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Ken Livingstone’s record of support for lesbian and gay rights

A number of people have written an open letter accusing Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, of having ‘offered few concrete policies to support’ lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Londoners and describing the Greater London Authority’s work on LGBT issues as a ‘pattern of neglect’.

We disagree. Ken Livingstone’s record of support for lesbian and gay rights for more than 3 decades has been exemplary. Irrespective of the differing views over his meeting with the Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, we believe Ken Livingstone’s record on human rights and social justice for lesbians and gay men is a proud one, a view we believe is shared by the majority of LGBT Londoners.

It was Ken Livingstone who launched the first ever Partnerships Register in the UK, a step followed by many other local authorities and which helped create the environment that led to the Civil Partnership Act.

He has given full support to a range of events for the lesbian and gay community, including a free rally in Trafalgar Square at the end of last year’s Pride march, something many in the community had wanted to see for years.

He took on the holiday company Sandals and used the powers of Transport for London to ban homophobic advertisements on the Underground, buses and taxis, resulting in Sandals officially abandoning their homophobic policy. He has also assisted Stonewall’s campaign against homophobic bullying in schools and has lobbied for and supported legal reform such as the repeal of Section 28. He responded immediately to the murder of David Morley and asked the police to give the highest priority to arresting those responsible.

The Mayor has supported minoritised and often forgotten voices within the community, hosting a reception for the Safra project on the needs of Muslim lesbian and bisexual women and conducting research on the needs of older LGBT people. And rather than stifling debate, the Mayor’s informal LGBT forum encourages discussion between the GLA and the LGBT community.

We believe this record shows a genuine and practical commitment to equality for LGBT Londoners from the Mayor which we trust will continue.

Takhsin Begum Black rep NUS LGB Committee
Linda Bellos
Denis Fernando, Lesbian and Gay Coalition Against Racism
Caroline Jones and Michael Verrier, Co-Chairs, Broken Rainbow
Kirsten Hearne, Regard
John Merzetti & Michael Tait Organisers, Vigil for David Morley
Simon Nelson, Black Gay Men's Advisory Group
Sharon Stacey, LGB Women's Rep NUS Black students Committee
Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive, Stonewall



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