Caroline Lucas was elected MP for Brighton Pavilion in May 2010. She looks back over the last five years at what she has been able to achieve for LGBT residents in her constituency.
“AS the first Green MP to be elected to Parliament, I have actively campaigned for same-sex marriage legislation, tabling amendments when the Bill came to Parliament to give same-sex couples the same pension rights as opposite sex couples and to right the wrong inflicted on trans people who were forced to annul their marriages in order to acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate, under the terms of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.
“I campaigned for genuine equality through civil partnerships being available to opposite sex couples and lobbied the Government to take action against those who promote and provide so-called ‘gay cures’ – and called for a ban on conversion therapies for under 18s.
“I spoke out against homophobic chanting at football matches – discussing this with the Albion and I lent active support to community initiatives and those from the FA to tackle the problem and I tabled a parliamentary motion calling for Government action to ensure that the national game, from grassroots level right up to the professional game, and from the boardroom to the terraces, is free from any kind of discrimination against the LGBT community.
“I actively promoted LGBT rights in other countries through speaking at IDAHOBIT’s annual events, raising specific cases with Ministers, condemning the LGBT death penalty laws in Uganda and urging the Government to make LGBT equality a focus for work at its embassies across the world.
“I called on Ministers to ensure safe haven and refugee status for LGBT people fleeing persecution in violently homophobic and transphobic counties – including taking up specific individual cases and supporting parliamentary motions.
“I co-sponsored a parliamentary motion urging Ministers to end the ban on men who are openly gay or bisexual being barred for life from donating blood, helping secure a 12 month deferral (far from perfect but step in the right direction!) and I raised concerns about the NHS requiring trans people to undergo a mandatory two-year period of psychiatric assessment and condemned the treatment of trans people by the press, with specific reference to The Sun.
“I also worked with Sussex Police to ensure tackling LGBT hate crime as a priority.
“Regarding HIV/AIDS I lobbied Ministers to extend the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine programme to boys and men who have sex with men and led the parliamentary campaign on HIV self testing.
“I worked with a Brighton & Hove based charity to call on Government to make an international blueprint for a HIV free generation to be a key focus of international development work and lobbied Ministers about the ongoing impact of the international funding crisis at the Global Fund to fight HIV/Aids and called for action to ensure that funding gaps are urgently plugged.
“I campaigned for adequate social care provision for those living with HIV and Aids, including opposing the end to ring fencing of the Aids Support Grant which local authorities get to meet the social care needs of adults and children living with HIV, while actively supporting the Sussex Beacon in the care they provide to those living with HIV.
“I called for those accessing eligibility for disability allowances to be trained in and properly advised about the needs of people with HIV/Aids and actively supported the Halve It coalition in its work to increase diagnosis rates for HIV.
“I also successfully called for reducing late diagnoses to be a target in the Public Health Outcomes Framework, spoke out about workplace restrictions on HIV positive healthcare workers and called for comprehensive training for teachers and educational staff on all diversity and inclusion issues; schools to promote equal opportunities in their anti-bullying procedures and equalities issues to be monitored in teaching recruitment.
Caroline Lucas MP