Ken Livingstone has published an LGBT manifesto ahead of the London mayoral election next month, promising support for London’s Pride event, a zero tolerance approach to hate crime and opposition to cuts in LGBT organisations’ funding.
Although broadly consistent with his previously released manifesto, today’s document includes a timely pledge to avoid the “scandal of homophobic advertising” on London transport, after the incumbent mayor Boris Johnson intervened last night to say TfL would not allow a series of adverts from advocates of ‘gay cure’ therapies to run on its buses.
Ken Livingstone said of the document: “I want London to be a world leader on equality – and proud of its work with its lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens. I will champion LGB&T equality and work closely with the community to oppose cuts, celebrate equality and difference and ensure Londoners are free to live the lives they choose.”
The manifesto pledges that Mr Livingstone will:
• Continue to support Pride celebrations across the capital and support World Pride coming to London this year.
• Put the Greater London Authority back into the Stonewall Employers’ Index.
• Appoint an LGBT adviser.
• Re-establish the Pride annual reception at City Hall.
• Operate a zero tolerance approach to homophobic and transphobic hate crime and prioritise work with the Met to improve awareness, training and responses among police officers.
• Oppose cuts to LGBT organisations imposed by the Tory-led government.
• Overhaul TfL’s advertising standards so that we never again have the scandal of homophobic advertising on buses being approved.
Mr Livingstone’s manifesto draws attention to Boris Johnson’s administration withdrawal of the annual mayoral Pride reception. In 2010, receptions for minority groups were replaced with “borough community receptions” which were designed to “bring people together rather than focusing on what is different”. Although he attended in 2010, he was absent at last year’s event.
Similarly, Mr Livingstone says he will re-enter the GLA in Stonewall’s index of LGB-friendly employers, something Mr Johnson said in 2009 would no longer be done in favour of an “approach that brings Londoners together, rather than dividing them”.
On hate crime, the manifesto pledges “joined-up, pan-London work with the Met to ensure that the best and most effective methods of responding to, monitoring, reporting and publishing data on LGB&T hate crimes are followed.
It promises increased awareness of homophobic and transphobic hate crime within the police, “to ensure they are published as priorities for police action and to increase confidence reporting aimed at driving up reporting rates”. The manifesto also pledges a review of borough LGBT Liaison Officers “to ensure such structures are as effective as possible and confidence to report is increased”.
Finally, regarding the Olympics the manifesto includes pledges to support Pride House, to ensure the gay and transgender community benefits “to the utmost from the Games and their legacy”, and to “bring the experience of winning the Olympics to supporting the bid for the London Gay Games 2018 bid and other efforts to encourage openness and inclusivity in sport”.
Last month, Mr Livingstone defended his relationship with the homophobic Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi while he was mayor and his former presenting job with Iranian broadcaster, Press TV, saying it was an attempt to “engage” with the country and reduce the threat of military action.
Stonewall will be hosting mayoral hustings with Mr Livingstone, incumbent mayor Boris Johnson, Jenny Jones of the Green Party and Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick in London tomorrow.