The leader of the Scottish Labour Party Richard Leonard called for a renewed effort from LGBT+ allies in challenging discrimination and demanding equality at the PinkNews Summer Reception, which was supported by Virgin Money and DLA Piper.
In a brief but clear and impassioned speech in Edinburgh on June 20, Leonard said: “Tomorrow marks the 18th anniversary of the repeal of Section 28, which in turn reminds us that every generation has to fight some of same battles, so we all need to be vigilant and keep demanding equality.
“Just as women’s equality should not be fought by women alone, neither should LGBT rights: it’s for all of us to do that.”
Leonard went on to comment on the current challenges, violence and discrimination facing LGBT+ people in Russia, currently playing host to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
“The World Cup is currently taking place in Russia at the moment,” he said.
“And many people see that as a game of skill, entertainment and so on. But Russia is also a place where LGBT rights are under attack.
“So-called ‘gay propaganda’ has been outlawed, leading to a fourfold increase in the number of assaults. We can’t take things for granted: we need to keep making the case for equality and tolerance.”
Leonard also used his speech to call for everyone – LGBT+ people and allies alike- to support LGBT+ charities, saying: “We need to support organisations like TIE, the Rock Trust and Stonewall: organisations that provide practical help for people at the time they need it.”
He concluded his speech by saying: “It’s not enough to be accepted, it’s not enough to be tolerated, it’s about everybody being properly included,” a statement that got a loud round of applause from the gathered crowd.
The reception is part of a series of summer events taking place around the UK to highlight the importance of LGBT+ rights.
Reception locations include London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.
The Edinburgh event featured politicians from the SNP, Labour, Green, and Liberal Democrat parties, as well as a keynote speech from Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson.