The Green Party has today published its LGBTIQA+ manifesto for the 2017 General Election, which was developed by members of the LGBTIQA+ Greens. Below is a transcript of the speech given at the launch by Equalities Spokesperson for the Green Party and Chair of LGBTIQA+ Greens, Aimee Challenor.
Hello everyone, thanks so much for coming to join us here this morning.
My name is Aimee, and I’m so proud to be a spokesperson for a party which has always been proud to stand with LGBTIQA+ people in our struggle for equality and liberation.
That party is The Green Party, and it gives me great pleasure to launch our 2017 LGBTIQA+ manifesto today.
Make no mistake. It’s time to be bold. It has never been more important to campaign for LGBTIQA+ rights.
LGBTIQA+ rights are under threat, all around the world, to an extent which feels unprecedented.
We’re seeing gay and bi men being tortured and killed in Chechnya.
We’re seeing Donald Trump weakening protections for our people in the United States.
And we’re seeing the UK threatening to repeal the Human Rights Act.
2017 has already been a horrific year for everyone who cares about LGBTIQA+ people. That’s why we need a raft of bold, radical new policies. We need a bold new vision for our society.
And that’s what the Green Party has to offer to the LGBTIQA+ community in this General Election, with our boldest LGBTIQA+ manifesto yet.
We’d start by making sure that LGBTIQA+ rights are at the heart of our response to the refugee crisis.
Across the world, LGBTIQA+ people are facing violence, persecution and intimidation because of their gender identity, sexuality or intersex status.
And the problem is getting worse.
In the last five years, the number of LGBTIQA+ people seeking asylum rose by a staggering four hundred per cent.
These people fleeing horrific experiences often seek refuge here in the UK, with our proud history of welcoming refugees.
Instead, they find a hostile asylum process.
Their applications are incorrectly rejected.
They are asked to submit intimate photographs of themselves, to ‘prove’ their asylum claim.
They are asked: Can’t you just pretend not to be LGBTIQA+ and go back home? Can’t you hide your identity to live a safe life? Why not just spend a lifetime pretending to be something you’re not? No problem, right?
This is actually what our border control are asking refugees. People running for their lives because of their sexuality or gender identity.
This is not good enough. And this border control is costing lives.
The Green Party would act to protect LGBTIQA+ refugees, rather than put them in danger.
We would stop all deportations of LGBTIQA+ refugees until we had a complete reform of the system.
We would stop all detention of refugees while they wait for their claims to be processed, and we would allow them to find dignity in work instead.
And we will campaign to ensure that the 1951 Refugees Convention recognises that gender identity and sexuality are grounds for being granted refugee status – all across the world.
Our campaign will always be internationalist, but we can’t forget that we’re still fighting for basic rights and recognition as human beings here in the UK.
The stigma attached to LGBTIQA+ identities reaches all across society.
Ignorance puts us at risk of discrimination and sexual violence, and the rights of trans and intersex people have been denied for far too long.
This has to change.
The Green Party is calling for full rights for trans and intersex people now.
We would make intersex a protected status in the Equality Act.
We’d make it illegal to perform sex assignment interventions on children who cannot give their consent.
We’d strengthen hate crime legislation, reform the Gender Recognition Act, and put an end to the Spousal veto.
In short, the Green Party would ensure that trans and intersex people are recognised as full and equal citizens of the United Kingdom – and we can’t wait a moment longer to do it.
Rights and legal recognition are vital. But we also need to talk about health.
Even something as basic as healthcare, in the 6th richest country in the world, and apparently one of the most progressive, is still letting down LGBTIQA+ people and putting their lives at risk.
Take PrEP for example. This is one of the most effective measures for preventing HIV infection. It’s just a daily pill. But you can’t even get it on the NHS here in England, or in Wales.
You only have to look to Scotland to see how effective it is. In Scotland you can get this medication on the NHS, and the results speak for themselves.
The Green Party would offer PrEP on the NHS for everyone who needs it.
We’d improve access to medical services and gender identity clinics, particularly for trans and non-binary people.
And we’d make sure the NHS gets proper funding, to support the mental health crisis among trans people. And it is a crisis. Nearly half of trans people under the age of 26 have attempted suicide.
Let’s be clear. We aren’t just talking about stigma, shame and embarrassment. We aren’t talking about political correctness and generation snowflake. We are talking about people dying.
People are dying because of our borders.
People are dying because of our healthcare system is letting us down.
People are dying because they do not have equal rights.
This is why we so badly need a strong movement fighting for LGBTIQA+ rights. And take it from me: That movement has a home in the Green Party.
Today we’re setting out policies which don’t just defend our rights, but celebrate them and extend them.
Vote for the Green Party, and we’d grant bodily autonomy for intersex people.
We’d give legal recognition for trans and non-binary people.
We’d offer PrEP to all that need it, and work towards a completely inclusive health service.
And we’d play our role in the international struggle by securing greater protection for LGBTIQA+ asylum seekers.
Nobody should be seen as less than human because of who they are.
Nobody’s health should suffer because of who they are.
Nobody should run for their lives because of who they are, and nobody should be denied safety here in the UK because of who they are.
The Green Party is absolutely clear about this. We have always been clear on this. LGBTIQA+ rights are human rights. We will not stop until we have achieved full equality for everyone.
Vote Green this June, and you can make our bold vision for society a reality.
Thank you very much.