Baroness Liz Barker warns Tories could ‘trash’ anti-discrimination laws: ‘Those laws are precious’

Baroness Liz Barker

Baroness Liz Barker has urged the public not to let the government “trash” the Human Rights and Equality Act in a speech at the PinkNews Awards 2022.

The PinkNews Awards 2022 is supported by joint headline sponsors Lloyds Banking Group and United Airlines.

Baroness Liz Barker, a Liberal Democrat and LGBTQ+ spokesperson in the House of Lords, presented the Community Role Model award, sponsored by United Airlines, alongside Ziv Russell, at the event on Wednesday (19 October).

“I am a very proud lesbian,” she said. “I wanted to talk about the many proud lesbians who have been there all the way through the struggle for equality.

“We’ve always been there should to shoulder, equal with all the other initials. 

“We’ve always been, we will always be there, and do not listen to anybody who tells you that any one of those initials has ever dominated the other.”

Community Role Model Gurchaten Sandhu

Community Role Model Gurchaten Sandhu. (PinkNews Awards 2022)

She added she is a “very proud” Liberal Democrat, due to it being the first party to “come out and ask for gay rights in 1979,” then to “support HIV and the Terrence Higgins Trust,” and the first to “call for equal marriage.”

“We’ve been there when it wasn’t popular or trendy to be there and we will be there forever more until the equality that we all want is up.”

“We must not let this government trash the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act.”

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman this year hinted at making changes to the act, while Rishi Sunak, called it a “Trojan horse that has allowed every kind of woke nonsense to permeate public life”.

The act was passed in 2010 and forms the basis of anti-discrimination laws across most of the UK.

‘Those laws didn’t come from parliament’

Baroness Liz Barker called these laws “precious things that those of use who have enjoyed them have to remember, and please don’t let any government take them away.”

“Those laws didn’t come from parliament, those laws came from the work of community activists, community role models and community groups.”

Barker praised community-centred campaigners as “heroes” before handing over the Community Role Model PinkNews award.

The winner was Gurchaten Sandhu, director of programmes at ILGA WORLD, an association to support LGBTQ+ people and rights internationally. 

Upon receiving the award they gave an emotional speech and said it was an “honour” to be in a room with their own heroes.