At Conservative Party Conference, LGBT+ Conservatives General Council Member, Sue Pascoe, delivered a speech on the main stage, ahead of the Prime Minister. Here's the full transcript of her speech:
“Conference I have come here today to tell you an amazing story. It’s the story of our party. It is my story.
This is a story about respect. It is a story about hope.
I always knew our party stood for personal freedom, expression and opportunity.
I never knew I would test these values so thoroughly.
For you see Conference, I’m a woman with a trans past, and I stand here, amongst you, as an equal.
When I started my journey to be my true self many people deserted me.
My party, our party stood by me.
My MP, Nigel Adams, was there for me when I asked for help. He treated me with respect and dignity, with empathy and equality. Thank you Nigel.
Today our party has brought in same sex marriage, our 75 point LGBT+ Action plan, is supporting transgender people with its proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act and is taking positive steps to reduce homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
As I have blossomed I have grown in confidence in our party. I have seen it become more diverse and more inclusive of people from all backgrounds and cultures.
Is there more to do. Yes there is and now is the time to do it.
Will we succeed in becoming ever more inclusive. Yes we will.
Today we are the party for everyone and I do mean everyone.
My grandfather was a master forgeman and my nan a shop assistant at Marks and Spencer. They taught me to go to school, work hard and respect others. These are Conservative values we all recognise.
Today we are the party which builds on tradition and innovates for the future.
We will help people succeed on merit.
We will see communities prosper not just in standard of living but in standard of life too.
We will give equality of opportunity. Before I close I wish to thank the Prime Minister personally on behalf of the transgender community for making it clear to the whole nation that being transgender is not an illness.
We all know the rich tapestry of nature which surrounds us. Nature isn’t black or white it isn’t only Male and female it is a multicoloured rainbow.
Conference as it is Black History Month I wish to close with the words of Dr Martin Luther King. “The time is always right to do what is right”.