The rainbow flag is flying today over the Whitehall offices of the Department for Education and Government Equalities Office, to mark Pride in London. Thousands of people are expected in London to celebrate the event.
This year the march will be led by more than 200 London residents from around the globe, each bearing the flag of their birth nation, even if their country discriminates against them because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGB&T). This year, for the fifth year in a row, the UK was ranked number one in Europe for LGB&T rights by the International Lesbian and Gay Association’s Rainbow Index. As the leader in Europe for work on LGB&T rights, the Government continues to use its international channels such as the UN, EU and the Commonwealth to support and engage constructively with other governments on this issue.
At home, we have made important strides forward in addressing the discrimination and inequalities faced by LGB&T people – including launching our £2 million fund to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools. The Government intends to share the lessons learned from these projects more widely with schools, so that they have the knowledge and tools to tackle this issue more effectively.
But LGB&T people face bullying online as well as in school. According to Stonewall, one in twenty LGB adults say they have been the target of homophobic abuse or behaviour online in the last year and 23% of LGB pupils said they had experienced cyberbullying.
That is why today, the Government launched a new Stop Online Abuse website to help people take action against offensive, damaging or threatening content in all forms of media, particularly online. The website – developed in collaboration with a range of LGB&T organisations – provides practical advice for women and LGB&T people on how to recognise abuse, steps to take to report it and how to get offensive content removed.
Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan, said:
Events such as Pride give us a chance to come together to celebrate the real progress being made in this country. But it also serves to remind us of the challenges that remain, such as continued incidences of hate crime and homophobic bullying that can impact on LGB&T people’s lives.
We are taking a number of steps to tackle the discrimination that can hold LGB&T people back. The new ‘Stop Online Abuse’ website is another sign of our determination to create a fairer society for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
I wish everyone celebrating at Pride in London on Saturday a great day.
A team from the Government Equalities Office will be in Trafalgar Square this Saturday to talk to participants about the Government’s work.