2017 marks fifty years since legislation criminalising homosexuality was abolished by parliament. The world is almost unrecognisable from then, and the LGBT+ movement has grown – yet seemingly not enough.
During Saturday, I expected my Twitter timeline to be overflown with tweets of people enjoying themselves, throwing glitter in the air, wearing extravagant outfits and having the time of their lives. Instead, I constantly, time after time, came across a different message; one not of the love and inclusivity that the LGBT+ movement is meant to have at its heart.
No, this message was one of hate.
Theresa May’s speech was practically inaudible against the shouts of the crowd, and the Conservative LGBT+ group were booed during the parade.
Where is this “kinder, gentler” politics that Corbyn supposedly pushes for?
People chose to ignore the message the Prime Minister was trying to convey and chose to throw hate towards their fellow members of the LGBT+ community, on a day that should have been about nothing other than love and hope. As the Prime Minister stated in her video message “at its heart, it is about a simple thing: love.”
“The UK has a responsibility to stand up for our values and to promote the rights of LGBT Plus people internationally.That’s why we will continue to stand up for human rights, directly challenging at the highest political levels governments that criminalise homosexuality or practice violence and discrimination against LGBT Plus people. And here at home too, we must continue to stand up for true equality and respect for everyone, right across our United Kingdom. We must stamp out homophobic bullying in schools, and drive down homophobic and transphobic hate crime. We need to do all we can to build a country which works for everyone, where people of all backgrounds are free to be themselves and fulfil their full potential.” – PM Theresa May
Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, wrote for Pink News to celebrate Pride and highlighted the work being carried out by the Home Office to tackle hate crime, insisting that, “one person experiencing hate crime is one too many”.
There is no denying that this election brought out the very worst in some people, with an increased level of threats and harassment towards MPs – especially female MPs on both sides of the house.* Yet, one of the last places hate should ever find its way into is Pride. One positive, however, of the recent election was the increase in LGBT+ MPs, and it only takes a glance across the front bench to see successful Conservative LGBT+ MPs sitting in the cabinet. Justine Greening, the Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities posted her own video message to celebrate Pride.
A simple google search will show you what high-profile Conservatives have done to aid and help the LGBT+ movement and Pride itself. In 2012, while London Mayor, Boris Johnson pledged £650,000 in grants to keep Pride in London for the following five years, and at the time he stated that “London’s Pride celebrations are a key event in our city’s cultural calendar”. After entering the Foreign Office last summer, he overruled a policy that prevented the LGBT+ flag being flown at British embassies across the world. That’s only one Conservative Mayor/MP, and only two examples of the work carried out by the party for the LGBT+ community.
At the Conservative Party Conference in October 2011, the former Prime Minister David Cameron, at a time when the government was holding consultations on legalising same-sex marriage state that, “Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.”
In the eternal words of one wise woman, “love trumps hate”.
As a bonus, in case you’ve never seen it, here’s a little video of Theresa May, as Home Secretary, supporting marriage equality before its legalisation.