Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has welcomed the government’s decision to start a consultation on the future of LGBT policy in the autumn.
Writing for PinkNews.co.uk on Friday, Culture Secretary and Minister for Equalities, Maria Miller, said the “LGB&T Call for Evidence” consultation was designed help the government prioritise its next line of work for the LGBT community, once the same-sex marriage bill for England and Wales is signed into law.
Details of the consultation’s launch date are still to be announced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Yvette Cooper, welcomed news of the consultation, but said the government was already aware of key challenges faced by LGBT people.
“Well there is a whole series of areas that I think are really important,” Ms Cooper said to PinkNews.co.uk at Pride in London on Saturday. “People take for granted that because the law is in place [they think] actually there is equality – there isn’t.
“We know there still can be discrimination; we know there can still be homophobic bullying. I particularly am concerned about homophobic bullying in schools, I think there is a lot more we should do and can do.
“I’ve talked before about the Schools Out programme because I have seen in practice the work that it does – but actually a lot of schools are not doing that sort of thing and that makes a huge difference to teenagers.”
Mentioning homophobic bullying in the work place, Ms Cooper added: “There are a lot of areas where we still need to argue for cultural change; we still need to keep up the campaign for equality, so I hope [the government does] a really broad-ranging consultation that allows people to come forward with all kinds of issues, concerns [and suggestions of] what the next steps are when it comes to equality.”
Asked if she was surprised that the government felt the need to do a consultation when it was already aware of key LGBT issues such as homophobic bullying in schools, Ms Cooper told PinkNews.co.uk: “Well there are certainly a whole series of issues that the government could be getting on and dealing with without the need for a consultation and I hope that people will.
“We are going to keep pressing the case for compulsory sex and relationship education. I think there is a wide range of reasons why we need that. So some of my concerns are about homophobic bullying, but some of my concerns are also about the levels of violence in teenage relationships.”