Stonewall Cymru are holding Hustings for the Welsh Assembly elections focusing on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues in Wales.
This is an important opportunity for voters to question candidates on equality ahead of the Assembly elections on May 5th.
Andrew White, Director of Stonewall Cymru said “We are delighted that all four main political parties are taking part in this debate. It is an important part of our democracy to be able to hold candidates to account.”
Vaughan Roderick, BBC Wales Welsh Affairs Editor will chair the cross-party debate. He said “In the forty years since Leo Abse and Roy Jenkins pioneered gay emancipation huge strides have been taken towards LGB equality culminating in the 2010 Equality Act. Serious issues still confront the LGB community though including homophobic bullying in schools, HIV/AIDS and the needs of the first "out" generation who are approaching old age. These hustings will allow members of the LGB community to test whether Welsh politicians are prepared to back up fine word with actions”
Liberal Democrat candidate Elgan Morgan said “The Welsh Liberal Democrats want everyone to have an equal stake in the better Wales which we are trying to create. I, and the Party, will respect diversity and empower all individuals. The people of Wales should not lose out on grounds of age, gender, disability, religion, race or sexual orientation. The current economic climate and financial difficulties are not an excuse to let equality slip. Equality needs to be promoted whatever the circumstances.”
Huw Lewis candidate for Welsh Labour said that his party “Is committed to improving services and opportunities for all lesbian, gay and bisexual people, including those who continue to experience discrimination within their communities. Our new public sector duties will provide the basis for securing equality in the provision of public services - making sure that services meet the needs of LGB people in Wales. Working in close partnership with organisations such as Stonewall, Labour has acted in Government - at the Assembly and UK level - to tackle homophobia and secure equal treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in so many areas. These Stonewall Cymru hustings provide a welcome opportunity for us to further this partnership so that, together, we can address the issues which really matter to LGB people in Wales.”
Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood said: “Plaid believes that everyone should be able to participate fully in society and those discriminatory barriers which prevent participation need to be broken down. Despite efforts by Stonewall Cymru and others to educate, inform and persuade and despite legislation and the changing of many people's attitudes, far too many people are afraid of coming out, far too many people experience homophobic bullying and harassment and for far too many people, this stops them from fully participating in society.
She added “Plaid Cymru is working to build a Wales free of discrimination in all of its forms; a Wales based on the principles of fairness and equality and the full participation of all its citizens. Dialogue and debate is crucial if homophobic attitudes are to be stamped out and that is why I am grateful to Stonewall Cymru for their political activity throughout the year as well as for organising this hustings event.”
Ben Gray, candidate for the Welsh Conservatives, said “Welsh Conservatives are committed to a Wales that is equal for all. Bullying, discrimination and bias have no place in our country and we must continue to work towards equal treatment in all our communities. Events like the Cardiff Mardi Gras need continued support and a zero tolerance policy on hate crimes and bullying is the only way forward. Any barriers standing in the way of success in these areas must be broken down forever. It gives me great pleasure to be able to participate in these hustings and make clear our intention to work with Stonewall Cymru and others, in order to put equality at the top of the Assembly agenda.”
The hustings are open to all. Questions can be submitted in Welsh or in English in advance or on the evening. To book a place or submit questions please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
To register to attend the LGB hustings event contact, Stonewall Cymru on 029 20 237744 or Election@stonewallcymru.org.uk
For Stonewall Cymru’s election manifesto and news and campaigns around the Assembly Elections in the run up to 5th May visit www.stonewallcymru.org.uk/WelshElection2011
During office hours please call:
029 20 237744
If you have an urgent media enquiry outside office hours please call 07779 359 704
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