The Zhoosh! Brighton Blog
This is a post to tell you about what the Liberal Democrats in Brighton & Hove want to do for our LGBT community. Here are 10 solid commitments to action that will change the face of the community and the city for the better over the next 4 years, challenge some problem areas, plug some gaps, and protect and strengthen us as we live out and proud in our city.
I’m proud to be working with Cllr Paul Elgood, who has consistently stood up for LGBT rights and the LGBT community during his 12 years in office. Paul proposed Brighton & Hove’s first partnership register; was responsible for the AIDS Memorial Project; ensured the rainbow flag be flown on council buildings during Pride; and chaired the Equalities Forum at the council during the last Labour administration.
Brian Stone is standing with Paul for Brunswick & Adelaide ward. Brian was Chair of DELGA, the national Liberal Democrat campaign body for LGBT action. Along with them I am LGBT Spokesperson for Brighton & Hove Lib Dems.
The commitments set out in this manifesto cover a breadth of LGBT experience in the city, seeking to address persistent problems and strongly build up our community. They also reflect the commitment to LGBT equality Liberal Democrats have held to through the years, when it wasn’t fashionable for other parties, when it was a source of embarrassment to discuss gay rights. We led the debate against Section 28; for equal age of consent; against homophobic bullying – and are now taking the lead on achieving equal marriage and trans rights.
Our ten commitments for the next four years are:
1. Liberal Democrats would ensure that there is a full consultation on the future of Pride to re-establish it as the main LGBT fundraising event for the local community, which includes an event during Pride week in Hove and retains the Street Party in St James’s Street.
2. Liberal Democrats would prioritise Council funding on Community Safety, Equalities and the AIDS support grant and would seek to ensure their long-term protection.
3. The Liberal Democrats would re-establish the Equalities Forum that the Tories scrapped. We would ensure that the new re-constituted Forum provides the City’s diverse communities with a strong voice both inside the Council and with other statutory agencies.
4. The Liberal Democrats would increase voluntary sector grants by 10 per cent to provide a City Transition Fund to help voluntary sector groups struggling in the current economic climate.
5. For too long the Trans communities have been bystanders watching as the rights of the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities have been addressed. Now is the time that Trans rights come more to the fore. Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats welcome the decision of the Lib Dem Equalities minister to develop a national action plan on Trans Equality. We would set up a City Wide Trans Equality Forum, to include our partners in health and the Police, from which we would develop a four-year action plan.
6. Liberal Democrats believe that trans and homophobic hate crime is a major concern in the city (be it in the school, in the workplace or too often in the streets), but that it has largely gone unmeasured. As a consequence a Liberal Democrat Council would Introduce an independent study of LGBT, race and disability hate crimes to inform the development of an inter-agency action plan.
7. Under the Liberal Democrats, your Council would have a zero tolerance policy against bullying and harassment. All Council staff would have access to an independent whistle blowing support service. There would be comprehensive training and awareness of the policy for all employees, senior officers and would include elected officials. Liberal Democrats also believe that all schools should have detailed, widely promoted and fully implemented homophobic and trans bullying policies and under the Liberal Democrats the Council will seek to encourage all schools adopt one.
8. A Liberal Democrat Council would create and implement a strategy to develop the St James’s Street ‘Gay Village’ as a global LGBT destination. We would work with local businesses and community groups to increase its identity of the street as the LGBT centre of Brighton and Hove.
9. The Liberal Democrats would seek to have official recognition of the beautiful Brighton and Hove AIDS memorial as the national AIDS Memorial.
10. In Government the Liberal Democrats are bringing about one the greatest steps to full equality, the right not just to have a civil partnership but the right to “Equal Marriage’. No longer will our relationships be second-class. We are bringing about the Liberal Democrat belief of nothing less than equal. And we will continue to fight for the issues which matter to our community, including for the end of the discrimination of the blood ban.
But remember, we can only fulfill these promises if we are elected! Consider voting Liberal Democrat on May 5th.