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The Beatles sang that ‘All you need is love’. Richard Curtis showed on film how it was all about Love Actually. The best times in our lives are when we feel most loved so it’s a pleasure to support this year’s London Pride and its theme Carnival of Love.
With love has to come respect and acceptance, that’s why the Government’s work to tackle homophobia and transphobia is so important. By enabling civil partnerships to take place on religious premises, deleting convictions for consensual gay sex, launching the largest ever transgender survey, tackling bullying in schools and focusing on homophobia and transphobia in sport the government, in conjunction with groups across the country, is working to create a society based on the values of fairness, dignity and respect.
London Pride is also focusing on “Love without Borders”, this is a commendable idea, and the UK has an important leadership role to play. British Embassies in countries such as Poland and Estonia have supported Pride events, at the UN the Foreign Office played a vital role building support for a major statement in support of the human rights of LGBT people, we helped secure a Presidential pardon for a same sex couple in Malawi who had held an engagement ceremony and we continue to raise the issue of gay rights with the Ugandan government and Prime Minister.
At home, tackling hate crime remains key. The police are now collecting data on hate crimes against LGBT people and True vision, a website with information about such crime that also enables online reporting, went live in February. Despite the progress made there’s always more to do and every instance of homophobia or transphobia is one too many and we all need to work together to tackle it.
The UK has just been named by the International Lesbian and Gay Association as the number one place in Europe for LGBT equality. This position has been reached after years of dedicated work and is something we can all be proud of. Next year will see the Olympic and Paralympic Games, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and World Pride take place in London; as the eyes of the world turn to us it provides a perfect opportunity to celebrate our rich diversity and spread a little love.
I hope that you all have a fun and safe time celebrating London Pride.