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15 rights LGBT people in the UK still don’t have

Amy Ashenden and Vic Parsons June 13, 2019

Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community take part in the annual Pride Parade in London on July 7, 2018. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)

This Pride month, we’ve seen the Home Office signal its LGBT+ allyship by changing it’s social-media avatar to a rainbow – while trying to deport a gay Kenyan rugby player to a country that still criminalises him for his sexuality (thanks to a British colonial-era law).

We’ve seen the NSPCC drop its first-ever LGBT+ campaigner, Munroe Bergdorf, following a anti-LGBT+ hate campaign. And then we saw the NSPCC employee responsible for hiring her subjected to homophobic abuse online.

We’ve seen a lot of brands launch rainbow-themed Pride campaigns.

And we’ve seen an overwhelming amount of violence against the LGBT+ community worldwide.

But while all that’s going on, we’re missing the bigger picture. We’re missing out on the basic rights granted to our heterosexual, cisgender peers.

So, here is a not-at-all comprehensive list of the rights we still don’t have.

1. Gay conversion therapy is still legal in the UK

The government put banning conversion therapy in its LGBT Action Plan in 2018, but are yet to implement the ban.

2. Trans prisoners are put in the wrong prisons

People are put in prison according to their legal gender. This means that transgender prisoners without a Gender Recognition Certificate are initially placed in a prison matching the gender they were assigned at birth, pending a Transgender Case Board meeting.

In 2015, two trans women died by suicide in the space of two months while being held in male prisons in the UK,

3. Gay and bi men can’t donate blood for three months after having sex

This has been the case since 2017 – before that, men who had sex with men could only give blood if they’d not had sex for a year (which is still the criteria in Northern Ireland).

Sex workers can also only give blood if they’ve not had sex for three months. Before the rule change in 2017, sex workers were banned from donating blood at all.

4. There’s no non-binary gender option on passports

Non-binary activist Jamie Windust spoke to PinkNews in March 2019 about why they launched a petition to get the government to change this.

5. HIV-prevention drug PrEP is not widely available

PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and it can drastically reduce the risk of being infected with HIV if taken daily.

But it’s not currently subsidised by the NHS and in April 2019, two-thirds of London sites involved in a trial of the drug had reached capacity and weren’t able to give it to any more gay or bisexual men.

6. No central London LGBT+ venues are fully accessible

Disabled LGBT+ people are excluded from queer venues, which aren’t accessible.

7. Intersex babies are operated on by the NHS

Intersex people are pressured into having surgery to make their bodies conform to the male/female gender binary, despite this not being medically necessary.

And the government doesn’t even know how often this happens.

8. Gay marriage is still illegal in Northern Ireland

Five years after same-sex marriage was legalised in the rest of the UK, it remains banned in Northern Ireland.

MPs Caroline Lucas and Vince Cable have backed a new campaign to lift the ban.

9. Sex education doesn’t teach LGBT+ relationships

Sex and relationships education hasn’t been updated since 2000 – before Section 28 was repealed.

MPs did recently vote to include LGBT+ people in new, compulsory sex and relationships education, but it won’t be brought in until 2020.

10. LGBT+ people can’t travel safely on public transport

On June 7, a lesbian couple were beaten up by four men after they refused to kiss on demand. The women were left covered in blood on a London night bus.

11. Teaching kids that LGBT+ people exist has caused protests in two cities

Parents have complained to seven primary schools in Manchester about LGBT-inclusive lessons.

Several Birmingham primary schools dropped the lessons – which, for example, show children that LGBT+ people exist by using books featuring same-sex parents – after weekly protests.

12. In Northern Ireland, trans people can be legally discriminated against

Trans people can legally be refused housing in Northern Ireland because of their gender identity.

13. Sexuality and gender identity aren’t included in the census

So we don’t know how many LGBT+ people there are in the UK.

The Scottish Parliament voted on June 12 to ask about people’s sexuality and gender identity in the next census, in 2021.

14. 24% of homeless young people are LGBT+

And they say it’s because of their sexuality. But funding for LGBT+ youth services is being cut.

15. The Gender Recognition Act still hasn’t been reformed

The Conservative women and equalities minister said in November 2018 that the government would respond to the GRA consultation by spring 2019, but no sign yet.

Theresa May pledged to reform the GRA at the PinkNews Awards in October 2017.

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