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Comment: Equality minister Lynne Featherstone on the drive to tackle homophobia in sport

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  1. I love how the Conservatives and their supporters, the Lib Dems, repeatedly dismiss government “diktats” (that would be the essential equality legislation that the Tories fought tooth and nail against – and this is not the first time Featherstone has been so dismissive of these laws) it’s a useful way to make it clear that we’re not to expect any equality laws from them

    Instead we get pretty speeches, but no real policy or action

  2. The Lib Dems aren’t “supporters of the Conservatives”, you dolt. They’re the party with the longest and proudest record of LGBT equality. The first party with such equality in an election manifesto. The only major party to support equal marriage.

    Lynne is right. Legal protection is an important step, but we won’t have achieved equality until we don’t need that protection. Homophobia and transphobia is particularly common among sports fans. Projects like Kick It Out have shown that discrimination can be tackled, and Lynne is doing that.

    What part of “launching a charter for action, signed by many major sporting bodies”, is “no real policy or action”? This is a major thing for making sport more accessible to LGBT people, both as players and as fans.

    It’s clear that Sparky is ignorantly spouting nonsense to try and derail a long-overdue initiative.

    1. well this isnt true. Labour has the best LGBT record, as it is the only party to actually put in pro gay legislation.

      1. Labour watered down the Lib Dem’s civil partnership legislation. Labour spent taxpayer’s money fighting to keep discrimination in the armed forces. Labour implemented the Gender Recognition Act, with its problematic GRCs, only under threat of prosecution from the European Court of Human Rights. Labour legitimised transphobia in the Equality Act 2010.

        That’s not to say that some good things didn’t happen under Labour, on the occasions where they followed the Lib Dems’ lead, but their record is far from clean.

        1. legalising gay sex, civil partnerships, banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, allow gays and lesbians to adopt and get IVf. Come now, lets not be unfair to labour. I personally think Tony Blair is a human turd, but I iwll give him credit on gay rights, he had everything to lose and nothing to gain electorally yet he still pushed a gay rights through.

          While the lib dems in govt have – given faith groups unregulated control over education, shyed away from full marriage equality. Not exaclty a great record is it?

          1. Shied away from full marriage equality? The Lib Dems are the only major party who support it, and Lynne has outlined a programme that will include first religious civil partnerships (simple to achieve since it doesn’t require further legislation), and then consultation into equal marriage.

            Let’s see how the Lib Dems do after 13 year of majority Government, rather than ten months of Coalition, shall we? Labour achieved precious little in their first few years after 1997, after all.

      2. Andrew Hickey 15 Mar 2011, 5:24pm

        Not true. Legalisation of gay sex in England and Wales did happen under a Labour government – at the instigation of Roy Jenkins, who was later the leader of the SDP, one of the two Lib Dem predecessor parties. It wasn’t legalised in Scotland and Northern Ireland until the 1980s – under the Thatcher government, astonishingly enough.
        The Lib Dems of course have not had a chance to bring in any pro-LGBT legislation until last year, but have already stopped the deportation of LGBT people to countries where they can be persecuted for their LGBT status, have announced that the criminal records of gay men convicted for consensual sex will be purged, and are in the process of bringing in true marriage equality.

    2. Personally I feel a little bit let down by the lib dems in govt. I wanted a coaltion govt where the minority party had a bit more leverage and I had really hoped that by now marriage equality would be in full swing. We still don’t have religious CPs (I thought there was some further piece of legislation to be changed with a further consultation in may on that change only?). I still don’t know when the consultation is to start on marriage equality. When she speaks to the “church times” then marriage equality is only going to progress in “baby steps”. As far as I can see the lib dems only have at most 4 more yrs to make any kind of impact otherwise we will back to a tory or lab majoirty govt again. I can’t be the only one disillusioned by a coalition govt and feel my lib dem vote was a waste of time. As for these sport, schools etc initiaitves then it all sounds good but the real achievements are changes in the law. That’s actually hard work trying to get all the mps on board.

      1. Jock S. Trap 17 Mar 2011, 10:42am

        I think I’m right in saying religious Civil Partnerships come into affect at the end of the year with the consultation on equal marriage I believe starting in May.

        I strongly believe that by allowing religious Civil Partnerships will show those religious bigots that the ceremony of same sex marriage doesn’t make the world fold in on itself. Though they could be reminded that other democracies do actually already have such equality in place.

        I do believe that all three party leader are in support of Equal Marriage even those it’s just the Lib Dems who have it as policy, anyway here’s hoping.

  3. lynne feathers stone , has a most commendable position, she must let down that banner, of fairnes,and equality, and must not forget because of he murders and harrassments, and other assaults from bigotry, in religion and corporate , and elsewhere, serious action, and peneatlies must be enacted, on behalf of the victums their families and their children and their communites, racism and bigotry and prejudice are evil demons of abuse and discrimantion, effecting in the most horrific forms the majority of this nations women , children , and minorities, it must not every be toloreated, children must have a better fairer and peaceful and safer tomorrown nowing they all are loved and they should start by loving others in kinds , people are different, and as long as they are not hurting one another, you simple let people alone and be, to live peaceful lives respecting one another and their bounderies hate religions and klans are he number one deviants for wars and violence in this, the bigot a

    1. Jock S. Trap 17 Mar 2011, 10:44am

      I strongly believe that only when we have total equality can we finally deal effectively with the problems of homophobic bullying, abuse, violence and discrimination.

  4. “Imagine England’s cricket team without Steven Davies”

    They’d be quite thirsty as there’d be nobody to bring them their drinks – that’s pretty much all he did this winter.

      1. are you two crazy or something

        1. Yes, they care about cricket.

  5. Well done to Lynne for having the courage to champion this issue! It will make a tremendous difference in the longer term – particularly for the new generation of sportspeople emerging from school.

    I’m sure that Lynne’s appointment as “Equalities Minister” was sometimes considered to be tokenistic – simply to have a trans-woman in the role. But her determination and political knowhow have clearly legitimised her position.

  6. ncishoreham 15 Mar 2011, 7:39pm

    ” I am lucky to be in a position as minister for equalities to be able to do so much.”
    When are you going to do something for unpaid volunteers who are in working in the third sector ? They do not have even the basic rights that every body else has .

  7. Notice that Lynne Featherstone writes for Pink News about this sports charter, but when it comes to the much more significant issue of legislating for marriage equality she goes to the Church Times to reassure them that it’s a very very long way off.

    Unless legislation for marriage equality is passed by no later than next year we will conclude that the Lib Dem party is just full of hot air.

    1. They’re just short of powerless parrots in gov. They went into liason mode with the Tories and alienated their own actual and potencial voters. Bad luck or wrong decision? Sa vie.

      1. Jock S. Trap 17 Mar 2011, 10:45am

        Blimey, you must be really pissed that this government is trying to do some positive stuff.

        1. Positive stuff? Funerals and undertakers are more positive than anyone in this coalition. One can be gullible, or may have side interests in the matter, just wait and see the water reaching your neck …

  8. Lynne Ryness, it’s not all goody and dandy in your speech department, is it? Why aren’t you so outspoken and criticise homophobia when it happens? It’s justifiable to massage your own political image when you’ve done your whole homowork. Where were you when Chris Grayling told the World B&Bs should be able to bar gay couples? Where were you when George Osborne threw the gay pantomime jibe in Parliament? No where to be seen. Now you have the guts to come here to tell us you’re being goody. So you think you smell of roses? Not here my darling. We know why you don’t criticise your homophobic masters … and we know why you’ll not be able to produce any tangible social advancement in this area …

    1. What concerns me is that both the Lib Dems and the Tories did not utter a word in agreement with the unexpected government apology in respect of Alan Turing. I wrote to Nick Clegg and to David Cameron at the time, but neither was prepared to lend their backing.

      1. Their modus operandi is to deliver nicey nicey messages of support and empty promises to the gay community. Meanwhile, they’re articulating and empowering homophobic institutions in the background. They must be in hope no one will notice the inconsistence, and that it will get them through until the next election.

  9. de Villiers 15 Mar 2011, 8:21pm

    > that would be the essential equality legislation that the Tories fought tooth and nail against

    Is that really correct? Is there any reference to the Conservative position on either the Equality Act or the earlier legislation?

  10. Lynne, I think you are doing great work. I do think that making LGBT people equal in the eyes of the law would do a lot to change societal attitudes. The ban on legal recognition of same sex marriage is damaging to progress and reversing it would impact beneficially on homophobia in a whole range of areas.

  11. Who did the gender reassignment surgery on Lynne? It’s very convincing – a great example of a progressive trans-woman. Come on Lynne – SHARE THE NEWS!

  12. I agree – Lynne’s transition from male to female is going really well. I didn’t even realise that she was a transsexual. That is so cool!

  13. I remember reading that she used one of the surgeons that works out of the Charing Cross clinic – apparently he’s one of the best in the country.

  14. I think she could probably benefit from seeing a maxillofacial surgeon – to soften out the masculine facial features. In any case, it’s great to have a transwoman as a member of parliament. We are moving forward!

  15. Jan Bridget 15 Mar 2011, 10:09pm

    Whilst I welcome the government’s Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality: Moving Forward, I have to say I am disappointed that the vulnerabilities of LGBT young people (apart from homophobic bullying) have been left out. Also that the mental health and substance misuse problems have been ignored.

  16. She may be a transwoman (good for her!), but she still has more work to do as the Equality minister. Less pandering to stone-age conservatives please!

  17. She may be a successful transwoman, but what about transwomen who are on long NHS waiting lists, and cannot afford to see a surgeon privately.

  18. The needs of the Ts (from LGBT) are going to be addressed by her in the future. Give the woman a break! She’s got a lot on her plate right now.

