International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:02 pm on 16th May 2019.

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Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Conservative, Reigate 4:02 pm, 16th May 2019

Obviously I agree with the hon. Gentleman.

It must be a central characteristic of global Britain, with our people, culture and history, that if we as a nation do not understand difference at home, we undermine what is special about the United Kingdom abroad. People who dislike the idea of people with different sexual orientations may have children or grandchildren who do not conform to their social norms. In fact, statistically, of course they will. There are children who have two fathers, and there are children who have two mothers. There are children who are gay. Those are facts.

All children need education on what Britain is like and what Britain stands for, which is tolerance and inclusivity. Pretending that such people do not exist only serves to misinform and continue the bullying of these children. Education is a prime opportunity for the Government to step up and champion LGBT rights. It is a duty. Backing teachers who teach and promote equality should not be a hard ask. Indeed, if a group of people demanded that their children should not learn about physics, history or British values because they believed that that was wrong, we would not be having this discussion.

I will close by showing that there is light at the end of this tunnel. The decision in India was the most momentous for the most enormous number of people, but it has been accompanied by change in places such as Angola and Trinidad & Tobago, where laws criminalising same-sex acts have been repealed. I commend the work of the Commonwealth Equality Network. When people stand up together to challenge exclusion, they can achieve great things. As part of Britain’s place in the Commonwealth, we need to continue to support LGBT people globally and ensure that the British values of inclusivity, tolerance and respect reverberate around the world.