proud_to_vote_labour1Launching Labours LGBT Manifesto in Brighton [where else?] Angela Eagle outlined a series of policies that Labour have developed to tackle discrimination against LGBT people by means of a five point plan.

1] Tackling discrimination by strengthening the law on LGBT hate crime to ensure that protection for trans and bisexual people is equalised. And it will ebsure recording by the CPS of Hate Crime cases and conducting a review of the gender identity law. A Labour Government will also implement Turings Law.offering posthumous exonerations to to those men convicted under the now repealed ant-homosexuality will also implement the dual discrimination provisions of the Equalities Act 2010—-thus strengthening the position of those so discriminated against It will also Abolish the Governments Tribunal fee system—that has denied acess o justice to so many.
2 An education free from homophobia,biphobia aand transphobia both through the above measures and compulsory age appropriate LGBt inclusive age appropriate relationships and sex education in all state funded schools. schools.Teachers must be trained to be able to properly tackle LGBT bullying and prioritise intervention in and referral of young LGBT people to mental health services
3 An ‘international envoy ‘ on LGBT rights to promote LGBt rights globally. It will work towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide in the 70+ countries were it is still a criminal offence including those where it is still a capital offence.[One criticism here -countries like Russia have shown that homosexuality may be in theory decriminalised in practice LGBt people have precious few rights]. It will also work towards greater protection and recognition of trans people against whom discrimination is often at its most extreme. Finally—-and in a welcome reversal to what was the case under the last Labour Government it will review procedures for [worldwide] LGBT ASylum seekers. {in the past procedures have often been cruel and ludicrous especially where applicants have had to ‘prove’ their sexuality—-procedures that have often revealed more about the cultural assumptions of the investigators than the sexuality of the claimants]

4. Accessible and supportive health services especially of mental health.Mental health support for LGBT people must be strengthened. LGBT people must have the same access to ‘talking’ therapies as they presently have for other treatments such as drugs . Teachers must be trained so that they can recognise the early stges of need and link children up with support. They must also work with the transgender community to improve access to gender care services. And the government will make reducing undiagnosed and late diagnosed HIV a national priorityand work towards challenging the ‘stigma’ of HIV and promote increased availability of testing.

5 Fairer and more diverse representation in public life.

MS.Eagle said that Labour had helped deliver LEGAL equality for LGBT people but that now we face a fight to make that equality a REALITY for every LGBT people in our country. Too many LGBT young people are growing up scared and alone and don’t have sufficient support when their mental health suffers. Labour will finish the job it started and ensure EVERY LGBT person has the chance to achieve their ambitions free from prejudice and discrimination

LGBT-pledge-card-twitterGay rights activist Kirill Kalugin poses for press during a one-man protest in St. Petersburg

Kirill Kalugin carries out lone protest for LGBT rights in St Petersburg. Shortly after this picture was taken he was beaten up by Russian Marines.

Sadly Kirill has had to flee Russia and is presently seeking asylum in Germany.

This is part of what he said.

“My name is Kirill Kalugin. I’m 23 years old. I’m from St. Petersburg.Russia and I leave my country because I was afraid for my life, and for my freedom” Kalugin,who is seeking asylum in Dortmund ,was arrested many times . He said that he grew used to death threats and being arrested but was most scared of ‘disappearing’ in a Russian jail. The police-he said-could do with you what they wanted. When a gay person is attacked the police often arrested the victim. Many of his friends are now in jail.
Who can blame him for wanting to reach safety.WE wish him well. But governments in western Europe should not only consider asylum claims sympathetically but do what they can to support those left behind in Russia and elsewhere
A Labour Government must do what it can to protect LGBt Rights—–which are simply HUMAN rights— wherever they are endangered or ignored.
CL 28/4/15


No manifesto is perfect of course. Thus no outright ban on conversion therapy. SRE only in state funded schools. Is it alright for the others to die of ignorance? Nothing on the largely unrecognised problem of LGBT domestic violence Or homelessness———————–
Without doubt this is one of the most comprehensive programmes of LGBT Rights ever put before the British electorate. WE do not entirely agree with Angela Eagle about legal rights—-some especially for trans people are still lacking—-but her concern that the priority now should be to translate legal equality into ACTUAL equality -forallof us is absolutely right
Indeed we could almost believe that she has been reading our website!

And it is right also to point out the continued importance of THe Human Rights Act ,the European Court of Human Rights in protecting not just OUR rights but those of other minorities as well. LGBT Rights are Human Rights And they extend to other minotrities. Similarly The Equalities Act and Hate Crime law[ with all its present weaknesses] protect not just us but other minorities as well.
Our job will be to actively engage with a Labour Government not only to implement these promises but advise HOW they should be implemented.

Collectively we know a lot about discrimination and inequality. We must make our voices heard even if-perhaps especially if-we do not dot every i and cross every t.

Colin Livett 30/4/15


Turing’s Family Present the Petition to 10 Downing Street.


Alan Turing’s great nephew, Neville Hunt, his great-niece Rachel Barnes and her son Thomas are shown presenting the petition to David Cameron at Downing Street on 23rd Feb. Also present was editor of Attitude Magazine Matthew Todd, who commented: “Generations of gay and bisexual men were forced to live their lives in a state of terror”.
Men convicted of gross indecency were often considered to have brought huge shame on themselves and their families with many taking their own lives. It is about time the country addressed this appalling part of our history.

These comments are reflected in those posted on line by those who signed the petition; from over 70 countries around the world. Some were themselves victims. Others were set up in sting operations by the police. Some were from the families of those convicted who had killed themselves because of the perceived shame. The suffering was still with them and still hurting. A pardon would be a small gesture. Some comments were from young LGBT people appalled at the injustice heaped on those who, without their sacrifices would not have the rights they have today. And many were from straight people appalled at this historic injustice—-almost complete incomprehension that gay men should have been criminalised in this way. To them it was simply a gross violation of human rights.

