Theresa May's LGBT Action Plan is not enough to tackle hate crime, says Dawn Butler MP

Theresa May's LGBT Action Plan is not enough to tackle hate crime, says Dawn Butler MP

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Theresa May has announced a plan to improve the lives of LGBT people after large-scale survey.

Last year, 100,000 LGBT people in the UK were surveyed in the largest study of its kind, and the results are soon to be announced.

Labour MP Dawn Butler, the Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said that “making announcements” was not enough, and that the PM should hold a consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) and make hate crimes against LGBT people an aggravated offense.

“The LGBT+ community has seen an increase in hate crime,” she said. “The way to stop that is to be up front, tackle it and deal with it, rather than making announcements.”

She added: “We need to start the consultation on the Gender Recognition Act and make sure it’s in line with the rights of trans people to self-declare [their gender].

“Attacks on the LGBT community should be made an aggravated offense in sentencing so you get a stiffer penalty if you attack someone who’s LGBT+.”

Listen to Butler's conversation with Julia Hartley-Brewer above

The Prime Minister wrote a letter to Gay Times magazine outlining her intention to publish an LGBT Action Plan this summer.

“It will set out concrete steps the Government will take to improve lives for LGBT people in this country and address some of the injustices the community has faced,” May wrote.

“We’ve also engaged with experts to understand better the limitations of the current system of gender recognition and will soon publish a public consultation on how we best reform the process.”

One of the most debated issues in the advancement of LGBT rights is the GRA.

At present, transgender people must have medical assessments in order to have their gender legally recognised, but the proposed reforms would mean they can self-identify without the medical and psychiatric involvement.

There has not yet been a formal consultation on the Act, but May has repeatedly promised one since last year.

Critics of the proposed reforms say they could be abused by men to gain access to facilities intended for women.

In the letter, May hinted that there would be a part of the Action Plan dedicated to transgender rights, writing: ““Trans people still face indignities and prejudice when they deserve understanding and respect. There’s lots to do – but the UK can be proud that we are a world leader in advancing LGBT rights.”