After much speculation, we’ve had confirmation that we’re heading to the polls on 12 December 2019.
An election campaign can be frustrating, exciting or exhausting, but however you feel about it, elections are very important for all of us. Political parties will now set out their vision for the UK’s future and compete for our votes. Inevitably, there will be a huge focus on Brexit, but this election is ultimately about deciding what kind of society we want to live.
Every minority community that faces a daily struggle against discrimination must stay united.
The past few years have been one of the most polarised periods in our history – and that division has meant minority communities like ours are under serious threat. Some seek to divide us to build support for their own agenda. We need to resist that division. It threatens the progress we’ve made towards acceptance and equality. Every minority community that faces a daily struggle against discrimination must stay united. We are stronger together, and we will continue to create positive change by finding common ground with each other to build a better world.
The decisions made in Westminster have a huge impact on the everyday lives of LGBT+ people. Just think about how changes over the past 30 years to legislation like equal marriage, employment rights, parenting rights, gender recognition and an equal age of consent have pushed forward equality for our community. We’ve come a long way and that’s in part because lesbian, gay, bi and trans people made sure their voices were heard in the voting booth.
Many LGBT people are not treated equally in the UK.
But our work is far from over. Many LGBT people are not treated equally in the UK. Stonewall research shows that one in five LGBT people (21 per cent) have experienced a hate crime in the last year, while nearly two in five bi people (38 per cent) aren’t out to anyone at work. At the same time, one in eight trans employees (12 per cent) have been physically attacked at work, while over half of BAME LGBT students (51 per cent) hid that they are LGBT at university because they were afraid of discrimination.
The government’s LGBT Action Plan published last year showed a serious commitment to tackling the widespread inequality that still exists. This is essential work that needs to be continued and built on by whoever forms the next government in order to make real change in the lives of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.
Divisive debates about LGBT-inclusive education and trans equality online and in the streets threaten the progress we’ve made. Our hard-won rights cannot be undermined.
Stonewall is asking all parties and candidates to demonstrate how they will repair the division in our communities.
That’s why this general election, Stonewall is asking all parties and candidates to demonstrate how they will repair the division in our communities, and show their support and commitment to LGBT equality. We want candidates from across all political parties to sign up to the commitments in our manifesto. In an era of increasingly polarised opinions, we need politicians who will stand against scapegoating and unite people from all walks of life. LGBT people exist in every community and we must not forget that.
At the last election, we saw a record 45 lesbian, gay and bi candidates elected. Parliament should reflect the society it represents, which is why it’s troubling there are still no openly trans MPs and the number of openly bi MPs is also small. Representation of LGBT people in positions of power is extremely important, so it’s crucial we create a political environment that enables individuals from every community to seek public office.
It’s vital that every LGBT person and every ally of LGBT equality uses their power and ‘comes out’ voting for LGBT equality.
But this election isn’t just about the candidates. This is about everyday people like you and me. Our voices and our votes matter. It’s vital that every LGBT person and every ally of LGBT equality uses their power and ‘comes out’ voting for LGBT equality and more united communities where we work together rather than against each other.
In order to vote in the general election on 12 December 2019, you must be registered to vote. It’s easy to register online, but you must register by 26 November 2019 to take part in this election. And then make sure you use that vote on election day.
If you are away on election day you can organise a postal vote or arrange for someone else to vote on your behalf (a proxy vote). You have to complete a form, and send to your local electoral registration office by 5 December 2019 to arrange a postal or proxy vote for this election.
The fight for equality of all LGBT people is at its strongest when it is adopted by every community, every workplace, every place of worship and every school. So, whether you’re a first-time voter or you’re a seasoned campaigner, let’s all encourage candidates at this election to come out for LGBT equality.