Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), and it acts as a powerful reminder that there are still too many people around the world suffering from hate or prejudice because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Minister for Women and Equalities Caroline Dinenage said:
I’m proud that the UK has just been named the most progressive country in Europe for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) rights for the fifth year running, but far too many LGB&T people around the world continue to experience discrimination. We need to tackle that and to create a fairer society for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The International Lesbian and Gay Association’s (ILGA) 2015 Rainbow Map ranked the UK number one in Europe for LGBT rights. Britain has been placed in the top spot for the last five years, scoring 86% this year, an increase of 4% since 2014. ILGA tracks the status and promotes the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, publishing its rights map each year.
Here are just some of the things that show the progress the UK has made to improve the lives of LGB&T people:
- The proportion of people who think that sexual relations between two adults of the same sex is always wrong has dropped significantly, from 64% in 1987 to 15% in 2013.
- £2 million of funding has been allocated to help prevent and eradicate homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying in schools.
- Under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, the first marriages of same-sex couples took place on 29 March 2014; and in December 2014, it became possible to convert a civil partnership into marriage and to change legal gender without ending an existing marriage.
- The UK now recognises 75 overseas same sex partnerships as equivalent to UK civil partnerships, 50 more than when the Civil Partnership Act 2004 was enacted.
- Legislation is in place which enables consensual gay sex convictions to be disregarded, and those affected can now submit applications to the Home Office.
- Recording of hate crimes against LGB&T people has been strengthened, to help support more effective prevention and action.
- The College of Policing has published new operational guidance for police officers responding to all forms of hate crime, including homophobic and transphobic hate crimes.
Photo above by Ted Eytan on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons