LGBT+ History Month is a powerful reminder of the push for equality – but there’s still a lot to do.
LGBT+ people at home and abroad still face bigotry and violence. Home Office figures from last year tell us hate crime against LGB people continues to grow, while transphobic hate crime nationally has mushroomed 81 per cent.
The COVID-19 crisis is compounding underlying problems too: before the pandemic, LGBTQIA people were 14 times more likely to be homeless – so not all will have a ‘safe place to call home’.
The push for equality continues, and council services make an enormous difference. In 2012, Green Party councillors established the first Trans Equality Scrutiny Panel. The work was groundbreaking, shining a light on the issues that trans people face, from bullying in schools to health.
Most important of all, that work has led to new approaches and a lasting legacy, including the first health action plan to include the trans community and an inclusion toolkit for teachers to help discuss transphobic prejudice.
We’re continuing our successful work with Sussex police to improve hate crime reporting. While the first Green administration here was named the most LGB-friendly local authority employer and top for our work in schools in the country, we benefit too from a brilliant LGBTQIA council staff forum.
Community and voluntary sector funding also allows local groups to raise the important issues of mental health and wellbeing. Through joint declarations against hate, and publicly marking awareness days – such as the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia – councillors are raising our voices to stamp out prejudice and champion equality.