International LGBT+ rights charity Kaleidoscope Trust announces new president to replace John Bercow
LGBT+ rights charity the Kaleidoscope Trust has announced that Norman Fowler, speaker of the House of Lords, has replaced John Bercow as its president.
Fowler is a former Conservative MP and served as secretary for health in the 1980s during Margaret Thatcher’s time as prime minister. He is credited with drawing attention to the HIV epidemic at a time when doing so was considered unpopular.
The 82-year-old has served as Lord Speaker of the House of Lords since 2016.
The Kaleidoscope Trust praised new president Normal Fowler as ‘a staunch advocate’ for LGBT+ people.
Sir Stephen Wall, chair of the charity’s board of trustees, said Fowler is “a staunch advocate for the rights of LGBT+ people globally”.
“His presidency of Kaleidoscope Trust sends a powerful message about the basic human rights still denied to LGBT+ people and about his public support for the work of the LGBT+ activists seeking to right a terrible wrong.”
Allies have always been integral to the fight for LGBT+ rights worldwide, and Lord Fowler’s advocacy has been of immense importance to the LGBT+ community here in the UK and abroad.
Meanwhile, the charity’s executive director Phyll Opoku-Gyimah praised Fowler as an “ally” to the LGBT+ community.
“Allies have always been integral to the fight for LGBT+ rights worldwide, and Lord Fowler’s advocacy has been of immense importance to the LGBT+ community here in the UK and abroad,” Opoku-Gyimah said.
“We are thrilled to have Lord Fowler join the Kaleidoscope Trust family and look forward to working with him in our ongoing battle to uphold LGBT+ rights across the globe.”
John Bercow resigned as speaker of the House of Commons last year.
The announcement comes following John Bercow’s resignation as speaker of the House of Commons last year. Bercow had also served as president of the Kaleidoscope Trust.
Although the holder of the office of speaker is required to be politically independent, Bercow repeatedly stood up for LGBT+ rights during his decade in the prominent role and his resignation will come as a blow to LGBT+ advocates.
In 2002 he famously defied a three-line Conservative whip to vote in favour of allowing adoption for unmarried or same-sex couples.
In 2009, he spoke out in favour of holding civil partnerships at the Palace of Westminster, saying: “So far as civil partnerships are concerned, I feel very strongly that this is a matter of equity and justice.”
Speaking at last year’s PinkNews Awards, Bercow declared that “trans rights are human rights”.
Bercow has recently become a controversial figure over accusations of bullying made by senior Tory ministers.