The Petition 

Calls on the government to “Pardon all of the estimated 49000 men who, like Alan Turing, were convicted of consenting same sex relationships under the British gross indecency laws [only repealed in 2013] and also all the other men convicted under other UK anti-gay laws.”

The petition continues on line at

What Remains To Be Done

The publicity given to the presentation has been disappointing to put it mildly; barely a mention even in the LGBT press, but plenty of speculation on which ‘celebrity’ will be next to ‘come out’ There seems to have been more publicity in the USA; perhaps because of the publicity given to the Turing film The Imitation Game.

What will be needed is a new parliamentary campaign, with all the parties getting involved to get a pardon agreed.
The last attempt to do so does not suggest it will be done without a fight. This came in July 2013 when an amendment was moved by Lib Dem Peer Lord Sharkey; backed by the Labour Front Bench and ‘out’ Tory Lord Black to the Criminal Justice Bill that would have granted a pardon to those whether alive or dead.

This met with the shameful response from justice minister Lord Faulks who declared that he could see “no point in granting posthumous pardons” and that in any case it would be too costly.

We would like to see him justify that to the families of those who killed themselves or indeed explain what an acceptable price for justice is.

Please continue to promote the petition but please also try to get this issue before parliament again.
Justice has been delayed too long. We cannot undo these historical injustices but we can do something to remove the stigma from a criminal record for something that should never have been a crime in the first place.

Ed Miliband commits Labour to a ‘Turing’ Law

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has responded to the petition by promising that a Labour Government would introduce legislation which would allow dead mens families and friends to apply to the Home Office to apply to the Home Office to quash convictions under the gross indecency law for consensual same sex relationships. At present it is only possible for those still alive to do this and they have to make the applications personally.The new law would be named after Alan Turing.

Miliband said “What was right for Alan Turings family should be right for other families as well. The next Labour Government will extend the rights to individuals already have to overturn convictions that society now sees as grossly unfair to the relatives of those who have now passed away.’

These remarks have been replicated by Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg.

One might argue that the pardon should not have to be applied for and should be granted automatically to ALL those convicted of an offence before 2003 that is no longer an offence now. Others may question the bizarreness of granting a pardon to the victims in the first place but it offers a real chance for at least a measure of justice to be—–at long long last—at least a modicum of justice.

Ubfortunately the response from the Government and Conservatives has been distinctly dusty. Whilst admitting that the Freedoms Act of 2012 has not resolved all injustices they have floated the red herring that a blanket pardon could benefit paedophiles . Before 1967 ALL sex between consenting men was illegal regardless of age—so some could have been guilty of sex with minors. However this would be easily overcome by a provision that those allowed absolution would be limited to those who would have acted wholly legally under the law as it stands today. The alternative would be to grant a pardon to NO posthumous men thus leaving the suspicion that they MAy may have been paedophiles.

That is a grossly unfair burden to place on the families of gay men who have died who were completely innocent.
We welcome Ed Miliband committing Labour to this pardon. Calling it Turings Law is an excellent idea. We welcome support from the Liberal Democrats and Greens.

We would even welcome support from the Conservatives. We do have an election coming up after all!

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Following Mr Milibands initial announcement there has been clarification by the Labour Party.
“This is essentially a disregard —whereby any record of the offence is removed from police records and other official documents .
“We are prepared to consult—in advance to ensure that this is the best route to righting this historical injustice.”
We will be making such a submission. Here are our initial thoughts.We welcome your comments

Pardon, Apology or Exoneration?

The petition launched on Change.Org has been a tremendous success building on the film The Imitation Game and the Royal Pardon granted to Alan Turing. However we do not feel —although we support the campaign—that this is necessarily the best way forward,
1. A ‘pardon’ would mean that the victims would be forgiven for being victims.
2 Neither would a pardon automatically mean that all records would be wiped. A ‘disregard’ would do so and ensure that everyone who committed a ‘crime’ would have ALL their records cleared. Everyone guilty of an offence under the law as it existed before 2003 but who would not have been so under todays law would have their records cleared. However we believe that such a disregard should be automatic on that basis.
3. An apology by itself would have little meaning. The sons are not guilty for the sins of their fathers, Their duty is not to perpetuate injustice

4 We believe a far more appropriate term would be EXONERATE. The OED definition of ‘exoneration’ is ‘to absolve from blame’ Precisely so. These men were correctly found guilty by the laws of the day but we now consider that that law was unjust. Today they would not be held to be guilty of any crime. Therefore their records should be wiped. This would also be an acknowledgement to all victims –alive or dead—-that the law of the day WAS unjust and that they were victims not criminals
This of course should be applied to survivors and dead alike. Shameful comments about corpses not needing justice or of it costing too much should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

We Were All Victims

All gay men who lived in this period lived in fear of exposure even if they did not end up in court. The Gross indecency Laws were accurately described as “A blackmailers Charter . Other gay men were forced into marriage to try to escape wagging tongues and pointing figures . Thus their misery was often extended to uncomprehending wives and children.Exoneration would in some measure apologise to
them. But the worst affected were those convicted in court. They were punished several times over——especially if the case was reported in the local press.
Here is one such case—–not of a famous victim such as Alan Turing but two ordinary men.

October 1949—-Hull Daily Mail—-Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire
In banner headlines ‘An Actor and a Hull Clerk were each fined £25 at Hull Quarter Sessions for gross indecency–The accused Robert Clive Walton [37] of Blaby Leicestershire and John Henry Marsden [43] clerk,of Dales Terrace Beaumont Street ,Hull were————

Now that £25 fine was substantial——equivalent to about three weeks wages in 1949 [even then Hull was not top of the national wages league!] but that was not the worst of it. Marsden ,in particular , would have suffered from his workmates, family and friends -and like Turing might well have lost his job as well. Then as now local papers loved filling space with items such as ‘your neighbour in court’ It was too much for some who committed suicide at the prospect of it. Robert Walton might have been a little luckier as there were not many readers of THE Hull Daily Mail in Blaby.
The headline in Alan Turings local paper was ‘Cambridge Don guilty of Gross Indecency’We all know the tragic results of that

But we think there should be exoneration not only for famous men like like Alan Turing but also for those such as Robert Clive Walton and John Henry Marsden of Hull whose only brush with fame came with perceived shame in the Hull Daily Mail
They and the other 49000 deserve as much justice as we are able to give them. It is not asking much recompense for ruined lives
Colin Livett 13/3/15

Another Decade . Another Victim.

Alan Turing was not the only or the last man to ,in effect, be murdered by the the British state as a result of the gross indecency laws—simply the most famous. The case outlined below is,in some respects, even worse than that of Turing.
This man was Billy Clegg-Hill, who died in 1962 [a decade after Turing],during medically supervised “therapy” for homosexuality——ordered by a British judge, following Clegg-Hills arrest for indecency and as an alternative to prison.As part of his ‘therapy’ [torture] Clegg-Hill was shown naked pictures of men and simultaneously injected with a vomit-inducing drug called apomorphine.”The purpose was to make him associate naked men with being sick. Unfortunately ,the doctors neglected to give him any fluids, and he died of a stroke brought on by dehydration.” his sister later told the BBC.
I don’t suppose anyone is going to make a blockbuster movie about Billy Clegg-Hill but he was a victim as much, if not more than Alan Turing. Even into the 1960s Aversion Therapy was used by the British State against men who were guilty of no crime At the time many even saw it as a ‘soft’ option to locking them up. Many would now see it for what it was —-torture of an innocent British citizen by the British state.
Surely Billy Clegg-Hill—-and many unknown–deserve a pardon-if that is the right word-as much as Alan Turing?.
CL 9/4/15

alan-turing-s-100th-12-celebratory-images-from-across-the-web-f0424e174d-1024x535 (1)
Now is the time to pardon the other 49,000. Introduce Turing’s Law!


The Committee concluded that “all state schools should have mandatory SRE/PSHE.”

The House of Commons Select Committee Report was published on 17th February.

Over 400 individuals and groups – including Hull and East Riding LGBT Forum and Hull and East Riding Labour LGBT+ Network – made submissions to the committee, chaired by Tory MP for Beverley and Holderness Graham Stuart.

The government has to take notice of the report but is not bound to act upon it. Labour and the Lib Dems have, in general terms, welcomed it. It is, therefore, extremely important that pressure is kept up on ALL parties to accept, and indeed extend, it.
Launching the report Mr Stuart said,

“There is overwhelming demand for statutory sex and relationships education from teachers parents and young people themselves—-young people have a right to information that will keep them healthy and safe. SRE forms an important part of any school’s efforts to safeguard young people from abuse and is pariculaly needed to protect the most vulnerable children.”

Or, as we put it in our petition from Hull 2013 Pride and submission to the Inquiry: ‘no child should be left in fear and ignorance.’

The Committee’s Recommendations 

1. The Department for Education should develop a work plan for introducing age-appropriate PSHE and SRE as statutory subjects in primary and secondary schools [NB This applies to tax payer funded schools only so excludes private schools however it would include Faith Schools and Academies].
2.All parents should be required to run a regular consultation with parents on the schools SRE provision
3. The parental right to withdraw their child from elements of SRE should be retained
4. The Government should formally endorse and issue the SRe guidance produced by Brook produced by Brook the Sex Education Forum and the PSHE Association .
{This is the updated advice including among other things such as internet safety LGBT inclusive guidance]. It should also promote this more actively to schools and governors,
5. The funding of continuous professional development for PSHE teachers and nurses should be reinstated [In other words PSHE must be taught by PSHE specialists and those specialists need continue professional development]
6. Ofsted should resume its regular subject surveys of PSHE provision [These were discontinued after Offsted were highly critical of the extent and nature of coverage]
7. SRE should be renamed Relationships and Sex Education [RSE} to emphasise the relationships element of the subject.

Our Verdict 

There is much to welcome in this report. It represents a radical departure from the past and has been welcomed – to a greater or lesser extent – by well over 100 associations active in this field. This includes ourselves, since much of it reflects the evidence that we submitted. We welcome it being mandatory, welcome the subject [and teachers] being given due recognition and professional support and welcome the updating of advice on SRE teaching [especially of course the LGBT friendly element included within that]. Much of what Mr Stuart said we could have said ourselves.
However ,we do have some reservations:

1. This would only apply to state funded schools. Youngsters in private schools – well over half a million of them -could be left in ignorance and danger. What possible justification is there for this?
This is similarly a blind spot in the broadly similar proposals put forward by Labour on 8th. February
2. The report largely deals with LGBT issues only by implication. These should be made blatant rather then latent and be spelt out
3. Some will be concerned that parents can still opt out children
One has to ask the question of whose interests should come first—-those of the parents or the children?
4. And of course this would only apply to England because of the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Labour’s Proposals

These – put forward by Tristram Hunt earlier in the month – are remarkably similar to the Select Committee’s Proposals, except for the continued blindness of Mr Hunt in making SRE a part of mandatory PSHE. This is entirely beyond my comprehension and goes in the face of just about every educational organisation in the country.
On the other hand, Mr Hunt was much more forthright on the need to include LGBT issues and oppose homophobic bullying.

