TOM OAKLEY writes on why you should vote for United Left at the upcoming LGBT Labour AGM
WE ARE LGBT United Left, a group of activists who’ve come together to stand for LGBT Labour’s national committee because we want to change things for the better.
We believe LGBT Labour must become an active and inclusive organisation that can stands up for the rights and representation of all LGBT+ people, both in the Labour Party and in society.
We believe the struggle for LGBT+ rights can’t be separated from other struggles.
We support policy and decision-making that considers the way gender identity, orientation, immigration status, neurodiversity, race, class and disability intersect in making people vulnerable.
We want to boost our engagement with membership and have a louder voice on issues which affect LGBT+ people.
We want to return activity to regional groups and local areas, and recruit a whole new generation of engaged activists.
Between 1997 and 2010, the Labour Party brought in legislation such as the gender recognition act and the equality act, enshrining basic freedoms for LGBT people into law.
Among many other things they equalised the age of consent, scrapped Section 28 and introduced civil partnerships.
There’s been an avalanche of progress in the last few years but now is not the time for complacency.
With human rights and civil liberties under attack we need to ensure the clock doesn’t go backwards. The fight is far from over and there’s a huge amount more to be done.
Funding cuts are stretching public services across the board, and this is having a particular impact on LGBT people.
NHS funding for mental health fell by 8.25 per cent in real terms over the course of the last parliament, forcing the closure of many specialist services for LGBT+ people.
If elected we will campaign for the defence and extension of healthcare for LGBT+ people in Britain — and for everyone else.
This must include proper support for trans people, as well as comprehensive mental health services.
LGBT+ people are legally entitled to a working life free from discrimination or harassment.
However, the prohibitive cost of employment tribunals and the lack of affordable advice means legal protections are often out of reach.
If elected we will fight for equal representation for all LGBT+ people in work.
We will stand up to a far-right agenda that seeks to scapegoat migrants and ethnic minorities.
We believe LGBT+ should actively challenge racism and Islamophobia within our communities.
We support the rights of refugees and LGBT+ people seeking asylum in Britain. These are just some of the issues we’re passionate about.
Housing, domestic violence services, inclusive sex and relationships education and anti-bullying services in schools — all issues Labour should be leading from the front on.
If you share our vision, please get involved. To achieve lasting change we’ll need to mobilise as much support as possible — starting with getting us elected.
To vote for us you need to attend LGBT Labour’s AGM on Saturday February 18 in central London.
And if you’re not already a member, then you’ll need to join.
Tom Oakley is the press and publicity officer for United Left. Details of how to get involved in LGBT Labour can be found at lgbtlabour.org.uk/join. Follow LGBT+ on Facebook at facebook.com/lgbtleft/ or Twitter @lgbtleft.
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