Green councillors have marked the end of LGBTQ+ History Month with a call for continued joint work to promote equality in the city and tackle multiple discrimination people face.
Noting recent data showing that homophobic and gender identity hate incidences and crimes reported to the police have increased, Greens say LGBTQ+ History Month sends a powerful message about the work needed to secure equality now and into the future.
With councillors of all parties recently meeting to discuss and vote on the council’s budget, Greens say it is vital that equalities work remains a council priority. Proposals put forward by the Greens agreed at a meeting on Thursday, February 24 protect equalities work from cuts, protect grants to the community and voluntary sector and maintain resources to tackle hate crime and anti-social behaviour.
This builds on continued work to support LGBTQ+ communities in the city, including through increased support for education and support in schools, as well as work in collaboration with community and voluntary groups focused on equalities in the city.
Cllr Steph Powell commented: “In an age where intolerance is sadly on the increase, and with local council budgets squeezed more than ever by cuts, we have protected our equalities work. In fact we have gone further by investing in it.
“Cross-cutting work on equalities is vital as the discrimination people face rarely exists in isolation. We have retained our LGBTQ+ officer, and we now have a dedicated anti-racist officer, as well as disability officers in place. In March we’ll also mark International Women’s Day, and our recent budget proposals also ensure funding to tackle domestic violence and hate crime.
“We’re also deeply concerned that the pandemic has widened existing inequalities and increased hardship for many. So our budget proposals also put more resources into schemes that help those facing a soaring cost of living crisis. We’re increasing the support available for those facing rising fuel costs and who need help accessing emergency food or mental health support.
“However the work continues and we know there is more to do. We’re proud to stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ community at the end of this history month. Thanks to events held across our city we’ve been reminded of our diverse past, and of the need to continue to raise our voices for a more equal, inclusive future.”