Lynne Featherstone says the country needs to 'complete the journey' to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.
In a speech at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGB and T) Conference as part of London’s Pride celebration, the Home Office minister said she would be joining ‘thousands and thousands of people’ in Trafalgar Square on Saturday to celebrate.
Another Home Office minister, Nick Herbert, is also scheduled to speak at Pride event on Saturday.
An antidote to cynicism
Ms Featherstone praised the annual event, saying, ‘It is the biggest antidote to all those cynics out there I know. It shows us that, even under the most difficult of circumstances, we can change things.’
However, there’s still more to be done to make the law fair and equitable for the LGB and T community, she said, adding, ’I believe we can do it. We are headed in the right direction.’
‘What I hope to get across to you today is that this government is 100 per cent committed to completing the journey to full LGB and T equality.’
The coalition has announced an ambitious programme of work on LGB and T issues, which is the first of its kind to be produced by a UK government.
The programme will:
- strengthen the laws on hate crime
- ensure that old convictions for gay sex among over 16s will not appear on criminal records checks
- work with schools to stop bullying of LGB and T students
Changing hearts and minds
The government can change the law, but changing culture is more difficult, she said.
‘But that has to be our ultimate goal if we are ever to achieve full LGB and T equality.’