Wales launches plan to become most LGBT-friendly country in Europe as Westminster slides backwards

Cardiff, Wales, UK, August 24th 2019. The head of the Welsh parade passes Cardiff Castle during the Pride Cymru parade as part of a weekend of celebrations on the 20th anniversary of the event. (Photo credit should read Mark Hawkins/Composed Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

The Welsh government has unveiled a new LGBT+ action plan and set out its hope to become the most LGBT-friendly country in Europe.

Key actions will include trying to devolve powers related to the Gender Recognition Act in order to reform it to benefit trans people; using “all available powers” to ban “all aspects of” LGBT+ conversion therapy; and increasing support for Pride events across Wales by sponsoring Pride Cymru, establishing a Wales-wide Pride Fund and appointing a Welsh Pride co-ordinator.

The government is consulting the public on the plan, which was drawn up by an independent panel of LGBT+ experts and launched by the deputy minister for social partnership, Hannah Blythyn, yesterday (29 July).

Blythyn said that the government wants the action plan “to achieve our ambition to furthering LGBTQ+ equality in Wales”.

“The plan sets out a wide range of policy-specific actions relating to human rights and recognition; safety; home and communities; health and social care; education; and the workplace, by adopting a cross-government approach, covering all areas of policy will we truly be able to achieve equality for all in Wales,” she said.

“At the end of Pride Month, I set out the key steps on the journey towards achieving greater LGBTQ+ equality in Wales.

“Our ambition is to tackle the long-term structural inequalities that still exist, to challenge discrimination and to create a country without prejudice.”

Wales launches LGBT+ action plan as Westminster falters

The Welsh government’s LGBT+ action plan comes after Liz Truss, the Tory equalities minister, suggested that she would be scrapping the UK-wide LGBT+ Action Plan.

Moreover, the long-delayed plan to ban conversion therapy has been stalled once more under the Tories, who are now planning to launch a consultation on the ban despite having widely consulted on it in 2018.

Davinia-Louise Green, director of LGBT+ charity Stonewall Cymru, responded to the new Welsh action plan in a statement by saying that “we can’t become complacent in the journey to full LGBTQ+ equality”.

“Since devolution, we have seen some key milestones for advancing LGBTQ+ equality: from the launch of the Welsh Gender Service to ensuring that the new curriculum is LGBTQ+ inclusive,” Green said. “However, as our research and the recent news headlines sadly show, we still have a long way to go until everyone can be free to be who they are.

“It has been inspiring to work alongside so many knowledgeable and passionate LGBTQ+ leaders in informing this plan. We are proud to say that this plan has come as a direct result of conversations had with LGBTQ+ people from across Wales.

“Over the coming months, Stonewall Cymru will now focus on scrutinising the plan and discussing it with people invested in furthering the rights of LGBTQ+ people across Wales. It is an exciting time for LGBTQ+ policy in Wales.”