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
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
Takhsin Begum Black rep NUS LGB Committee
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
Simon Nelson, Black Gay Men's Advisory Group
Sharon Stacey, LGB Women's Rep NUS Black students Committee
Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive, Stonewall