This Saturday I’m marching with Norwich Pride. Come and join in!
Norwich Pride is a celebration of the LGBT+ community for everyone. As your local MP, I love Norwich because it’s a real community city, and this annual celebration is a way to show that everyone can feel safe and proud to be themselves. It’s all about pride in who we are and it’s all about Norwich!
Norwich Pride is a grass-roots, do-it-yourself celebration organised by a collective of friendly, creative and enthusiastic volunteers. More here: http://www.norwichpride.org.uk/
I’ll be joining the parade in front of City Hall at 1230 with many others. It would be great to see you there and walk with you in support of our city and our community, so please find me in the crowd. Later on, I’ll be taking part as a local MP in a Question Time on LGBT+ issues in Chapelfield Gardens.
I’ve long engaged with LGBT+ issues for constituents, including as an early supporter of equal marriage which I was proud to vote for in Parliament.
Thanks to the hard work and courage of campaigners, there’s been a lot progress in improving life for LGBT+ people in Britain. As well as equal marriage now being law, the age of consent is now equal; LGB people can serve in the military; same-sex couples can adopt; Section 28 is gone and schools can deal better with homosexuality; and the Equality Act protects lesbian, gay and bi people when accessing goods and services.
These issues are for everyone: not just those who are out, but those who don’t yet have that confidence. Not just those in big cities, but in villages and towns up and down Britain. And not just Britain, but around the world.
In the news spotlight or out of it, there is much more to do internationally.
Since 1990, 40 countries have decriminalised homosexuality and over 30 have outlawed homophobic hate crimes. As of 2015, over 60 countries legally protect LGBT people at work and 15 recognise same-sex marriage.
Yet huge challenges remain. Sex with someone of the same sex is illegal in 74 countries, and punishable by death in 10. That means 40 per cent of the world's population live in countries where gay, lesbian and bisexual people can be imprisoned, just for being themselves. Over 400 million people live under laws which punish same-sex sex with the death penalty.
Around the world today, LGBT+ people are more likely to risk arrest, violence and discrimination for publicly speaking out against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, than they are to have their rights protected.
The UK government works to assess the human rights record of other countries and make recommendations for improvements. Organisations like Stonewall and LGBT+ groups in other countries have helped the British government raise LGBT+ issues in a way that is helpful to local campaigners and pushes their governments to take practical action.
We can all help create a world where everyone has the right to love, and the right to life.
We can all be leaders in our communities, our workplaces, our schools, colleges or universities, our sports teams. We can work out what it means to be ourselves; understand the issues that may be affecting others; step up in practical ways; behave in a way that allows everyone to have pride.
We can all be role models and allies of the Pride movement.
So, whoever you are, whatever you do, be proud to be out in the city this Saturday, and support the Norwich community through Norwich Pride – I’ll be there!