  19. Helen Wilson 15 Mar 2011, 10:54pm

    Lynne Featherstone is not a trans woman as some have suggested and has been posted on PinkNews. She has given birth to children and that not currently possible with current gender reassignment techniques.

    As a trans woman I would welcome Lynne as one of us, but unfortunately she is not.

    Its pretty sad that people are resorting to calling her trans to bully her.

    1. Helen, it sounds like you have self-loathing issues. Why would it be “bullying” to call her “trans”? Perhaps inaccurate, but only “bullying” if the reader perceives the descriptor as a negative.

      1. Helen Wilson 15 Mar 2011, 11:36pm

        I don’t hate myself, I used to before I transitioned but not anymore. As a trans person I have an good insight into how painful it is when people miss-gender you.

        But that is what these Tory trolls are trying to do and if I was to make a more accurate description of what’s happening then I would say its:

        CIS gendered people being transphobic to a CIS gendered woman.

      2. de Villiers 16 Mar 2011, 8:22am

        It is disgusting to throw around insults that people on this board are self-loathing. Your behaviour is despicable.

        1. Agreed. Dips’ comment was pathetic.

  20. No-one has done more than Lynne for us T-people. She’s not just interested the usual LGB’s that most politicians try to keep sweet.

  21. There’s nothing wrong with Lynne being Transsexual. Anyway, it shouldn’t matter. She should champion all equality rights.

  22. I would welcome her as a role model for transwomen – whether or not she is a trans. I don’t know about the reports of her having children, but I suppose the physical expression of gender is not always clear – as perhaps in her case.

  23. Helen Wilson 15 Mar 2011, 11:23pm

    She married Stephen Featherstone in Haringey in 1982, but divorced in 1996. They have two children (born February 1984 and July 1989)

  24. are there any UK trans politicians?

    1. Helen Wilson 16 Mar 2011, 12:36am

      I think we have a few councillors and Cambridge used to have a trans mayor.

      But that about it.

      Non of our main parties have even tried a trans candidate to become a MP.

      1. that doesn’t sound good..we’re always been told how important it is to get lesbian and gay people into politics etc and then there isn’t a single mep, mp or member of the house of lords who is trans…surely one of the parties can find someone…

      2. Zoe O'Connell 16 Mar 2011, 3:37pm

        On the Trans front, Cambridge currently has Cllr Sarah Brown and two previous Trans councillors, one of whom was the mayor you mention. There is also a Tory councillor in one of the Home Counties but I don’t know if they’re out or not, so I can’t say much. I don’t know about Labour but I’d be surprised if they didn’t have someone.

        In terms of internal party structures, I can only speak for the LibDems but the LGBT LibDems’ Exec is one quarter Trans (Including myself) and I am also on the East of England regional executive.

        Alexandra MacRae of the SNP is Trans and stood for parliament both pre and post transition. I’ve been told there was a Trans LibDem candidate once, but if there was I haven’t been able to find out who – I’m not sure if they were out or not.

        The problem may be not that there aren’t many Trans politicians, but that few of us are happy being out, much as was the situation with LGB 20 years ago.

  25. Jock S. Trap 16 Mar 2011, 9:07am

    Overall I think Lynne Featherstone is the right person to be Equality Minister. To be honest I think this is one of the things that has been good about the coalition, the fact that we do have the Lib Dems we are supporters of LGBT equality.

  26. OrtharRrith 16 Mar 2011, 10:50am

    Where is this rubbish that Lynne is a trans woman coming from? And why?

    Whilst I’d be delighted if she were, clearly she isn’t – a very simple and easy google search shows that!
    I agree with Helen that the mis-gendering of someone can prove very hurtful and the perpetuation of such lies will only cause distress. Please refrain from spreading them.

    I would not wish for anyone to be transgender. Being trans is not something to be taken lightly.

  27. Jock S. Trap 17 Mar 2011, 10:44am Report Reply

    I strongly believe that only when we have total equality can we finally deal effectively with the problems of homophobic bullying, abuse, violence and discrimination.

    We will never have total equality, and I should hope not either, nornal people do not want to be equal and share equalities with homosexuals.

    Lynne is a fool and the soon she goes the better, Chris Grayling should replace her.

  28. lymnne feather stone, britain and france and united states and all other civililized countries that have already been civil rights and equal rights advocates and standing against hatred and hate crimes, the aclu and familiy advocates hillary clinton and obama and nancy peolosi and harry reid all of them had better let uganda no that if they try and harm any children are people and families for being gay as hate crime and discrimination , that the enttire parlimament who acted off off of the ab;use and instigated murder and rape will be courtmarshall an warrants given for murder and crimes against humanity, and it the do not come out they will be taken out dead are alive, also that any one in their country acting out hatred on to others in a violent way will be dealt with as terrorism on victums by hate gangs weater they; are parliment are on the ground , a murderer is a murderer and they have to be stopped and racism do not give you the right to murder anyone, the racist is the crime

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