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The EU Was A Driving Force For LGBT Equality - Our Government Must Protect These Rights

08/05/2017 17:01

Equality is never fixed nor certain and, at times of political change, this couldn't be truer.

Look at the US, for example, where Trump's administration has caused concern in minority groups, with moves that look to strip back their rights.

As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, we ourselves are set for huge changes.

But what does that mean for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people and equality? Will it even make a difference at all?

Governments in the United Kingdom should be proud of their record on equality for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.

No matter how you align yourself politically, if at all, the progress made over the past 25 years by those in power has helped to transform the lives of millions of LGBT people.

But we didn't achieve this alone. The EU acted as an important driving force in securing some of the equalities that we enjoy today, including ensuring that discrimination at work on the grounds of being LGBT was made illegal.

After the UK leaves the EU, ensuring that lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality is protected will be the sole responsibility of UK governments.

We must ensure that the next UK government commits to maintaining the laws we currently have in place to protect LGBT people. Otherwise, there's a chance that equality could regress.

However, protecting existing LGBT rights isn't enough. We've also have to ensure there is progress.

That means seeing equality extend to all areas where LGBT people face discrimination. It also includes vital law reform for trans people.

Stonewall will continue to work towards commitment from the UK government to address these issues, which include:

• Retaining the Human Rights Act, and the UK's signature to the European Convention on Human Rights, which are vital in safeguarding the rights of all UK citizens
• Establishing equal access to pension rights for same-sex couples
• Reforming the Gender Recognition Act (2004), including to remove the process of providing medical evidence for legal gender recognition
• Reforming the Equality Act (2010) to remove outdated terminology and replace it with language that is appropriate and protects all trans people
• Introducing an 'X' category for passports and recognising non-binary identities.

But we can't achieve this on our own. We need your voice and support to help us ensure that the next government helps to create a world where all LGBT people are accepted without exception.

Share our manifesto with the candidates in your constituency via Twitter. A full list of candidates will be announced on 11 May. Ask them to commit to each of our priorities for LGBT equality, and to being an active ally for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in general.

And make sure you register to vote before 22 May. Don't be silent. Make your voice heard on 8 June.

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