I want to end the year with a massive thank you to all of you for enabling us to achieve so much during 2018.
Now is such a critical time for Stonewall, as we continue to fight for all aspects of LGBT inclusion. Reflecting on the year now coming to an end, 2018 has been a difficult year, particularly for trans people. They have faced a barrage of negative coverage, and we at Stonewall have made no bones about using our voice and our platform to directly confront it. But the struggle for lesbian, gay and bi equality hasn’t let up either.
We stand up for people.
We stand up for the respect and acceptance of L, plus G, plus B, plus T, plus, plus, plus: we stand up for people. For just as we jointly suffer from hate, discrimination and ignorance from certain quarters of society, we are united by, and stand together, to insist on equality for everyone.
One thing is true. We do draw a line with regard to questioning whether trans people deserve the same level of equality as any other group. This aspect of the current media frenzy is not up for debate.
We also believe that giving greater equality and respect to trans people will not negatively impact the rights of women or any other group.
We know that acceptance and respect for all LGBT+ people is not achieved through false ‘debates’ on social media.
We know that the acceptance and respect we seek for all LGBT+ people is not achieved through false ‘debates’ on social media. It is done by hard work on the ground, day after day, in our schools, communities and workplaces.
Here are a few examples of what our brilliant staff and volunteers have been up to:
- For the first time we attended 30 Prides, reaching some communities for the first time.
- Our hardworking Information Service dealt with over 5,550 calls and emails.
- We now have over 1,500 Stonewall School Champions and trained 2,300 teachers, all of whom are now working to make schools safe and inclusive spaces for LGBT pupils. Importantly, 458 of these are schools with faith values.
- We launched a new international programme to work with 29 organisations in 25 countries to specifically address human rights violations faced by lesbians, bi women and trans people over the next two years.
- We successfully lobbied the Government to make Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education, compulsory in all of England’s schools and LGBT inclusive.
- As part of our international ‘Access to Justice’ programme, we trained 118 police, prosecutors and policy-makers in Europe on hate crime and LGBT equality and diversity.
- No less than 25 leading global organisations, employing 1.3 million people across the world, demonstrated their commitment to improving workplace equality by entering our Global Workplace Equality Index.
- We successfully lobbied the Government to reduce the period that gay and bi men need to have had no sexual activity before donating blood from 12 months to 3 months.
- Following our extensive lobbying, the UK Government launched a consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act (2004) which received record coverage and a huge response from our supporters.
It’s important, as we move into 2019 and the challenges that will bring, that we celebrate these (and many more) achievements. But we still have so much left we need to achieve. An example that hit home for me is that our recent report on hate crime and discrimination showed that three in five gay men say they aren’t comfortable walking down the street while holding their partner's hand.
I say, let’s go into 2019 tightly holding hands, proudly and together. We need to, because there is still so much to do, and so many people relying on us to succeed.