I went to the launch last night of ParliOut – a new group formed to support LGB&T people in the Houses of Parliament – both Members and staff.

This group will be an invaluable source of support to all LGB&T people in the Palace of Westminster and hopefully, it will also encourage other employers to follow this example.

It is very important that Parliament has out LGB&T members and  also sends out the important message that being LGB&T is not a bar to participating in civil society and public life.

The Government also needs to do more to encourage more LGB&T citizens to particpate and this week we will be publishing the findings of research we have carried out into the ‘Experiences of and Barriers to Participation in public and political life for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’.

One of the key findings, is that a major barrier to particpation, is the fear of being outed by the media!

As people may have seen over the weekend, a case in point, Deputy Speaker, Nigel Evans came out at the age of 53 – to coincide with the launch of ParliOut. But for an MP in the Conservative Party – this was not always acceptable – now that has genuinely changed. In fact – the Conservative Party has moved on beyond all recognition on LGB&T matters – not just because of the thirteen out gay MPs – but in a genuine move away from the past and a very open mind in terms of moving forward on this agenda. 

Back to the do – Mr Speaker, John Bercow, kindly hosted the evening in his rooms which was great – as he has been an outstanding supporter of equal rights himself. Also – tribute was paid to Iain Corby who with others has brought ParliOut  into existence. Chris Bryant, an out Labour MP who earlier this year had the first civil partnership to be carried out in Parliament also spoke.

But the focus and speech of the evening was Deputy Speaker, Nigel Evans – who gave a most powerful and moving speech about his personal journey – through to today – when he at last can be himself.

0 thoughts on “ParliOut

  1. Lynne

    “……the Conservative Party has moved on beyond all recognition on LGB&T matters…..”

    What do you actually think George Osborne meant when he referred to Chris Bryant, a gay MP, as a ‘Pantomime Dame’?

    Have you ever heard him refer to any straight male MPs as ‘Pantomime Dames’?

  2. Hi Lynne, have you had any thoughts yet on an answer to my question in the ‘comments’ section of your previous blog about DADT? To save you looking back – here it is again:-

    As you know, the UK presently discriminates against couples on grounds of sexual orientation – it is not possible for gay people to marry or for straight couples to get a civil partnership.

    A legal challenge to this situation is being is launched in the European Court of Human Rights. Do you, as Minister for Equalities, support the challenge and, if so, does that mean that the Government will not defend the case?

    Background information

  3. It was so good that Dr Evan Harris and Lord Lester were at the launch of Equal Love campaign yesterday in London. Well done LibDems!

    As with Zoe, I am curious if there was any trans representation at the Monday LGB&T Parliament event.


  4. Paula, if the person most in a position to do something about it – LibDem Minister for Equalities, Lynne Featherstone – were to say something in support of marriage equality, I might be inclined to agree with you and say well done LibDems.

    However Lynne has adamantly refused to say she supports marriage equality and has only mentioned civil partnerships. The LibDems have betrayed the people who voted for them on this, just as they did with tuition fees. So I think any congratulations to the LibDems are not valid.

  5. Dave: Since the Lib Dems as a party have been in favour of marriage equality since conference voted on the subject at conference in September, and since Nick Clegg stated he personally was in favour of it before the election, and since Lynne has always been on the right side of this agenda as far as I know, and said in her speech to conference

    And I am proud this tradition continues with the motion you passed yesterday calling for equal marriage. It is a sensitive matter, and while of course I absolutely respect the right to religious beliefs, I believe that equal rights should mean just that.

    The same rights, not different rights.

    …I think it’s safe to say she probably does support marriage equality.

    Unfortunately, as I’m sure you realise, as a minister in a coalition government, Lynne has a duty to speak for the government on issues within her remit, and is therefore not clearly stating her own personal view on the matter in public at the moment. That is perfectly normal, and not a matter of “betrayal”.

    What would be a “betrayal” is if she were not arguing for the policy within the coalition, but I have every faith that she is doing so.

    The problem is not Lynne, it is the fact that the governments’ MPs are 80% Tory, who are not in favour of marriage equality as a matter of party policy. If you want to help move the marriage equality agenda forward within the present government, might I suggest you stop slagging off the people who are on your side within the government in the ridiculous, shrill and partisan terms which you are currently using, and work on persuading the party in the coalition which has not already stated its support for what you want?

  6. Andy – I’m afraid that whether or not Lynne supports marriage equality – her decision and her colleagues to vote to increase tuition fees cannot be forgiven. Marriage equality is important, but it’s not as important as politicians being honest and truthful. And yes were BETRAYED by the people they thought could be trusted.

  7. Just for the record, I’m not partisan. As far as I’m concerned Labour is as bad as Lib Dem is as bad as Conservative is as bad as Greens. They’re all better than BNP though.