Jeremy Corbyn: Trump and Pence must not encourage anti-LGBT discrimination
Jeremy Corbyn has called on Donald Trump and Mike Pence to stand up for LGBT Americans, after a series of concerning backwards steps.
The UK Labour leader was speaking at a PinkNews Parliamentary Reception when he addressed LGBT rights across the world.
He singled out US Vice President Mike Pence – a notorious opponent of LGBT equality in his speech, alongside President Donald Trump.
Mr Corbyn said: “I am disturbed by a lot of what was said and went on during the US Presidential election, and I would hope that President Trump and Vice President Pence will reflect on what was said during that campaign, and recognise that they must represent all Americans, whatever their sexuality and orientation, and not encourage more discrimination against them, or indeed violence against them.
“There has been an increase in homophobic hate crime, and as a culture we must celebrate diversity and accept our differences.”
The leader also spoke out against the homophobic purge in Chechnya, and pressed the UK government to help people fleeing persecution based on their sexuality.
He said: “In many countries, homosexuality is punishable by death and homophobic violence and persecution are commonplace.
“As a constituency MP, I’m often supporting constituents who are fearful of being deported to a number of countries, Uganda particularly, where they will suffer the most appalling oppression and probably death. I want us to stand up for those communities all around the world, and make it clear – to the Russian government about what’s going in Chechnya, just as we make it clear to the Ugandan government and many others.
“We are not prepared to accept this, we consider it an abuse of the human rights of the individual, and we should offer protection to individuals fleeing that abuse, as we would to anybody else in fear for their human rights.”
Also at the event, Mr Corbyn called for an apology to men with historical gay sex convictions.
Corbyn has long been a supporter of LGBT rights.
In recent times, he spoke to PinkNews before June’s election, pledging to appoint a dedicated global ambassador on LGBT rights to fight discrimination and promote equality globally.
He also criticised the Conservative Party’s cuts to local government funding, saying that their actions had “resulted in cutbacks to LGBT services, despite rising demand.
“Many have had to scale back and some have been forced to close their doors altogether,” he added.
“By protecting funding for local government, Labour will enable councils to keep open these crucial lifelines for the vulnerable parts of the LGBT community.”
The 68-year-old leader, who enjoyed significant gains in June’s election, also spoke to PinkNews as the Conservatives tried to tie up a deal with the ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party following the vote.
He said: “LGBT rights are human rights.
“They must not be sold out by Theresa May and the Conservatives as they try to cling to power with the DUP.”
Less than two weeks ago, he confronted Prime Minister Theresa May in Parliament with shocking statistics about LGBT hate crimes.
The Labour leader used PMQs to read out research by Pride in London that found a shocking number of Londoners have been a victim of hate crime.
In a question to Prime Minister Theresa May, Corbyn highlighted that “half of LGBT people in London had experienced hate crime.”
According to the study, 42% of LGBT Londoners have been a victim of hate crime in the last 12 months.
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Corbyn also wore a pride pin badge during PMQs, emblazoned with the slogan of Pride in London: “Love Happens Here”.
Earlier this year, the government passed Turing’s Law, which pardoned thousands of men convicted of historical gay sex offences.
As well as the posthumous pardons, the Bill also enabled living gay men to apply though the Home Office’s disregard process to have their historical offences removed.
The PinkNews Parliamentary Reception is generously supported by Lloyds Banking Group.