Writing for PinkNews.co.uk, Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband says he is “delighted” to be supporting this weekend’s Pride in London event, but adds the death of transgender teacher Lucy Meadows in March of this year shows more needs to be done to end prejudice in society.
I am delighted to give my support for this year’s annual Pride event in London, celebrating love and marriage. The Pride celebrations show just how far we have come on equality, bringing together the rich diversity of modern Britain. But it is also a reminder of the ongoing campaign to ensure a future free from prejudice both at home and in many other parts of the world.
Twenty five years ago this year the Conservative Government introduced Section 28 which set out to stigmatise and stir up prejudice against the LGBT community. 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.
I am proud to lead a party that has consistently fought for equality. Later this year we mark the 10th anniversary since Labour in government abolished Section 28.
Together we have made great progress towards equality: creating an equal age of consent; ending the ban on LGBT people serving in our forces; increasing sentences for hate crimes; outlawing discrimination in goods and services; and bringing about civil partnerships.
The Labour Party champions equality because it is the right thing to do. The desire to create a more just society goes to the heart of what it means to be British. That is why we must all speak up against prejudice. I don’t think that the person you love should determine the rights you have and 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 still more to be done. The terrible death of Lucy Meadows highlighted the prejudice faced by the trans community. 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.
Pride is our opportunity to speak with one voice against homophobia, hate crimes and discrimination. I want Britain to be seen as a beacon of hope on LGBT equality. Best wishes for a great Pride.
Ed Miliband is the Leader of the Labour Party