairer society”. Because without a clearly defined plan of action – drawn up in consultation with those affected by prejudice and discrimination towards our gender identity and/or sexual orientation – her fine words remain only that.

And so I, for one, await with interest the publication and implementation of the promised “detailed action plan”. Only then will members of the GLb(t) community be able to judge just how seriously the government takes this commitment.

Later today the Minister for Women and Equality will join the Prime Minister and figures from across the LGB and T community for a reception at 10 Downing Street to mark the beginning of Pride London fortnight.

Dwahlings, I can’t tell you how disappointed I am not to have been invited – and me a member of the trans community and the Downing Street Project’s mock Cabinet, and all. Obviously I need to work at my (lack of) social climbing skills.

…saucer of milk for table 5…

————

ETA 17 June: I’ve been sent a copy of the full statement (Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality) that yesterday’s announcement was based on. I’ve not been able to track down where it’s cached online so, for any interested parties, I’ve uploaded a copy of the 4-page PDF document to this site – here’s the direct link to it.

Whilst it’s still short on the detail of exactly how it will be implemented, it does add a little more about the scope – for example, the focus on SSM will also include working to improve recognition of civil partnerships outside the UK. Perhaps more significant is this paragraph on asylum:

We will stop the deportation of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because their sexual orientation or gender identification puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution.

And the further information in the section on additional action for trans equality is also to be welcomed – although I have to say that I’m still reserving final judgement until I’ve seen more concrete proposals.

Comments From You

angercanbepower // Posted 16 June 2010 at 10:52 pm

Note how the press release says, ” LGB and T community”, rather than “communities”.

Helen G // Posted 17 June 2010 at 8:20 am

A more cynical person than I might be forgiven for wondering if the T stands for “tokenism”…

Lindee // Posted 17 June 2010 at 11:24 am

Why is the “b” small and the “(t)” small and in brackets? This is a convention I have not seen before and I am curious…

Helen G // Posted 17 June 2010 at 11:54 am

Hi Lindee: There’s not much more exciting behind my playing with the visual presentation of the abbreviation than late-night snarkiness on my part, I’m afraid!

It seems to me that being Gay, Lesbian or (although to a lesser extent) bisexual seems increasingly to be considered an acceptable and natural part of human diversity. Whereas, in my experience, being (t)rans is not.

There is also some ongoing controversy around the abbreviation GLBT, as summed up in this entry at T-Vox:

…..

LGBT is not uncontroversial. For example, some transgender and transsexual people do not like the term because they do not believe their cause is the same as that of LGB people; they may also object when an organization adds a T to their acronym when the level of service they actually offer to trans people is questionable. There are also LGB people who don’t like the T for the same or similar reasons.

Many people also believe that a sharp distinction should be drawn between sexual orientation and gender identity. GLB concerns the former; TTI concerns the latter.

Similarly, some intersex people want to be included into LGBT groups and would prefer LGBTI; others insist that they are not a part of the LGBT community and would rather not be included in the acronym.

…..

All in all, it’s a debate that looks set to continue; I was using it here really as no more than a visual shorthand while feeling rather disgruntled that the Equalities Office’s proposals seem, at first glance, to place greater importance on matters (for example same sex marriage) relating to gay men and lesbian women than they do to bisexual people and trans people.

Lindee // Posted 17 June 2010 at 1:20 pm

Ah, thanks for clarifying :)

And also my sympathy with your irritation, as a “b” I never quite know where I’m supposed to be.

Politicalguineapig // Posted 17 June 2010 at 3:38 pm

It sounds promising, but I doubt it’ll ever be implemented. Also, anyone who thinks anti-bullying campaigns will work vastly overestimates human nature.

Clare // Posted 17 June 2010 at 4:39 pm

Not to derail comments by continuing to talk about the LGBT et al use, but I personally object to B/b and TT or I being in with L and G given that the vast majority of organisations only deal with stright (excuse the pun!) same-sex orientation; rather than including anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the binaries of straight or gay and male or female.

Sigh, it’ll never be perfect!

Back on subject, I don’t wish to be too pessimistic but I just can’t believe the Tories will even change!

kitty // Posted 26 June 2010 at 6:38 pm

Recognition of British cp abroad – you may be interested in this website, it states that many countries already recognise it anyway

http://www.uklgig.org.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2213

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