International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

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

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Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan Conservative, Chichester 4:16 pm, 16th May 2019

That is brilliant and I will definitely take my right hon. Friend up on that offer, and I am sure Melissa will be delighted.

Another story I heard was from two girls who had gone to Brighton to celebrate Pride. They went back home on the train, still wearing their rainbow colours, which we have all got on today. While they were walking home, a car full of young men hurled homophobic abuse at them as they drove past. The car then turned around for another drive-by insult. This incident was, understandably, distressing, but we are so much better than this and we need to call it out wherever we see it.

The group is already up and running, and I am sure it will go much faster now thanks to the help and support from my right hon. Friend. It allows the LGBT community in Chichester to come together for the first time, to share their stories and experiences, and to support one another. Without this support, it is so easy to feel isolated and unable to be yourself. I will join the group at one of its future get-togethers and look forward to meeting everyone in person.

Of course, this Friday is also a day when we draw attention to the issue of LGBTQI rights internationally. Our country is a leader in the world, much respected for our influence and the example we set. I am proud that it was a Conservative Prime Minister who put same-sex marriage on the statute book, but, as many colleagues have said, there is much to be done in the wider Commonwealth countries. I was particularly disappointed to see what was happening in Bermuda, which still seems to have a problem with LGBT rights. I mention Bermuda as my husband is the grandson of a Gosling, a very well-known Bermudian family, famous for Gosling’s Rum. One would think that a wealthy and important British overseas territory would take a more enlightened and tolerant approach, and I call on it to do so.

In conclusion, I want to thank my colleagues who have enabled us to have this important debate today. We are making progress in Chichester and across the country. I am looking forward to working across the House, as a straight ally, to ensure we continue to be an open, tolerant society that stands firmly against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, both now and in the future.