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Gscene LGBTQ Election hustings: the candidates respond.

Gscene Editorial Team November 25, 2019

Ahead of the UK General Election we are hosting an LGBTQ Election hustings on November 27th. The G-Scene News Team has written to all candidates, in all three Brighton & Hove constituencies, asking them all the same question.

We shall share their answers with you as we get them

Today we gear from Oliver (Ollie) Sykes from The Green Party standing in Hove and Portslade

“What do you see as the challenges faced by our LGBTQ+ communities in Brighton&Hove, and how would you address them in Parliament if we elect you to represent us?” 

As Green candidate for Hove and Portslade, I am hugely proud of our large and diverse LGBTQ+ community. Yet there is still such a long way to go before we have true equality.

One in six lesbian, gay and bi people have experienced a homophobic or biphobic hate crime or incident over the last three years, with a huge spike after Brexit when hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people increased by 147%.

And figures from the Home Office published just a few weeks ago reveal transphobic hate crime has grown by over a third. Conviction rates have significantly improved, but we know that there are still concerns around low reporting rates. I want to work with Sussex Police on helping to improve this. I will also campaign with partners in the city to end unequal hate crime sentences. Currently the highest prison sentence a court can give for homophobic or transphobic common assault is just six months. We need to change this so the law reflects the crime.

I will defend and advance trans rights, including privacy, legal affirmation of gender identity by a process of statutory self-declaration, and access to timely appropriate treatment.

The Stonewall School Report 2017 reminds us that two in five trans young people have attempted to take their own life, and one in five lesbian, gay and bi students who aren’t trans have done the same. It was clear to me from my work as Finance Lead on Brighton & Hove City Council that bullying and mental health are issues that need more central government funding, and an action plan in which health leaders can draw on best practice locally. Further to this, I will work closely with the LGBTQ+ community on equality of access to local services.

In the context of Brexit, I’m conscious of the threats to individual rights and protections in new trade deals and will work to ensure LGBTQ+ rights and protections are given due priority. And LGBTQ+ refugees who flee persecution need to be be protected by the Government.

I will work with Caroline should she be re-elected, alongside other like-minded MPs, on the campaign for inclusive mandatory sex and relationship education and will stand unequivocally against bullying and harassment outside primary schools.

If elected as MP for Hove and Portslade, I will always advocate for and celebrate LGBTQ+ rights. My door will always be open to my LGBTQ+ constituents.

The GScene LGBTQ+ Election Hustings. Wednesday 27th November 7 – 9pm. Dorset Gardens Methodist Church