Last week the Conservative LGBT Action Plan was being discussed in Parliament. The LGBT Action plan was a survey conducted by the Conservative government which received 108,000 responses. This figure makes it the largest national survey of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people conducted in the world to date. The survey covered issues such as safety, health, education and the general experience of being LGBT in the United Kingdom.
The Government has identified 75 actions to take in order to address the findings of the survey. The actions include appointing a national LGBT health adviser in the National Health Service to tackle health inequalities, an extension of the anti-homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying programme and a commitment to end the practice of conversion therapy in the United Kingdom.
Penny Mourdant, Secretary of State for International Development and Minister for Women and Equalities told the House that she wanted to send a clear message to the rest of the world which is, we need to stamp out homophobia and bigotry wherever it exists.
In that same debate I urged the Minister to be less diplomatic and have a chat to the Foreign Secretary to see whether we can insist on every high commission and embassy flying the rainbow flag, particularly countries where homosexuality is illegal. The Minister agreed that this would send a hugely important message and hoped that as many buildings as possible would fly the rainbow flag in the coming days and weeks.
I have consistently voted in support of same sex marriage and have always supported the LGBT community in Southend, working with organisations such as Transpire. It is great to live in and represent a town which is full of inspirational people who really want to tackle the problems that the LGBT community face.
As a town Southend should be proud of its inclusivity and its dedication to equality. This week we get to celebrate this pride with a number of fun filled events for Southend Pride. This all started with the raising of the rainbow flag outside the Civic Centre by the Worshipful Mayor Cllr Derek Jarvis and will end with the parade on Sunday. I look forward to seeing many of you at these wonderful events.