In July, we will celebrate 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 was passed, decriminalising homosexual acts in England and Wales after centuries of persecution.
We have come a long way in 50 years. We have moved from a country where love between two people of the same sex was illegal, to one where we now have equal marriage. Along the way we have changed the law – from equalising the age of consent to providing protection from discrimination in employment and services. Modern Britain now has Pride marches in every major city, and our Armed Forces are seen as some of the most LGBT friendly in the world.
I am proud of the UK’s record on LGBT equality and our strong legislative framework that protects people. But there is more to be done. There are unacceptable levels of hate crime, and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying still exists in our schools. More can also be done for the transgender community.
That is why I am committed to tackling hate crime, health inequalities and bullying. From investing over £2.8 million in projects to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools to offering pardons for historic sexual offences, we will continue to tackle inequality and correct historic wrongs.
As part of this, LGBT History Month plays an important role, not only in celebrating the lives of LGBT people, but also reminding us of the tasks ahead. I wish it every success for 2017.