What’s special about this general election?
If you don’t know that a General Election is scheduled to be held in the United Kingdom on Thursday, 12 December 2019, then you’ve probably been in a retreat, high up in the Himalayas, in which case: welcome home❣️❣️❣️ 🎉🥳🍾
Like all GEs, there will be issues for LGBT+ people, and for Equality groups in general, but especially this year, because a Tory victory could prove the ‘thin end of the wedge’ that will dislodge Equality and Diversity rights, and protections out of UK law, if Britain leaves the EU as a result.
This is not meant as an anti-Brexit, or pro-Remain statement, but simply points to a danger of which we must all be aware: that Brexit will provide an excuse for the revision of all UK legislation, in a ‘fresh start’ advocated at the recent Conservative Party Conference.
Such a fresh start could present an opportunity for ultra-conserative Tory MPs like Anne Widdicombe, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Elizabeth Truss, to push for the weakening of LGBT+ equality rights and protections, under the guise of ‘light-touch regulations, designed to make British business more competitive’.
The argument will inevitably be that Equality and diversity regulations impose a burden on business that is no longer necessary, as LGBT+ people now face little or no discrimination in the workplace, and many companies have excellent equalities policies .
But those assertions would conceal a much darker truth!
Homophobic and transphobic Hate crime has risen sharply under the Tories.
Fewer people are being prosecuted for homophobic hate crimes despite rising numbers of potential victims coming forward, figures suggest.
Recorded reports of homophobic abuse in the UK increased from 5,807 in 2014-15, to 13,530 in 2018-19.
But during the same period, the number of prosecutions fell from 1,157 to 1,058 – from 20% of all reports to 8%.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council said those cases often involved a lack of witnesses and evidence.
Leaving the EU is the single, most momentous change in recent British history, that will affect much of the current legislation in the UK, that was based on EU Directives.
Watch this – far too rushed – but informative BBC News video:
General election 2019: What to look out for on LGBT issues
Are LGBT+ rights in the UK at risk?
From Wikipedia :
“The Equality Act 2010 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom with the primary purpose of consolidating, updating and supplementing the numerous prior Acts and Regulations, that formed the basis of anti-discrimination law in Great Britain. These consisted, primarily, the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and three major statutory instruments protecting discrimination in employment on grounds of religion or belief, sexual orientation and age.
The act has broadly the same goals as the four major EU Equal Treatment Directives, whose provisions it mirrors and implements. However, the act also offers protection beyond the EU directives, protecting against discrimination based on a person’s nationality and citizenship and also extending individuals’ rights in areas of life beyond the workplace in religion or belief, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation and gender reassignment. 
The Act protects people against discrimination, harassment or victimisation in employment, and as users of private and public services based on nine protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. The Act includes provisions for single-sex services where the restrictions are “a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”. In the case of disability, employers and service providers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to their workplaces to overcome barriers experienced by disabled people. In this regard, the Equality Act 2010 did not change the law. Under s.217, with limited exceptions the Act does not apply to Northern Ireland. “
Following Brexit the UK will have to re-write a lot of Parliamentary Acts that did rest on EU legsilation, and this could give an ultra-conservative Government the opportunity to weaken LGBT+ and other Equality and Diversity provisions, rihgts and protections.
In an article on Pink News, Gina Miller, the woman who twice won court cases against Theresa May’s and Boris Johnson’s administrations on Brexit, said:
What I fear now is that there is a systematic attempt to turn our system against itself, to not just throw away all the learning and experience that brought it into being, but, as Sajid Javid said at the Tory Party Conference this week, to start afresh.
He stated that leaving the EU will give the UK the opportunity to get rid of “inefficient EU programmes” and replace them with “genuinely better homegrown alternatives”. In other words, LGBT+ rights and protections, equality rights we take for granted, founded on principles contained in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and/or have come about as a consequence of the Charter or other EU law, may well be discarded post Brexit.
International Homelessness Group (IGH) Hub.