He said ‘Repealing section 28 was not enough We need new training for teachers – and others in the school workforce. Strategies for education dealing with both prevention and resolution. We need to act urgently to prevent to prevent the blight of homophobic bullying that is damaging the lives and life chances of thousands of pupils.
Both the Select Committees and the Labour Party’s recommendations leave much to be desired and we will have to fight hard to improve them. However they represent a huge step forward over the present situation let alone that which we had at the time of Section 28. To that extent we welcome them and will fight to see them implemented.

Colin Livett, 23rd. February 2013.

Memorandum of Understanding

We are pleased to announce that the campaign that we launched in June 2012 to effectively ban conversion therapy in the UK has achieved its first – if not yet total – victory, effectively banning conversion therapy on the NHS in England.
At a meeting convened earlier this month, 14 organisations issued a ‘Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy’ in the UK.

These include all the major professional organisations in the field:
*NHS England
*Association of Christian Counsellors (who only came out against the practice last year)
*BABCP (British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psycotherapies)
*BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy)
*BAC (British Psychoanalytical Council)
* BPS (British Psychological Society)
* BPC (British Psychological Council)
* GLADD (Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists)
* National Counselling Society

This is the list of the fourteen organisations which signed the memorandum. It includes, crucially, the Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC) - a historic milestone.
This is the list of the fourteen organisations which signed the memorandum. It includes, crucially, the Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC) – a historic milestone.

* Pink Therapy
* Royal College of General Practitioners
* Royal College of Psychiatrists
* Relate
* UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy)

They declared that:

*Efforts to change or alter sexual orientation through psychological therapies are unethical and potentially harmful.
*That “for people who are unhappy about their sexual orientation whether heterosexual,homosexual or bisexual, there may be grounds for exploring therapeutical options to enable them to live more comfortably with it, reduce their distress and reach a greater degree of acceptance of their sexual orientation.”
*The public must be protected from conversion therapy because it does not work and can do harm.

They pledged that:

* They will not offer such treatment
* They will not refer patients for such treatment (this includes referral by GPs – a major problem in the past).
*There must be continued and improved professional development in these areas so that patients can be HELPED rather than harmed
*That there will be continuous scrutiny of developments and that their members and the public will be involved and informed

Above all, they pledged that the public must be protected from the harmful practice of conversion therapy; and that effective therapies must help people be happy with their sexuality.

Message of Support from Diana Johnson MP

Since the inception of our campaign in 2012 Diana has been exemplary in supporting our campaign. She sent in a statement regarding the memorandum of understanding:

“NHS England’s recent statement against conversion therapy is a really positive step forward. I am also glad that it has been co-signed by a huge range of other professional organisations.

Diana speaking in the House of Commons.
Diana speaking in the House of Commons.

“People in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community need to be confident that they can get NHS care which helps rather than hurts them.

“Attempts to change their sexuality are not only ineffective, but potentially extremely harmful. So I am very glad that NHS England has now confirmed they won’t refer patients to conversion therapists.

“We shouldn’t forget that the campaign to get the government to do something about this abhorrent practice started in Hull. I hope their statement will give LGBT people at least some reassurance that they’ll get proper treatment on the NHS.

“But we shouldn’t kid ourselves: much more still need to be done. For one, we need to make sure this message reaches down across the NHS and therapy sector. And we need much more investment in dedicated LGBT-friendly treatment.”

For details of the part played by Hull and East Riding Labour LGBT+ Network, please see our campaign timeline here.  For full details of the Joint Memorandum of Understanding please see here.

However, this is not total victory and there is a lot left to be achieved and we will continue our campaign. Among our aims will be:

* To see that the NHS does provide the lgbt-friendly support that is needed, especially in the area of mental health. All the evidence is that at present it fails lamentably in this area, We need money ,we need resources we need professional training and we need understanding,
* That the NHS ban is extended to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland,
* Conversion Therapy is still legal. Quack remedies can still be offered by charlatan operators. Surely the time has come to prevent this altogether.
*Meanwhile we must at the very least ensure that all counsellors and therapists are members of a professional body . This is the only way to ensure that patients can obtain redress for malpractice and that proper professional standards are met.
*That we keep the public informed of any concerns about the ongoing practice of conversion therapy after the declaration.The consortium is undertaking a review in twelve months.
* That there is adequate public provision and funding of refuges and helplines The only LGBT Refuge supported by the tax payer-in England-was recently threatened with closure. The Albert Kennedy Trust which supports homeless LGBT youngsters should be publicly supported but one charity cannot provide all that is needed. Similarly it is madness helplines such as that provided by Broken Rainbow should face closure because of the lack of funds.

So as Churchill commented on VE Day in 1945, we might perhaps allow ourselves a brief moment of rejoicing at our victory. We thank all those who have contributed towards it. But there are many battles still to be fought. and we need your continued support.

By Colin Livett, 28th Jan 2015


What is Domestic Abuse?

In March 2013, faced with a rising awareness of domestic violence against women, the government redefined what it meant by ‘domestic abuse’ to underline the fact that it involved more than physical violence. It defined it as follows:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or who have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.”

Thus for the first time it was at least implicitly acknowledged that abuse could be directed against LGB and transgender people (and indeed committed by them) and that it was not just between partners but could be ostracism directed against someone coming out to their family as gay, and could be directed against those aged 16-18 as well as over.

LGBT Domestic Abuse Early Day Motion Campaign
LGBT domestic abuse is an under-reported, under-studied issue.

This abuse can cover, as well as violence, psychological, sexual, financial and emotional abuse. Controlling or coercive behaviour were included within this definition but the definition is not a legal one. Thus not all types of domestic abuse as currently defined are criminal offences. There is considerable debate among advocacy groups of the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.

