BBC News presenter Jane Hill this week spoke at a dinner for Square Peg Media, to commend the progress in the UK for gay rights, but to say that, around the world, as well as in the UK, there is still a lot to do for equality.
Speaking of her own upcoming civil partnership with her partner Sara, Hill jovially started by talking about the arrangements she had to make for the ceremony.
She said: “So at the moment, we’re about four months away, so the big things have been in place for a while, town hall venue, that sort of thing. I’ve organized the food and drink – I’ve got the main things sorted. And the last couple of weeks have been because we have been trying to sort out rings.”
She continued: “Do we want matching rings? Will we find matching rings that suit both of us? Which jeweler should we use?
“Everything, for all of us, is a new experience. So you go into all of these jewelers, and you think, ‘what reaction are we going to get?’”
Joking that she and Sara were identifiable as lesbians because they are “two women wearing SuperDry jackets”, she said that she had only personally had positive experiences, saying the worst she had was when someone scolded her for leaving it so late to find the rings.
“Seriously, how amazing that we live in the UK in 2013, and the worst that happens to me is that someone criticises me for my time management.”
Hill then went on to highlight other parts of the world, citing Russia, where many have criticised recently passed legislation to ban “homosexual propaganda”, in the media, and to minors.
She said: “I see bad news coming in all the time [working at the BBC], in the last week or so, the story dropped about Russia, and the bill that’s been through the lower house of the Russian parliament.The bill bans the distribution of information about homosexuality to children.”
Referring to the controversial Section 28, she asked: “Does this remind you of anything in this country?”
Noting the 436-0 vote on the Russian bill, and the arrest of some LGBT activists, and the attack on others by masked men, Hill concluded by highlighting moves forward in the past 50 years for LGBT rights in the UK, conceding that there is still some way to go, and drawing a comparison with the US, where anti-discrimination legislation is still to be passed in the Congress.
“So here, on World Pride Day, we should remember how very lucky we are. I know there’s still lots to fight for in this country, but we are very lucky in many ways.”