David Mundell: This government’s LGBT reform agenda will lead the way on equality
Scottish Secretary David Mundell writes for PinkNews as the UK government unveils a raft of LGBT reforms.
It’s been said before that it’s harder to come out as a Conservative in Scotland than to come out as gay.
I have been proud to do both.
When I came out early last year, I was the first Conservative Cabinet member to do so in office. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do, but it has also proved to be one of the best.
Everyone in our society should feel the support, love and acceptance I felt. But I am acutely aware that isn’t the case.
It has been 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales. But in Scotland, that was only achieved in 1980.
We have come a long way since then. There are now more openly LGBT MPs and MSPs than ever before. Both north and south of the border we have secured equal marriage rights for all.
The UK is leading the way on ensuring our LGBT community has the same rights as everyone else.
But there is much more we can do.
So today we are announcing a package of measures to bring us one step closer to equality.
In particular, we aim to improve the lives of trans people. That’s why we will be launching a consultation on the Gender Recognition Act, ensuring the legal and medical processes for changing your gender are as streamlined as possible.
We aim to remove the current requirements on gender dysphoria, freeing people to focus on the emotional side of becoming exactly who they want to be.
We are also launching a survey to learn about the issues affecting the 1.5 million LGBT people across the UK. Focusing on health, education, safety and work, this will help us to develop a cross-government action plan to build a more inclusive and accepting society.
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This offers a voice to LGBT people to make sure we are addressing the challenges they face and issues that affect them, helping us build a progressive society that protects, accepts and celebrates the rights of everyone.
And with all this, I will continue to focus on doing even more for our young people, providing guidance and helping them to discover who they are.
I have worked extensively with the TIE Campaign to fight for truly inclusive education in our schools, and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with organisations like LGBT Youth Scotland to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
We have made great strides forward, but we cannot and must not be complacent. The future of the UK is diverse and inclusive, where gender or sexuality is no barrier to happiness or aspiration.
David Mundell is Secretary of State for Scotland