“Discrimination and prejudice are wrong in all their forms”-my speech on LGBT rights to HBBC Scrutiny Commission

November 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

The following is the speech I gave at last night’s meeting of Scrutiny Commission at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council at the Hinckley Hub; in an item on Support and Provision for the LGBT Community in Hinckley and Bosworth (which I’d asked be looked at by Scrutiny; as far as I know the first item of its kind at the Council):

“Thank you, Mr Chairman.
I’m pleased that this item is before us, following my requesting it be brought before Scrutiny earlier this year.
Nationwide this has been an amazing year for advancing equality-with Equal Marriage for Same Sex couples in England and Wales becoming law and, after yesterday’s vote, it’s well on the way to becoming law in Scotland too.
I hope, in the fullness of time, Northern Ireland will also follow suit.
But in local communities-including here in Hinckley and Bosworth-there is still more to do for there to be true equality and understanding among different sections of the community.
I pay tribute to the fantastic work of Proud Generation, which I’ve seen first hand as a Management Committee member of Next Generation.
Shani and Rebecca and their small team have done a fantastic job in delivering the first Borough-wide LGBT Advocacy and Advice Service, a real breakthrough for Hinckley and Bosworth; and I was proud to be in attendance at a number of the events listed in the report.
Each of them a first in the Borough-including yesterday’s Transgender Day of Remembrance Service at St Mary’s Church in the town, which sadly I couldn’t attend due to work commitments but at which I know the Borough Council was represented.
I wish a group like Proud Generation had been in the borough when I was growing up.
I’m sure, if it had, I wouldn’t have waited sixteen years before Coming Out.
It is the fear of how people will react, of facing potential discrimination; especially as a young person when growing up can be hard enough as it is.
And having people who’ve been through it all before and can provide help, support and reassurance is a real help.
That is why, in my view, we must ensure that Proud Generation’s work is able to continue, including-dare I say it-by providing financial assistance.
It would be a real tragedy if, this important work having been started, it had to stop due to a lack of resources.
In my own small way I hope to be a voice for the LGBT Community on this Council and have, in some small ways, including by getting the Stonewall youth survey linked to on the HBBC website and, indeed, getting this item brought before Scrutiny, attempted to help move things forward.
Discrimination and prejudice are wrong in all their forms and we need to do all we can-on this authority and partner agencies-to spread understanding, justice and peace.”

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