Banning Incitement to Homo, Bi and Transphobic Hatred

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2007 National LGBT Conference
8 November 2007

Conference welcomes the Government’s recent announcement (8 October 2007) that it plans to ban incitement to homophobic hatred in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. However, conference notes that this announcement has met a mixed response, both from those who oppose virtually all moves towards LGBT equality but also from some who seek to be spokespeople for the gay community.

Conference rejects suggestions that such a ban is either unnecessary, is an attack on free speech or would make young offenders of kids in every playground for using the word ‘gay’ as a general insult.

Conference notes that:

1.Freedom of expression is not the right to recklessly or deliberately incite hatred towards a whole group of people;

2.The legal concept of incitement to hatred has a very high threshold and does not include the holding of prejudiced views, rudeness or offensive statements;

3.Equivalent legislation banning race hatred, which has been on the statute book for some years, has not resulted in ill-judged prosecutions.

Conference welcomes UNISON’s public support for this ban and UNISON’s call for it to be extended to cover incitement to hatred of trans people and disabled people.

Conference calls on:

A.The national LGBT committee to continue to work with the NEC and Labour Link for these increased protections;

B.Branches and individual members to contact their MPs to set out our position.