Labour MP Ged Killen: Government’s LGBT Action Plan leaves Northern Ireland out in the cold

Labour’s Ged Killen writes for PinkNews in response to the government’s LGBT Action Plan.

This week the Government unveiled its LGBT Action Plan following the results of the National LGBT Survey which collected the responses of 108,000 people living in the UK who self-identified as LGBT+.

This was a mammoth undertaking, and it is the largest single survey of LGBT+ people conducted anywhere in the world. From its results the Government produced an LGBT Action Plan consisting of 75 recommendations to improve the lives of LGBT people and £4.5 million worth of funding to support LGBT charities and civil society groups.

I welcome both the report and the Action Plan – these are the kinds of proactive steps which will help break down the barriers that remain in front of us on the journey to equality.

However, there was one major omission from the Government’s Action Plan.

Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is only mentioned once in the Action Plan. It is not mentioned in relation to a recommendation for action, but in caveat. This caveat is that the majority of the recommendations put forward in the Action Plan are for England only and that none of the £4.5 million of funding will be sent to support LGBT charities and civil society in Northern Ireland.

It’s simply not good enough.

Northern Ireland is increasingly isolated in Western Europe by banning equal marriage

Buried in the research report a 304 page document which presented the findings of the National LGBT Survey used to inform the Action Plan we find out that proportionally LGBT+ people from Northern Ireland were the least likely to participate in the National LGBT Survey and that trans people in Northern Ireland were the most likely to have undergone or been offered conversion therapy.

As part of the evidence collected a gay man from Northern Ireland is quoted as saying: “Living in Northern Ireland, LGBT people are automatically treated differently than in other areas of the UK. Our ‘government’ when functioning uses petitions of concern to block legislation that would bring equality to LGBT people. I face discrimination every day. It can be comments, looks or exclusion from things. Things are getting better in NI, but very slowly.”

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