Gloria De Piero: Pride is a time to celebrate, and contemplate work to be done for LGBT rights

Gloria De Piero June 27, 2014
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Shadow Minister for Equalities Gloria De Piero writes for PinkNews on the importance of Pride, and why we must be vigilante to ensure hate crimes and prejudice are addressed.

Tomorrow we will march in celebration of just how much we’ve achieved together in the fight for equality.

Freedom to love hasn’t been an easy journey and I couldn’t be prouder of the role my Party played, hand in hand with campaigners, to get us where we are today.

Equalising the age of consent, abolishing the hateful Section 28, adoption rights for gay and lesbian couples, the Gender Recognition Act, Civil Partnerships. Every single one of these and many other measures a milestone for LGBT people across our country.

And this year, at last, marriage is equal under the law, seen through by Labour votes.

It’s good news too that those couples who’ve been waiting to convert their civil partnerships to marriage finally have a date, although disappointing it is still 6 months away.

Pride is a time for celebration, but it is also the time to re-commit ourselves to the work still to be done.

The appalling acid attack in Vauxhall just this month and the rise in homophobic hate crime in Scotland – up by a quarter in the past year – remind us that prejudice and discrimination still blights lives in London and other parts of the UK.

It is a scandal that young LGBT people still suffer homophobic bullying in our schools and colleges. We must keep up the pressure to deliver compulsory and comprehensive sex and relationship education that teaches respect for gender identity and for love regardless of whether same sex or opposite sex.

And as my colleague Tristram Hunt has spoken about, there is no place in our schools for textbooks which teach hatred and falsehoods about the LGBT community.

But it is not just in the UK where we still have work to do. Across the world, many people live every day in fear of prejudice, imprisonment and death because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

I’m proud that Labour will be the first Party to appoint a special envoy for LGBT rights to use our international standing to support LGBT groups across the world and to advocate for respect and LGBT rights in those nations where it is still lacking.

As I march tomorrow with LGBT Labour friends and colleagues in London Pride yes I will be celebrating, but I will also be thinking of those across the world who lack the freedoms LGBT people now enjoy in Britain, and all that we have yet to achieve.

Gloria De Piero is Labour’s Shadow Minister for Equalities.

Related topics: gloria de piero, Pride, Pride in London

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