The common view, however, has remained that domestic abuse is domestic violence and that domestic violence is only visited upon women by men. This is simply not true. Whilst it is undoubtedly true that this is still underestimated either because the law is inadequate, or poorly policed, or women are still reluctant to come forward , or cases are badly dealt with by the courts, or, most likely, a combination of all of them, there is virtual denial that men too are the victims of abuse (up to one third of all cases) and so are LGBT couples and individuals. Indeed ,what research there is suggests that the incidence is greater among LGBT people.
In broad terms, we are in the position that women were in decades ago — and their problems are not yet resolved– that Like Admiral Nelson placing his eyeglass to his blind eye we see no problem (including regarding abuse within the LGBT community) and that therefore very little is done and that help is minimal.

The Extent and Nature of LGBT Domestic Abuse

Research done by organisations such as Broken Rainbow – the truly admirable charity in this area -, Stonewall, Domestic Abuse Oxfordshire and others suggests that domestic abuse in the LGBT Community is a serious issue. About 25% of LGBT people have been victims—about the same rate as against heterosexual women (and probably higher in reality because of under-reporting). LGBT people suffer many of the same types of abuse as heterosexual people but there are also additional factors – some of which the LGBT Community itself have been reluctant to recognise. These include:

1. Violence not by partners but by families – especially acute in the case of LGBT youngsters who come out to their families and are rejected. A disproportionately high number of homeless youth are homeless for this reason – many others have their lives made hell at home but put up with it because they have nowhere else to go.

2.  ‘Outing’ as a method of control. The abuser may threaten to ‘out ‘the victim to their friends ,family, workmates and others as a very effective method of control against those who have hidden their sexuality. Bisexual people can be particularly vulnerable here.

3. The offender using the close knit nature of the LGBT Community to ostracise complainants (‘we are not macho men–we do not do things like that–it is just a lovers tiff’ -or whatever). The threat of social isolation can be a very effective means of control.

4.  Lack of support for LGBT people outside the LGBT Community both because the problem is not recognised or people do not know how to deal with it effectively.

5. Sadly, just as in the old days too many women accepted being knocked about a bit was a natural part of married life , the police were not interested in ‘domestics’ and – most shockingly of all – the widespread belief that abused women ‘must have asked for it.’ Many LGBT people believe that they are suffering this abuse BECAUSE of their sexuality—that it is a natural part of it.If they were straight they would not be experiencing it. Therefore in some cases they blame themselves for the abuse they are subjected to. Just as many abused heterosexual women returned to their partners believing that they must have ‘provoked’ their partner or out of economic need.Abuse is abuse whatever your sexuality and nothing excuses it.

6. LGBT domestic abuse is not widely recognised as a problem in the LGBT Community. Many simply do not believe it happens. Others do not recognise it as abuse when it happens to them and simply do not know what to do if they become aware of it happening to a friend – or are afraid to do so.

7. LGBT Communities are often hidden and indeed many LGBT people are not part of them. This problem can be particularly acute in small towns and rural areas where LGBT people are still largely out of sight.

8. They may be ashamed of the abuse and blame themselves for it .This was the classic reason that women did not complain of abuse by men. Sexuality is irrelevant here. Abuse is abuse. It is unacceptable.

9. The abuser may try to turn the LGBT Community against them and isolate them from social contact or indeed they may not be in contact in the first place.

10. It is hard for LGBT victims to seek help because they do not want to disclose their sexuality to the police and other organisations.

11. They may have no confidence that their complaints will be effectively dealt with. And sadly they may be right not to.Agencies may make heterosexual assumptions about clients which make things more difficult.

12. People might be scared that if they complain they will give LGBT relationships a bad name and seem to justify homophobic attitudes.

What Needs to be Done

1. Raise the profile of the problem of LGBT Domestic Abuse in society generally.

2. Raise the profile of the problem in the LGBT Community. Make sure that our community acknowledges that it has a problem. Make sure that it gets the message to LGBT people that this is unacceptable, advise them, support them, investigate whether present support is adequate – or more precisely in what ways it is inadequate. We need to gather information as well – until we know the true nature and extent of the problem it will be difficult to lobby for adequate support.

3. Unless victims have the confidence to come forward – which they will only do if they have confidence in the system this will be virtually impossible to do.This is a truly vicious circle because if they do not come forward we will never have the resources to cater for their particular needs. If officialdom does not believe there is a problem there will be no specialist support and therefore people will be reluctant to seek non-existent support.

4. As charities such as Broken Rainbow have repeatedly pointed out advice and training must be given to those (where they exist) who are responsible for domestic abuse policy in mainstream and specialist organisations, or who are otherwise involved with the survivors or perpetrators of those suffering from domestic violence or abuse with a view to increasing the physical safety and mental well being of LGBT people who experience violence or abuse.

LGBT Domestic Violence Write to MP Campaign
Support for LGBT domestic abuse survivors needs to be expanded.

5. Such help must be statutory and not on a ‘one size fits all’ basis as is too often the case at present. This applies to NHS services -especially mental health – but also to refuges and housing.This situation is worsened by the horrific cuts imposed by central government on local services. We are aware that refuges for women fleeing violence are shamefully being closed across the country as a result of government austerity cuts but LGBT people have SPECIALIST needs -for example for the 16 year old thrown out of the family home or fleeing it when subjected to homophobic abuse. They form a totally disproportionate section of youngsters homeless on the streets.and once there they are vulnerable to numerous other problems such as sexual exploitation, sexually caused infections and alcohol and drug abuse. Similarly specialist support – including housing-for transgender people is usually laking and scarcely even recognised. It is not surprising that suicide rates among both groups are high.

6. Proper advice, information and support must be offered. The LGBT Community itself – as well as charities and official bodies must play a full part in this. They must recognise that there is a problem. Until they do we will be unable to lobby effectively for more specialist support.

7. As well as looking at whether the present law is being properly implemented and supported we must look at whether the law itself is adequate . This of course is one of the most difficult areas of all as rape and violence against women has proved over several decades. If the law is perceived to be inadequate is that a fault with the law itself or the way it is being operated – or indeed both? Again, we need information.

