THE BLOG

The Conservatives Improved LGBT Rights - They Must Ensure The DUP Do Not Stifle Progress

09/06/2017 13:15 BST | Updated 09/06/2017 17:02 BST
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We share the concerns of countless LGBT people, and our friends, of all political persuasions who are deeply anxious about the potential Democratic Unionist Party involvement in the new government.

The DUP have a poor record on LGBT rights. Although the party leader claims they are not anti-LGBT, the DUP have vetoed same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland five times, despite a majority of public and representatives being in favour.

A party than constantly misuses its veto in this way is not a party that shares Stonewall's values or the values of most people across the UK.

The Conservatives have shown during the past two governments that they are committed to improving LGBT equality. And at the LGBT hustings that Stonewall, PinkNews and Pride in London hosted on 30 May, Justine Greening MP, said the Tories would not "backslide" on that commitment.

However, it's important to remember that our values are defined as much by who we stand with as what we stand for.

The Conservative Party, and the Prime Minister, have been on an incredible journey in the past 20 years recognising the importance of achieving equality for LGBT people in the UK and around the world.

They now count LGBT people as some of their fiercest supporters.

If such a partnership is pursued, The Conservatives - at the very least - have an opportunity and an obligation to demonstrate to their partners in the DUP why they too need to think again about LGBT people, our rights and our needs, and start actively working to achieve equality for LGBT people in Northern Ireland.

It's vital that the Conservative Party stand firm on LGBT equality, and the Prime Minister makes that clear from the outset.

We've made excellent progress over the past 50 years, but many LGBT people still face discrimination and abuse every day.

This government must actively continue to work for a world where everyone is accepted for who they are.

Stonewall outlined to all parties our six priorities for LGBT equality in the run up to the election. We asked them:

• Will you protect LGBT rights, and commit to improving them?

• Will you take hate crimes against LGBT people seriously, and give them the punishments they deserve?

• Will you take a zero-tolerance approach to bullying in schools?

• Will you make the NHS a better service for LGBT people?

• Will you commit to kicking homophobia out of sport?

• Will you stand up for LGBT people abroad?

We now have a further ask.

• Will you give equality to LGBT people in Northern Ireland?

LGBT rights need to be protected and extended under this government, not threatened.

That's the sort of government that the UK voted for on 8 June.

LGBT people exist in every community and we must not forget that, or let others suggest that they don't.

We stand by the side of every LGBT person, wherever they live, work, socialise or pray.

We'll be working with the government, and all elected parties and MPs, to ensure that together we can make the changes we've called for in our manifesto a reality.

We will continue to call for acceptance - without exception.

If you'd like to join us visit stonewall.org.uk