Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Resting on their LGBT laurels?

Last week I asked a question about the council’s record on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights. I framed it as a question about LGBT History month, which is in February.

You can see me watch my question here – and hear the answer I received from Cllr Amin:

(Click on Index Points tab, then, under section 11. I am 'Speaker' at 01:19:50, 01:24:31* and 01:24:47)

*don't miss this bit!

I was dismayed to discover that although Haringey have a Sexuality Equalities Related Review Action Plan, but it is several years out of date. Several of the points on the plan are marked as 'not achieved'. You would expect a council to be engaging with, consulting and encouraging the involvement of all sections of society. I am not confident this is happening as much as it could in Haringey.

With hate crime reported to be rising nationally, and a homophobic attack and subsequent death of a gay man in Trafalgar Square in September, I would argue that the council cannot ‘rest on its laurels’ when it comes to sexuality.

Although society is much more accepting of same-sex relationships, ‘gay’ is still used as a term of abuse in schools. As someone who has had relationships with both sexes, I know that there is still unfortunately a big difference between the way one gets treated by society when in a same-sex relationship to when in a heterosexual one.

The council needs to address this head-on rather than assume the problem of homophobia has disappeared.

Cllr Amin assured me that the 2004-7 Action Plan is not the most up to date of its kind. I emailed her and asked her to send me the most recent plan – and am still awaiting a reply!

Update! I have a reply: 'We are no longer carrying out individual equalities reviews but include sexual orientation as part of the Corporate Equalities Scheme and Action
Plan. A revised action plan covering the period 2010 to 2013 is currently being prepared and when completed will be available on the web.'

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