8. Finally, young people must be taught in school what is acceptable in relationships and what constitutes abuse. Atrocious though the level is of violence against heterosexual women by heterosexual men men suffer domestic abuse too, So do LGBT people. All schools must teach sex and relationships education and that must be LGBT inclusive.All abuse is unacceptable.

There is a lot to do. The first is to recognise that we have a problem.



By Colin Livett 23/11/14

The late Tony Benn often commented that, in order to be motivated into action and rebellion against the status quo, political activists needed not only to keep their anger at injustice, but to hope for a better world and to act together in order to try it about.

Ed Miliband:'We must have the courage of our convictions."
Ed Miliband:’We must have the courage of our convictions.”

Thus it would be extremely easy – and certainly justified – to be angered at the latest machinations of the leadership of all three major parties on the subject of mandatory SRE-inclusive PSHE in all schools. In the case of the Tories blinded and deafened by their ideological blinkers; in the case of the Liberal Democrats mind-boggling hypocrisy (even by their abysmal standards as evidenced by student tuition fees) as they desperately try to distance themselves from their coalition partners to save a few scalps at the election; and in the case of Labour an apparent case of short term memory loss. Let us consider each of these in turn and then look at the reasons for hope, because behind this is a rising tide of support or mandatory SRE-inclusive PSHE. There is rebellion in each of the three major parties.

Under the tutelage of Michael Gove, the ideological kneejerk reaction to such demands was always that it was up to the individual schools what to do. That remains the official position. However, demands have started to emerge for a change in policy.

Two weeks ago, Lord Norman Fowler – who ran the “Dont Die Of Ignorance” AIDs campaign as Thatcher’s Health Minister – called for mandatory SRE/PSHE on exactly the same grounds: that people should not be left to die in ignorance. Now he has been joined by back bench MP ,GP and Chair of the Health Select Committee Sarah Wollaston – much to her credit. On followed the ORIGINAL Tory “blonde bombshell” (long before Boris), Michael Fabricant. Finally, the Education Select Committee under the Chairmanship of Tory MP Graham Stuart has launched a pubic inquiry into its desirability. So signs are beginning to emerge of elements of Tory support. We welcome this. We want the widest possible support from all parties for this just as we did against Conversion Therapy.

In January 2014, the Liberal Peers in the Lords were whipped to vote against a Labour amendment to the Children Schools and Families Act that would have ensured mandatory SRE in all publicly funded schools. By voting with the Tories the measure was defeated. Similarly Liberal Democrat MPs in the Commons were whipped to vote against a new clause in the Children and Families Bill moved by Yvette Cooper – then Labour’s Shadow Equalities Minister – that would have ensured mandatory updated SRE as an integral part of PSHE in all schools funded by the taxpayer. Again, by combining with their coalition partners they ensured its defeat.

Labour should come out in favour of mandatory PSHE in all schools.
Labour should come out in favour of mandatory PSHE in all schools.

Now a few months later David Laws has announced that the Liberal Democrats would now support such a measure giving much the same reasons that Yvette Cooper gave last year – or indeed that Hull and East Yorkshire Labour LGBT+ Network gave in its submissions to Labour’s Policy Commission and the Education Select Committee Inquiry (save that we explicitly state it must be LGBT inclusive and apply to ALL schools however funded).

So yes we can deride them. They deserve it. But we are generous enough to welcome their change of heart. It should indicate that there would be support for such a measure in the Commons.

Now to Labour. The good news is that there is absolutely no doubt that Labour continues to support mandatory and “updated” SRE. By “updated” we agree that we are talking about violence against women, consent, relationships, and sexuality. Last June, whilst still Shadow Equalities Minister, Yvette Cooper told Pink News that we needed statutory PSHE which would make it – and SRE – a subject in its own right, thereby helping to address the health problems faced by LGBT students such as homophobic bullying and poor rates of sexual health in our community. Ed Miliband, again speaking to Pink News in February of this year, said:

“Making sex education in schools compulsory is the right thing to do,its the right thing for our young people, its the right thing for the country, and we should have the courage of our convictions.”

And so Labour should.  Tristram Hunt (Education) and Gloria de Piero (Equalities) have confirmed it. But the mystery is that the leadership seems to have forgotten about its previous commitment to it being an integral part of a mandatory PSHE Programme.

All expert opinion confirms that is the most effective way to deliver it. So let us remind the leadership in time for Conference. In 2010, in the dying days of the last Labour Government, Ed Balls drafted a provision in his Children Schools and Families Act that would have provided for mandatory SRE inclusive PSHE in all state funded schools – but this was defeated in the lords and the Act passed into law without that provision.

In March 2013, Yvette Cooper moved an amendment to the coalition Children and Families Bill which would broadly have provided the same and was again defeated. But by January of this year the reference to PSHE had been dropped and it has not even mentioned in the recent Policy Review. It would be bizarre indeed if the positions of Labour and the Liberal Democrats on this were reversed. That must not be allowed to happen and we call upon the upcoming Labour Party Conference to ensure that it is restored. It should also apply to all schools regardless of who funds them

Indeed there is sign of increased backbench support across all the Parties for this. This is instanced by the Private Members Bill tabled by Green MP Caroline Lucas but co-sponsored by Labour backbenchers Glenda Jackson, Barbara Keeley and Yasmin Quareshi as well as liberal Democrat Tim Farron. This is the “Personal, Social, Health, and Economic Education” [Statutory Requirement] Bill which “requires the secretary of state to provide that PSHE be a statutory requirement for all state funded schools, for PSHE to include SRE on ending violence against women and girls; to provide for initial training for initial and continuing teacher education; and guidance on best practice for delivering and inspecting PSHE and SRE Education and for connected purposes.”

