Sadiq Khan’s first year as Mayor of London – an LGBT look back
A year has gone by since Labour’s Sadiq Khan was elected Mayor of London, but what has he done for the capital’s LGBT community during his 12 months in office?
A look back shows that since his victory over Zac Goldsmith in a closely-fought contest, the Mayor has frequently shown his support on LGBT issues.
Days after his election in May, he flew the rainbow flag from City Hall to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).
“I was elected on a pledge to be Mayor for all Londoners and I will work with the LGBT+ community – as I will with all communities – to do everything I can to make London a more tolerant, fairer place to live,” he said at the time.
The following month, Khan attended the vigil organised to remember the victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, vowing to keep Londoners safe and showing his solidarity with the LGBT community.
“This crime against the LGBT community in London was a crime against all of us and we stand shoulder to shoulders with the victims and remember their families as well,” he told PinkNews.
“This is an attack on our freedoms and values. It is important that we double our efforts to be vigilant and to show solidarity.”
Also in June, he led Pride in London parade through the city streets.
In doing so, he restored the Mayor’s role after Boris Johnson’s absence in the previous five years.
In July, he pledged to help and support transgender police officers in London.
“Identity is an area that is evolving and developing and stuff, so I think you should respect people’s right to choose how they want to be identified,” he said.
In September, Khan confirmed City Hall’s intention to reform gender options during its consultations. Currently, such processes only allow Londoners to define their gender identity as male or female.
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While admitting there would be a delay to allow harmonisation with national statistics, he said: “City Hall is reviewing the wording of the gender question in order to be more inclusive of non-binary, intersex and transgender people and will seek to apply the change shortly.”
In December, Khan spoke out when a trans woman was abused by staff on the transport network, offering his “unreserved apology” for the incident and pledging a full investigation, as well as considering gender-neutral announcements.
The same month, the Mayor’s plans to invest £10,000 into research to find out why London’s LGBT venues are closing and help to protect them were announced by London Night Czar and LGBT club Duckie founder Amy Lamé.
More controversially, in February, Khan pushed for civil unions to be available for opposite-sex couples instead of being restricted only to same-sex couples, arguing that “all couples regardless of sex or sexual orientation, should be equal before the law”.
In April, he launched a new Metropolitan Police unit with the aim to tackle online hate crime. This new unit is the first of its kind in the UK.
One of Khan’s upcoming LGBT engagements is his appointment as a keynote speaker at the 2017 PinkNews Awards, one of the most significant LGBT+ events hosted in the UK.
On Wednesday, October 18, 200 guests will join us to enjoy an evening recognising the contributions of politicians, campaigners, charities, businesses, public sector employers, broadcasters and journalists towards achieving LGBT equality at home and overseas.