Homelessness is one of the most pressing issues facing a disproportionate number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the United States. This second edition of At the Intersections reveals what has changed in the past three years regarding the understanding of LGBTQ youth homelessness in the United States. True Colors United aims to use this information to make more informed choices to make youth homelessness a rare, brief, and one-time experience.
Guest article by Toni Massari, Trustee
Back in November 2014 Pink News reported an alarming rise in homophobic and transphobic crime with more than 3,000 cases, as reported by The Metro. J Just in London alone Scotland Yard recorded 1,073 violent homophobic offences between January and October, a 6.6 per cent rise on 2013. They included 315 assaults, and a sharp rise in harassment offences from 693 to 747.
Then, in October 2015 The Guardian newspaper reported a shocking 20% rise in homphobic an transphobic crime.
Almost exactly a year later, in October 2016, The Guardian again reported a terrifying 147% rise in the same class of hate crimes.
By September 2017 The Independent Newspaper reported a further 80% increase from the previous year.
In January 2017 Pink News reported that:
“7,194 hate crimes based on sexual orientation were recorded during the 2015-16 financial year, equating to 20 incidents every day. 1,844 homophobic hate crimes were recorded by London’s police force, the Metropolitan Police, while 494 were recorded in Greater Manchester and 372 in the West Midlands.”
By 2018-19 the the Evening Express reported 1,176 sexual orientation hate crimes in Scotland, during 2018-19, a rise of over 5% in twelve months.
Just six months into 2019, we hear that homophobia is not only alive and kicking and on the rise, but spreading alarminlgly, from the big cities into smaller hamlets.
On 1st June iNews reported that “Between 2013-14 and 2017-18, LGBT hate crimes per capita rose by 144 per cent. In the most recent year of available data, police recorded 11,600 crimes – almost three times as much as the 4,600 crimes recorded in the previous period.
Transphobic attacks have surged in recent years, jumping from 550 reports to 1,650 over the period examined by The Guardian. Almost half of these (46 per cent) reported during the 2017-18 period were violent crimes, ranging from common assault to grievous bodily harm.
On the 30th of May 2019 a lesbian couple was brutally assaulted, in a much publicised attacks on a London bus.
We must not forget George Santayana‘s words:
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”
We must remember the lessons of pe-war Germany, where in the 1920s homosexuals had gainsed a degree of tolerance, with clubs in Berlin where openly LGBT+ people could be themselves, laugh, drink, sing and smile with gay abandon (pun fully intended!), free of fears or apprehensions.
Only a decade later many were interned in concentration camps, while others were subjected to brutal experiements, chemical and even physical castration.
“Beginning in 1933, gay organizations were banned, scholarly books about homosexuality, and sexuality in general (such as those from the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, run by Jewish gay rights campaigner Magnus Hirschfeld), were burned, and homosexuals within the Nazi Party itself were murdered. The Gestapo compiled lists of homosexuals, who were compelled to sexually conform to the “German norm”.
Between 1933 and 1945, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals, of whom some 50,000 were officially sentenced. Most of these men served time in regular prisons, and an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 of those sentenced were incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps. It is unclear how many of the 5,000 to 15,000 would die in the camps, but leading scholar Rüdiger Lautmann believes that the death rate of homosexuals in concentration camps may have been as high as 60%. Homosexuals in the camps suffered an unusual degree of cruelty by their captors. These estimates include only individuals singled out for their sexual orientation. Many others had already been sent to the camps simply based on their religion without need of other justification. Little study has been done to estimate the number of Jewish homosexuals who died in the camps.”
If we are to retain our freedoms as LGBT+ people, we must revitalise our movement, make common cause, establish networks of mutual assistance and if anything intensify our demands for protection by the Law, from a society that is becoming increasingly fragmented, and subtly brutal towards those who do ont conform to media-driven norms.
It may be worth observing here, almost – but not quite – incidentally, that the famous wartime poem by german Pastor Niemoller omitted homosexuals from his list of regrets…