Britain pledges to tackle injustices against LGBT people

by Serena Chaudhry | @SerenaChaudhry | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 24 May 2018 14:57 GMT

Campaigners place flowers on a multicoloured flag as they protest for LGBT rights in Chechnya outside the Russian embassy in London, Britain June 2, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall

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"Trans people still face indignities and prejudice when they deserve understanding and respect."

By Serena Chaudhry

LONDON, May 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Britain's prime minister promised an action plan to tackle the injustices LGBT people face on Thursday, as activists said the community still suffered abuse and discrimination.

Theresa May said the transgender community faced "indignities and prejudice", as she announced the LGBT Action Plan, which she said would ensure no one faced persecution for who they love.

"It will set out concrete steps the government will take to improve lives for LGBT people in this country and address some of the injustices the community has faced," May wrote in a letter published in the Gay Times magazine.

"Trans people still face indignities and prejudice when they deserve understanding and respect."

About 41 percent of transgender people in Britain experienced a hate crime in 2017, according to the charity Stonewall, which advocates for LGBT rights.

May did not say what steps the plan would include, but it is expected to address areas including healthcare, education and personal safety.

Britain recognised the gender identity of trans people in the 2004 Gender Recognition Act and May's government has since proposed changes to the law to allow gender reassignment surgery without a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

The British leader last month called for Commonwealth nations to reform outdated anti-gay legislation in an effort to stop widespread persecution and discrimination of LGBT people.

About 37 of the 53 mostly former British colonies still have colonial-era laws that criminalise LGBT identities.

Stonewall's director of campaigns, policy and research Paul Twocock welcomed the announcement.

"LGBT people still face many inequalities and abuse in their everyday life in Britain," Twocock told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"Both the Action Plan and reform of the Gender Recognition Act should allow us to make important steps forward towards building a society where LGBT people are truly accepted, everywhere and by everyone."

(Reporting by Serena Chaudhry, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)

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