Anwen Muston, LGBT Labour’s Trans Officer speaking on Transgender Day of Remembrance 2013 said:
“Today we remember the many hundreds of trans people who have lost their lives due to prejudice and transphobia around the world. We in the UK are often luckier than most and have greater protection under the law than many other countries, but still many trans people live in fear of being attacked and discriminated against simply for being who they are.
We have come a long way in a short time when it comes to LGBT rights in this country; but while LGB rights have progressed quickly, T rights have often lagged behind. The Labour Party has always been the party of equality, and that is why LGBT Labour will continue to fight for the advance of trans rights and to educate people about trans issues.”
Listings of events are on the SLAGO website.
Yesterday, Ed Miliband released a statement to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the repeal of Section 28. It is a sight we’re used to seeing; Labour leaders speaking out strongly against LGBT discrimination. Speaking out, Ed reminded us of how far we have come in the fight for LGBT equality and that it was the Labour Party that led the legislative change that afforded us the rights we have today. David Cameron made no such statement yesterday.
This anniversary is one of many which remind us of Tory opposition to gay equality. The Tories not only neglected to fight our inequality in the Thatcher and Major governments, but they proactively worked to hide us from view with the introduction of Section 28.
Just 10 years ago yesterday, a majority of Tory MPs voted by 71 to 23(1) in favour of an amendment that would have prevented the removal of Section 28 legislation, had it received a majority in the House. The then Tory Party leader, now Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith(2), supported the amendment. Other prominent government figures including William Hague and Eric Pickles also supported the amendment.
Sadly, 10 years on not much has changed. Without Labour MPs supporting Equal Marriage the Coalition’s bill would never have passed. Tory MPs remain the same old Tories that voted to keep Section 28. At the final reading of the Equal Marriage bill, Tory MPs voted against it by 129 votes to 118(3). It was Labour votes that delivered Equal Marriage in Britain.
David Cameron has failed to modernise the Tory Party. The truth is they are the same old Tories that introduced Section 28 and opposed its repeal ten years ago.
As the Labour Party we must ensure that LGBT people in Britain today do not make the mistake of believing their future is safe with the Tories.
Labour is the party of equality. Labour is the only party LGBT people can count on to deliver.
Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, writes on the 10th anniversary of the repeal of Section 28.
"I remember the campaign against Section 28 from my college days and the pain it caused for so many people. Yet it also brought together a renewed commitment from the LGBT community and its supporters to stand up against injustice.
As we mark the 10th anniversary since Labour in government abolished Section 28 we remember that we must all speak up against prejudice. I don’t think that the person you love should determine the rights you have. I am proud of the positive role we have played alongside LGBT campaigners in the fight for equal marriage.
Yet despite progress on equal marriage there is more to be done.
Too many young people still fear to come out at school due to bullying. In too many places in the world it is still a crime to be gay. As we remember the abolition of Section 28 we should take this opportunity to speak with one voice against homophobia, hate crimes and discrimination."
Our International Officer Natacha Kennedy reports from the relaunch of Rainbow Rose.
A rather long day on the 23rd Oct. getting the first Eurostar out and the last Eurostar back, enabled me to take part in the official setting up of the Rainbow Rose organisation which will bring together all the Socialist and Social Democrat parties in Europe. Although Rainbow Rose had existed in notional form before the last Euro elections it was not a formal organisation and as such one needed to be formed which could campaign in next year's Euros and beyond, and which can subsequently influence EU policy .
And our own James Asser was elected as one of the interim executive members who will oversee the organisation through its initial stages for the first two years. There was plenty of lively discussion as those important details of the organisations rules and constitution were thrashed out. Probably the most contentious issue was a proposal by some of the Irish contingent; that out of the seven members of the first executive board proper, when it is finally elected in 2015 must be either women or trans. There was good natured, but passionate discussion from both sides but in the end this amendment was carried by a significant majority. As a trans woman I am particularly glad that this proposal was adopted and will form part of Rainbow Rose's constitution. It was significant that at least half of those voting for it were male delegates.
30 years ago, I was elected to the House of Commons to represent Islington South & Finsbury. A year later, at a rally in a town where the local council was trying to ban homosexuals from working there, I announced to the crowd that I was gay. At that moment I became the first ever openly-gay MP.
We have come so far since that day. Under the last Labour government, LGBT rights advanced by leaps and bounds – we got adoption rights, we got Section 28 repealed, we equalised the age of consent, we passed the Gender Recognition Act, we passed the Equalities Act and we introduced Civil Partnerships. And this year, only a few months ago, it was Labour votes and the hard work for Labour MPs and Peers that passed the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill.Read more
Douglas Alexander MP, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, commenting on calls for a boycott of the Russian winter Olympics, said:
"The world’s attention has recently rightly turned to the issue of LGBT rights in Russia. Labour has called on the Prime Minister to raise the issue of LGBT rights with President Putin at the G20 summit next month. The government must also now work to find ways to support those concerned citizens, public pressure groups and international activists pressing the Russian authorities to act.
In response to the announcement of winning bidder for London Pride 2013, co-chair of LGBTLabour, Hannah Blythyn said:
“LGBTLabour welcome today’s announcement that London LGBT+ Community Pride will be organising this year’s London Pride celebrations.
“After the disappointments of last year’s World Pride, it’s time for a fresh start. Now is the time for the whole community to pull together and make sure that the organisers have all the support they need to make 2013 unforgettable. We look forward to working with London LGBT+ Community Pride over the next 100 days and hopefully the years’ ahead.”
Ahead of the vote on same-sex marriage Ed Miliband said:
“I’ll be voting for equal marriage in the House of Commons and I’ll be doing so proudly. I will be doing so in a proud Labour tradition which saw us repeal Section 28, equalise the age of consent, introduce new rules on adoption and introduce civil partnerships.Read more
In response to the targeting of gay men to supply DNA samples, James Asser, co-chair of LGBTLabour responded:
"We are very concerned with reports that gay men who have historic convictions for taking part in consenting acts are being targeted by police to provide DNA samples and threatened with arrest if they refuse.Read more
Yvette Cooper: Should be absolutely no question of gay men being unfairly targeted to give DNA samples
"Yvette Cooper MP, Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, said in response to reports gay men are being required to give DNA samples:
“The Home Secretary must make sure that the ACPO guidance on Operation Nutmeg is being properly and rigorously followed by every police force, ensuring that there can be absolutely no question of gay men being unfairly targeted to give DNA samples.
“I also urge the Home Secretary to do more to ensure that gay men who still have offences on their criminal record which have now been decriminalised, know how and where to apply to have those convictions removed."