The Bill is due its second reading in October. Its detailed text has not yet been published .We hope that when it is it makes specific reference to LBGT inclusiveness and of course it should be for all schools Nevertheless, we support the bill. We hope that members of all parties will support it. In particular we hope there is a massive show of support from backbench Labour MPs so that the Party Leadership’s memory might be jogged over what the Party’s policy WAS only a short time ago. Sarah Wollaston commented that there has been a surge of public opinion over this. We believe that the overwhelming majority of Labour Party MPs and members support it.It is essential that there is a strong turn out of Labour MPs so that a message can be sent to Ed Milibabd in time for the drafting of the manifesto

As Ed said: “have the courage of your convictions.” We believe that despite setbacks we are winning this battle We urge you to help it on its way by

1. If you are a Labour member pushing for conference to support it
2. Push your MP to support the Private Members Bill
3. Sign the Terrence Higgins Trust petition

Hull and East Riding Labour LGBT+ Network is delighted to announce that Margaret Pinder has been chosen to contest Beverley and Holderness against the incumbent Conservative MP, Graham Stuart, who is chair of the Education Select Committee.

Pinder - now Labour's PPC in Beverley and Holderness - has been a stalwart campaigner against homophobic bullying in schools.
Pinder – now Labour’s PPC in Beverley and Holderness – has been a stalwart campaigner against homophobic bullying in schools.

This is singularly appropriate since in 2012 Margaret launched a campaign against homophobic bullying in schools in the EastRiding. This followed on from her discovery that when she had been a 15 year old student at Beverley Girls High School her daughter, Freya. now at university, had been subjected to severe homophobic bullying.

This, as Margaret and Freya have pointed out, follows an all too familiar pattern. Homophobic bullying is hardest to identify because victims are often reluctant to report it to their teachers who as a result are likely to severely underestimate the extent of the problem.As Margaret has pointed out, a lot of young people only ‘come out ‘ once they have left school. This is because – despite the fact that people realise that they are gay when they are younger – they are reluctant to come out because they fear the reaction. As the ‘Hull Daily Mail’ reported Freya said:

“All of my gay and bisexual friends who went to schools all over the country said they had a really difficult time—-so it is not just here.”

Though homophobic bullying is prevalent in most schools, the problem is likely compounded in Hull and the East Riding.
Though homophobic bullying is prevalent in most schools, the problem is likely compounded in Hull and the East Riding.

However it is likely that the problem is compounded in areas such as the East Riding where the LGBT Community is all but s but exists in isolation. This, belief that a community does not exist and cannot therefor be facing cruelty and discrimination rather than outright hostility is why schools have not effectively tackled homophobic bullying . If a problem is not perceived to exist then why then why waste resources dealing dealing with it. The question should be why do they not see what exists. It is in every school in the country which is why mandatory LGBT inclusive SRE should be mandatory in ALL schools.

Of course Margaret will be fighting on a much wider range of social justice. As she says: “local People are worried about the NHS ,bad choices being made about local development—and environmental issues such as flooding and local energy. The Conservatives think this is a safe seat. I’m putting them on notice -it’s not safe anymore.”

Without doubt, Margaret would be a formidable champion of the often-neglected communities of the East Riding. Should she be elected she would be not only the first Labour M.P. in the Riding but also the first woman. We pledge our support and wish her well.

At the recent Labour Party Policy Forum , the following statement on Conversion Therapy was issued:

“Labour strongly believes that being LGBT is not an illness and [that] it should never be treated as something that is curable,which is why we believe that public money should never be spent on ‘conversion’ or ‘cure’ therapies. Labour will ensure that existing safeguards are strengthened to prevent this from happening and will examine the effectiveness of the current system of regulation. Labour will work with the professional bodies to ensure that publicly-funded services enforce the Equalities Act 2010.”

There is much to welcome here and it testifies to the success of our campaign that this has at all been stated. But there are far too many limitations. We welcome:

1. The restatement that being LGBT is not a disease and is not curable.
2. That these quack ‘remedies’ should not be funded by the NHS etc,
3. That the existing system of regulation by the professional bodies be examined for its effectiveness. As we have repeatedly pointed out proper regulation ,ensuring that only properly accredited therapists could operate. Since all the professional bodies now outlaw Conversion Therapy that would lead – effectively – to the end of conversion therapy. The great snag of course is that at present anyone can set themselves up as a psychotherapist, without accreditation or regulation and offer whatever ‘therapies’ they wish.
4. There is great potential in pledging that the Equalities At 2010 be utilised to protect LGBT people. Potentially this would ensure that the NHS provided the health services and support systems that LGBT people currently do not get, that schools effectively tackle homophobia and that we have an EFFECTIVE hate crime … and so on.

But the devil is in the detail – or more accurately perhaps in he lack of it – and even more importantly in some glaring omissions.

Earlier this year, Diana Johnson and 14 other MPs wrote to the responsible minister Norman Lamb asking him to ensure the following measures were put into operation in addition to his pledge not use public money to fund such quackery as Conversion Therapy. These were:

1.  Effective training in LGBT-friendly health provision.
2.  Investigate NHS and professional links with conversion therapists.
3. Ensure that CGC’s and other commissioning bodies in the NHS only commission from registered therapists who are registered with bodies who have already condemned conversion therapy.
4. Ensure effective regulation for the counselling and psychotherapy sector.
5. Ensure the EFFECTIVE use of the Public Sector Equality Sector Duty of the Equalities Act 2010.
6. Explore legal restrictions against conversion therapy.

Now,what does Labour’s commitment amount to in practical terms? It says precisely nothing about 6-legal restrictions or indeed points 3 and 4. But certainly elements of 1,2 and 5 will be carried out. In time point 5 could be of immense benefit to LGBT people as will point 1.

