Today marks the end of the annual LGBT History Month, a chance to reflect and celebrate the achievements in the advancement of LGBT+ rights.
The Conservative Party have a strong track record when it comes to LGBT+ rights as you will see from this timeline. Back in 1976 the Conservative Group for Homosexual Equality was formed and fast forward 26 years to 2002 when Alan Duncan became the first Conservative MP to come out. Two years later, in 2004, the first out trans Conservative councillor candidate stood in local elections in Haringey. Today, a total of 19 Conservative MPs identify as LGBT with two of those previously holding senior ministerial roles – Alan Duncan and Justine Greening.
To mark the start of LGBT History Month the Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Amber Rudd, spoke about the Government’s plans on the Hate Crime Action Plan to ensure an improved response to hate crimes. She also talked about the LGBT Survey launched last year that saw 100,000 responses from the LGBT community which will now be carefully reviewed. However, she also recognised that “while progress has been made, I am not complacent and will not stop until homophobic and transphobic bullying and discrimination is stamped out in our communities. I want to work with the LGBT community to ensure that every person is accepted, with no exceptions, and to improve the lives of LGBT people loving in the UK”.
It was a Conservative government who legislated for Same Sex Marriage, ensuring marriage equality for all and back in 2016 introduced Turing’s Law to posthumously pardon thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted of now abolished sexual offences.
The UK has the highest number of openly LGB parliamentarians in the world, with 45 MPs elected in June 2017 describing themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual. The UK is also recognised as one of the most progressive countries in Europe for LGBT rights by ILGA-Europe.
So, as LGBT History Month comes to a close its right that we celebrate the achievements made in the advancement of LGBT+ rights, but also recognise that there is much to be done and the Conservative Party will continue to advance the rights of the LGBT+ community both at home and internationally.