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The UK government's attempt to celebrate Pride month did not go down well

LGBT campaigners had the last word.

The annual Pride parades might still be uncertain but that doesn't mean people can't celebrate. Image: Alisdare Hickson/Flickr

The UK government’s attempt to wish the LGBTQ+ community a happy Pride month has backfired spectacularly after leading campaigners highlighted ministers’ record on gay and trans rights.

“Happy Pride Month!” tweeted the Government Equalities Office, which is responsible for equality legislation in the UK, particularly around gender and sexual orientation. “A month to celebrate LGBT equality across the UK and beyond.”

The tweet included a video focusing on “LGBT moments to celebrate”, such as the 2020 win for same-sex marriage campaigners in Northern Ireland and the reduction of gender recognition certificate costs from £140 to £5.

But the post backfired after users were quick to point out the government’s lack of urgency to put protections for LGBTQ+ people firmly into legislation.

Equalities minister Liz Truss was criticised the day before Pride month began after she urged government departments to withdraw from the Stonewall programme which gives employers resources to make them more inclusive.

She also came under fire last month when the government announced the conversion therapy ban – first promised in 2018 – would not be introduced until a consultation had been completed. The consultation will consider free speech and “religious freedom” and will not begin until later this year.

Truss led the disbanding of the government’s LGBT Advisory Panel in March, admitting to “fundamental disagreements” between herself and panel members who supported trans people’s right to self-identify for gender recognition certificates. She is also secretary of state for international trade.

Jayne Ozanne, one of the advisers before resigning from the panel, said ministers were creating a “hostile environment” for LGBTQ+ people.

“We also LOVINGLY split from the UK’s leading LGBTQ charity network because of pressure from terfs [short for trans-exclusionary radical feminists]! Happy pride month!”, tweeted Jamie Windust, author and presenter, referring to Times reports that Truss pushed for Westminster bodies to withdraw from Stonewall’s employment scheme.

“Tweets are cheap, actions are more meaningful. Let’s see… oh,” tweeted Jessica Smith, pointing to the LGBT Advisory Panel disbandment.

Benjamin Cohen, chief executive of Pink News, responded: “This you hun?” alongside reporting on the alleged government split from Stonewall.

“LGBT equality? Sounds like a great idea, when can we start?!” replied actress Abigail Thorn.

https://twitter.com/PhilosophyTube/status/1399642919179538432?s=20

“You don’t get to celebrate with us,” Christina Grimwade responded to the equalities office account. “Ban conversion therapy. Reform GRA [the Gender Recognition Act]. Then we’ll talk.”

https://twitter.com/Chr1stinaG/status/1399625442030768128?s=20

Meanwhile Michael T said: “I’ve been out as trans for 18 years. I have never known trans communities feel more dispirited and distrustful of the government than they do at this moment.”

“Have you stopped deporting LGBT+ refugees and banned conversion therapy yet?” another user replied.

https://twitter.com/ComradeCeeCee/status/1399686966963212290?s=20

Emma Ritchie, director of Scottish gender equality charity Engender, said: “This rings exceptionally hollow when UK Government has abandoned its LGBT Action Plan, disbanded its LGBT advisory panel, and stopped internal programmes to be a better employer to LGBT staffers.”

One researcher of transphobic hate groups reminded the equalities office of its track record for LGBTQ+ people.

They wrote: “Yes we disbanded LGBT advisory panel, scrapped LGBT action plan, ditched GRA reform, are withdrawing from diversity programs BUT: LONG overdue marriage equality in NI, lowered cost of bureaucracy you all hate, you can give us your ACTUAL BLOOD, a conference 🙂 ”

And the British LGBT Awards got the last word: ”To celebrate the first day of Pride Month, here’s a thread tearing apart all of the facts in this video.”

The thread reads:

“1) ‘Same-sex marriage became legal in NI in 2020’ – brought about through an amendment by a backbench Labour MP, @ConorMcGinn. All 73 MPs who voted AGAINST same-sex marriage in NI were – you guessed it – Conservative or DUP.

“2) ‘The cost of a Gender Recognition certificate was reduced from £140 to £5 in May this year’.
@stonewalluk said it best: the GR certificate fee reduction was one of the “minor administrative changes” made after the gov scrapped plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act.

“3) ‘Conversion therapy to be banned as announced in the Queen’s Speech in May 2021’. Despite pledging to ban conversion therapy almost 3 YEARS AGO, the gov. are holding another consultation (forget about the 2018 National LGBT+ Survey) Nail polish

“4) ‘Blood donation criteria is changing, which means more men who have sex with men will be able to donate’. @FreedomToDonate has been campaigning for this for more than 6 years, as well as groups like
@THTorguk and @stonewalluk. It’s about bloody time

“5) ‘The UK will host its first international LGBT+ conference in June 2022.’ Not quite – the first ever International LGBT+ conference was hosted way back in 1974 by Scottish Minorities Group and led to @ILGAWORLD being formed.”

The government did not respond to any of the messages.

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