I was pleased to hold a Zoom session with members of the Northampton ‘LGBTQ & Allies Forum’ to discuss Government support in this area and how I could work with them moving forward.
I am a strong supporter of equal rights, including LGBT rights, and I have consistently voted in favour of LGBT issues. For example, I voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage in England in 2013 through the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. I was subsequently invited by a leader of the LGBTQ community – and co-chair of this forum - in Northampton to attend his own same-sex wedding at the Guildhall on the first day it became legal in 2013 and was delighted to do so.
Representatives from the Trans community in Northampton joined the call, where they outlined their views on issues affecting the Trans community. I was told of how there has been a noticeable improvement in more emphasis on gender identity in schools. Compulsory LGBT education, which this government has made mandatory in schools, helps to facilitate this improvement.
I look forward to further such dealings with the community moving forward and I will bear their input in mind when having discussions with relevant colleagues in respect of both LGBTQ inclusion in education and any possible amendments to the Gender Recognition Act. I know that the Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss MP, takes a particular interest in this area, and the Government continues its support for the LGBTQ community.
The Government is due to publish its formal response on the matter of Gender Recognition soon and I look forward to its publication. Indeed, the Minister for Equalities set out priorities for the Government Equalities Office which you can read about here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/minister-for-women-and-equalities-liz-truss-sets-out-priorities-to-women-and-equalities-select-committee.