We warmly welcome that Labour has ‘come out’ [sorry!] and made a public statement and commitment which – at least in part – is a reaction to the campaigning that we have carried out. But there is one really important omission here.

Given time, and a Labour Government, this policy statement could lead to the effective end of Conversion Therapy and their should be far more effective support for LGBT people in the public services. But that will take time, and it applies ONLY to the public sector, The Private sector could still offer this quackery.

The big omission here is the complete failure to use the law. The government should make the of

A Labour Government should legislate to make conversion therapy illegal, at least for those aged under 18.

fering of conversion therapy under the age of 18 ILLEGAL. It is this group who are the most vulnerable, struggling to come to terms with their sexuality with devastating results—well documented–at home, in school and in society who, not being offered the help and support they need may turn in desperation to conversion therapy.

Put quite simply, this does not work and it does harm . The first duty of the state should be to protect its citizens from harm especially the most vulnerable among whom these LGBT youngsters are. Conversion Therapy for them is nothing other than child abuse and it is the moral duty of any government to stop it. We cannot wait for friendly talks with the therapist bodies to take place. This evil must be stopped now.

We call for conversion therapy for people under the age of 18 to be made illegal. The Coalition Government have ruled that out. Labour has been silent. Labour must be made to make conversion therapy for under-18s illegal – whoever tries to offer it.


On 17th. July Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, presented her Personal ,Social, Health and Economic Education [Statutory Requirement] Bill to the House of Commons for its First Reading. The bill was jointly sponsored by Labour M.Ps Glenda Jackson, Valerie Vaz, Yasmin Quareshi, and Barbara Keeley as well as Liberal Democrat Tim Farron.

The full text of the bill is yet to be published but, in essence, it calls upon the Secretary of State for Education to provide that Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education [PSHE] be a statutory requirement for all state funded schools; for PHSE to include Sex and Relationships Education [SRE] and education on ending violence against women and girls; to provide for initial and continuing teacher education and guidance on best practice for delivering and inspecting PSHE and SRE education; and for connected purposes.

The Hull and East Riding Labour LGBT+ Network welcomes this initiative —albeit with reservations. These are:

1 Any legislation should apply to ALL schools whether state funded or not.
2. When the detailed text is published it should make it clear that SRE will be LGBT inclusive. Ms. Lucas is perfectly right to focus on the violence perpetrated in our schools against women and girls but homophobia and associated bullying should also be highlighted as a major problem that must be effectively tackled.
3. The third reservation is that parliamentary procedures mean that the chances of this bill coming law—or even being debated – is minimal. That was the fate of Geraint Davies’ Private Members Bill earlier this year to try to ban Conversion Therapy.
This is not to belittle the efforts of these backbench MPs to keep these vital issues on the political agenda, but a great deal more in the way of campaigning needs to be done as well.

Our petition on this issue will be presented to Diana Johnson soon.

Vital at the moment is the need to get a pledge on Mandatory SRE-Inclusive PSHE in ALL schools to go in to Labour#s Manifesto. All the signs are that this is being resisted by the Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Tristram Hunt, who does not want PSHE mandatory. In this sense he really does seem to have been the shadow of the late lamented Michael Gove. We believe that there is widespread support for mandatory PSHE in the Labour Party in Parliament and the Country. For this reason we applaud those backbench MPs who have stood up and been counted. May there be more of them. May those members of the Shadow Cabinet who we know disagree with Hunt [read Yvette Coopers last conference speech] continue to push the case behind closed doors. But above all let the battle be fought within the Labour Party on this vital issue so that the case can be put to the country. Now is not the time to be seen to be running scared.


Ros Asquith The Guardian
Ros Asquith The Guardian
Gove out, Nicky Morgan in – but is it really a cause for celebration?

Few in the LGBT Community will mourn the demise of Michael Gove. Through his refusal to take homophobic bullying in schools seriously by introducing mandatory SRE inclusive PSHE he left many youngsters in fear and ignorance with tragic results. Sadly we can hope for little better from his successor Nicky Morgan beyond the remote hope that she might listen. Morgan ,who has crawled her way to the top by being ultra loyal to the leadership nevertheless voted against their wishes in voting against equal marriage last year. For this reason she was deprived of the equalities portfolio when she succeeded the disgraced Maria Miller as Minister for Women. Doubtless this reflected her position as a trustee of the traditionalist Conservative Christian Fellowship. In accordance with the leaderships wishes she also opposed making PSHE mandatory in Academies.

Now, however, in a step back towards the Conservative Party’s Section 28 heritage, Cameron has restored to her the role of Equalities Minister so that we now have an Equalities Minister who has voted for inequality. It also means that she will be in charge of combatting homophobia in schools as both Education and Equalities Minister. This may appeal to the more reactionary Tory voters and grab a few votes back from UKIP, but it is bad news for those suffering from homophobic bullying in schools and inequalities elsewhere. It seems that Cameron’s brief attempt to detoxify the Tory Party of which Equal Marriage was a part is well and truly ended. As former Labour MEP and Gay Rights Activist Michael Cashman commented, “Nicky Morgan in charge of education and equalities is deeply worrying. The true nature of the Tory Party is unchanged and reverting to type.” It is also doing so in another sense. Morgan’s appointment was part of Cameron’s attempt to make the cabinet less dominated by rich, middle-aged white men. But Morgan, as a former Head Girl at a leading fee-paying day school, with a Law Degree from Oxford and a background as a corporate lawyer is caste in almost exactly the same mould as the rest of the ruling elite. Indeed she is far more representative of it than Michael Gove and might almost be termed an honorary ‘old boy.’ Really the outlook is not hopeful and our campaign becomes all the more relevant.

Nicky Morgan’s appointment makes our campaign all the more important.

And fear and ignorance will continue to rule our country’s classrooms with tragic consequences.

Colin Livett 15th July 2014