Defending and promoting LGBT equality under the law

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2016 National LGBT Conference
28 July 2016

Conference welcomes progress on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality under the law. Decades of campaigning have won decriminalisation, recognition and positive rights. We look forward to marking the 50th anniversary of partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales by the 1967 Sexual Offences Act.

However, conference notes that laws that seem cutting edge when passed rarely stand the test of time. For example, the Gender Recognition Act 2004 broke ground in not having a medical treatment requirement. Many countries still demand sterilisation as a condition of gender recognition. The Equality Act 2010 included gender reassignment as a protected characteristic in harmonised legislation. These were welcome steps. But the 2016 Women and Equalities Select Committee report on transgender equality called for both laws to be updated. Amongst other recommendations, it called for:

1. Gender recognition in line with the principles of gender self-declaration;

2. Investigation of the need to create a legal category for non-binary people;


3. The Equality Act protected characteristic to be changed to ‘gender identity’.

Conference endorses these recommendations and expresses concern at the Tory government’s response to merely ‘keep these issues under review’.

Conference further notes that legal changes are not always for the better. Conference condemns Tory:

A. Plans to repeal the Human Rights Act;

B. Portrayal of workers and equality rights as ‘red tape’;

C. Drive to privatise public services;

D. Erosion of the welfare safety net;

E. Attack on trade unions through the Trade Union Act 2016.

Conference notes that many Tory plans have previously been held in check by hard-won European Union requirements on health and safety, workers rights, human rights and equality. Conference expresses concern about risks to our domestic legislation following Brexit.

Conference calls on the national LGBT committee, working with the national executive council and Labour Link, to engage LGBT members in:

I. Lobbing for implementation of the Trans Equality Select Committee recommendations;

II. Defending workers rights, irrespective of the size of employer;

III. Working for the repeal of the Trade Union Act;

IV. Fighting erosion of equality and human rights protections and continuing to campaign for strengthened laws;

V. Defending and improving welfare benefits.