Cllr Stephen Donnelly is Vice-Chair of Lambeth Labour Group, and a councillor for Thornton Ward.
This past year has been a difficult one for the LGBT+ community: trans rights are being attacked on a daily basis; homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime is on the rise; and now we’ve seen a debate reopened that many of us thought had been settled – about whether children should be taught about LGBT+ identities in school.
The protests outside Parkfield and Anderton Park primaries in Birmingham – increasingly orchestrated by reactionary activists trying to stoke tensions between communities – have now become the frontline in a fight to roll back decades of progress on LGBT+ rights.
With schools and teachers across the country clamouring for political leadership, the Conservative Government have once again passed the buck: as Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP confirmed in Parliament that teaching primary pupils about LGBT+ relationships will remain discretionary under the Government’s new guidance.
That’s why Lambeth Labour have passed a motion through Lambeth Council to make it absolutely clear: our borough backs LGBT+ inclusive education.
Under Labour, Lambeth has a proud track-record fighting for our borough’s LGBT+ community:
- Campaigning for the Government to roll-out new HIV prevention treatment
- Partnering with the LGBT Foundation to tackle health inequalities
- Signing up to the HouseProud pledge to give LGBT+ people a voice in local government housing policy
- Campaigning with the community to successfully save the historic Royal Vauxhall Tavern
- Working with Galop to tackle sexual violence
But there is more work to do to make our society inclusive and safe for everyone. It shouldn’t take a spate of homophobic attacks across the country – in London, Liverpool, Southampton and Hull – to make politicians realise that now is no time for sitting on the fence when it comes to equality.
So whilst the Government dithers, we will act – that’s why we’ll be writing to our schools letting them know that Lambeth backs LGBT+ inclusive education and we will back them in teaching it – and we call on the Government to do the same.
Cllr Stephen Donnelly