Greens launch LGBTIQ Euro manifesto

Besi Besemar May 15, 2014

Green MEP and Euro candidate Keith Taylor, together with Green Euro candidate Cllr Alexandra Phillips, launched the LGBTIQ Greens European Election Manifesto 2014 at the Bedford Tavern, Western Street, Brighton today.

Keith Taylor, MEP
Keith Taylor, MEP

The LGBTIQ manifesto makes three pledges for elected Greens, who promise to:

• Make EU membership conditional upon granting rights for LGBTIQ citizens. Greens also support making LGBTIQ rights a core European competency, and would argue for a vote to enshrine a set of minimum rights for LGBTIQ people via legislation in Parliament.

• Support LGBTIQ rights, oppose racism, ableism, sexism and all other forms of oppression around the world.

• Encourage the EU to work with and hear the voices of discriminated-against groups and their chosen representatives.

The manifesto also champions an inclusive economy for LGBTIQ people; takes a lead in calling for an end to the widespread legal requirement that trans people must identify as male or female; advocates a humane asylum system that offers protection for LGBTIQ asylum seekers; and strongly opposes cuts to the NHS, which will make it harder for trans people to access gender reassignment services.

Keith Taylor MEP said: “Greens have an incredibly strong track record in fighting for LGBTIQ rights in Europe, and helping the EU to move successfully towards true equality. The Green Group of MEPs, more so than any other group, is completely committed to LGBTIQ equality.

“And as part of the European Parliament’s LGBT Rights Intergroup I have worked towards a world free from homophobic prejudice and will continue to do so if re-elected. Candidates must stand in solidarity with the struggles of all LGBTI people; we must continue to fight for equality across the world, whilst not forgetting the continued discrimination and prejudice faced by many.”

Cllr Alex Philipps

Green Euro Candidate and Green City Councillor Alexandra Phillips, said: “The EU is strong in advancing LGBTIQ rights and the Greens have always been in the forefront of that. Voting Green means more voices in Europe being raised in support of true LGBTIQ equality. It’s one of the reasons why the Green Party is in favour of EU membership – to help us continue our track record of fighting for LGBTIQ rights across the continent.”

Both candidates have also signed ILGA-Europe’s Coming Out pledge to show their commitment to human rights and equality for LGBTIQ people throughout Europe. More Green candidates than from any other party have signed the pledge.

The ‘Gay Friendly’ credentials of the local Green Party in Brighton & Hove recently took a sever setback after the local party attempted to remove the annual grant of £25,000 to the organisers of Brighton Pride.

During the debate to set the City budget for 2014-15, Cllr Geoffrey Bowden, Chair of the Council’s Economic Development & Culture Committee and a former trustee of the Brighton Pride Limited Company that crease trading in 2012 with debts of over £200,000 lectured Conservative and Labour councillors during the debate telling them ‘Pride is not a scared cow’ in trying to justifty his decision to remove of the hard fought for annual grant to Pride.

His leader Cllr Jason Kitcat twittered the following day that Cllr Bowden’s speech “was very brave”.

Conservative and Labour councillors did not agree and voted for an ammendment to keep the money in place for another year.

Brighton Pride CIC raised £43,000 for local volunteer LGBT organisation last year which was distributed through the Rainbow Fund grants programme and the City Council estimate that the weekend event brings in an estimated £13 million pounds of benefit to the local economy annually.

Numberous requests by Gscene Magazine to the leader of the Green Group, Cllr Jason Kitcat to explain if anyone from the Green Party or from the City Council had asked to see the Pride accounts before making the decision to cut the grant, remain unanswered.

During the Greens term in office, Brighton and Hove City Council have dropped out of the Stonewall Top 100 Gay Friendly Index, from a position of 4th in 2010 to 105 in 2014.

Speaking at the time Council leader Jason Kitcat, said: “The Stonewall Index is not reflective of the huge amount of work that goes on in the council and the community. I am confident we are supporting all of our equality groups and leading pioneering work in some areas. However, we are not complacent and look forward to receiving feedback which will help strengthen our work.”

James Ledward
James Ledward

James Ledward, editor of Gscene at the time responded: “From the lofty highs of being placed third in the index in 2009 and revelling in the acolades that followed, to completely drop out of the published index top 100 companies in 2014 should maybe be viewed more humbly by the Green administration who seem to have lost sight of the fact that the LGBT community is a community with complex needs and not a financial commodity to barter with.