Tag Archives: UK Government

The UK’s School LGBT Bullying Projects Axed by Government

The UK’s government-backed projects tackling bullying of LGBT students in England’s schools has had its funding pulled.

The decision came despite an earlier pledge to continue investing in school programmes targeting homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

The Government Equalities Office had funded several well-received programmes costing at least £4m, which specifically targeted LGBT bullying, since 2014. Many had been extended and given further government support.

Initially called The Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Challenge Fund, the government programme was not compulsory for schools, but it allowed teachers, staff and students to receive free training and workshops.

Providers of workshops, as well as parents, students and teachers, had been expecting the funding to continue.

The government acknowledges the serious impact anti-LGBT bullying can have on educational attainment, absence levels, emotional wellbeing and mental health.

But they say the funding was always due to come to an end.

The Government Equalities Office said: “The anti-bullying grant fund, which provided 2,250 schools across the country with materials and training, was always due to end in March 2020.”

However, this is the first time that the funding has not been extended since it was originally announced in October 2014 by the then Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan.

There was shock among providers of workshops, as well as parents, students and teachers who had expecting the funding to continue.

One provider of LGBT inclusion workshops, who wanted to remain anonymous as they feared that speaking out would jeopardise any future possible funding, said schools and programme providers had been expecting a further extension.

Her organisation was waiting for another funding announcement at the beginning of November, inviting new applications for grants.

She said she felt “sick” that schools would not be able to continue their work, and claimed her organisation had been “ignored” and “shut out” by the government, even though its programmes were well-received.

“This decision will only serve to further marginalise LGBT young people,” said Tulip Siddiq MP, shadow minister for children and early years.

“The government itself has admitted that young people who identify as LGBT have higher risk of bullying and long-term harm to their education, health and wellbeing, so to be pulling away financial support from those fighting this abuse is especially callous.”

The equalities charity Stonewall noted that the news had emerged during anti-bullying week, and a day after the anniversary of the repeal of section 28, a notorious clause in the Local Government Act 1988 that banned local authorities from “promoting homosexuality”.

Nancy Kelley, the chief executive of Stonewall, said that young LGBTQ+ people still face significant problems in England’s schools and the organisation’s 2017 School Report had revealed that nearly half of LGBTQ+ pupils (45%) were still bullied for being themselves.

“We know LGBT people are disproportionately affected by poor mental health, and some of this is because of the way they were treated at school,” she added. “This is why it’s crucial this government invests money in funding anti-LGBT bullying programmes across England. We can’t leave students to suffer in silence.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Bullying is never acceptable in any form, and we must all take a stand against bullying to create a safe place for all children in the classroom and online.

“Our new relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) guidance and training resources will give schools the confidence to construct a curriculum that reflects diversity of views and backgrounds, whilst fostering respect for others and the understanding of healthy relationships.”

Nevertheless, the release of messages to mark anti-bullying week and a video in which the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, spoke about the issue were met with criticism by others who took issue with the ending of the LGBTQ+ funding.

The Conservative party’s 2019 manifesto for government included a pledge to continue to help teachers tackle bullying, including homophobic bullying. Civil servants were evaluating the grant fund programme “to increase our evidence base on what works in schools,” according to the Government Equalities Office.

Metro, a charity that delivered training in schools and colleges under the fund, tweeted that its work to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying funded was “hugely impactful” but added that continued funding was needed.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Vanessa Redgrave and Indira Varma Among Stars Urging UK Government Not to Repeal Human Rights Act

Benedict Cumberbatch, Vanessa Redgrave, and Games of Thrones Indira Varma are among a number of stars that have recorded videos celebrating the Human Rights Act, which is under threat by the UK’s government.

During the State Opening of Parliament, the Queen confirmed “proposals” for a British Bill of Rights, which is expected to replace the law. The UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron has pledged to “once and for all” repeal the Human Rights Act, and 


Prime Minister David Cameron claimed it is necessary in order to “break the formal link between British Courts and the European Court of Human Rights.”

But campaigners such as head of human rights organisation Liberty Shami Chakrabarti have condemned the decision, saying:

Government plans to scrap the Act play populist games with hard-won freedoms and undermine the United Kingdom at home and abroad.”

Article 14 of the Human Rights Act, which affords protection from discrimination, has been used in many legal cases to argue for protection for LGBT people.

Vanessa Redgrave, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Harewood, Simon Callow and Indira Varma voice the stories of ordinary people who have successfully held the powerful to account through human rights laws.

Chakrabarti said:

These films tell just a few of the stories of our Human Rights Act giving a voice to some of the most vulnerable people‎ in our country.

Soldiers, journalists, victims of rape, domestic violence and slavery all found justice thanks to Churchill’s Legacy. Government plans to scrap the Act play populist games with hard-won freedoms and undermine the United Kingdom at home and abroad.”


Time To Make An Amends – UK Government Urged To Pardon 49,000 Men & Women Persecuted Under Anti-Gay Laws

The UK Government is being urged to pardon 49,000 men and women who were persecuted under Anti-Gay Laws.


The action comes in response to the film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and the publics newfound awareness of gay World War II codebreaker Alan Turing who was convicted of “gross indecency” for being gay.

LGBT activists are now calling on the British government to pardon the tens of thousands of other British citizens who were persecuted under draconian anti-gay laws of the past.

In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II pardoned Turing, who committed suicide after being convicted.

Following a screening of The Imitation Game in London, actor Stephen Fry said the pardon was only the start of what should be done to honor Turing.

“Should Alan Turing have been pardoned just because he was a genius, when somewhere between 50 to 70 thousand other men were imprisoned, chemically castrated, had their lives ruined or indeed committed suicide because of the laws under which Turing suffered?

There is a general feeling that perhaps if he should be pardoned, then perhaps so should all of those men, whose names were ruined in their lifetime, but who still have families. It was a nasty, malicious and horrific law and one that allowed so much blackmail and so much misery and so much distress.

Turing stands as a figure symbolic to his own age in the way that Oscar Wilde was, who suffered under a more but similar one.”

Stephen Fry

HRC president Chad Griffin ran an ad in Friday’s New York Times on the campaign to pardon the other 49,000 persecuted gay men and women. There’s also a Change.org petition underway for the campaign HERE.

UK PM David Cameron Says Marriage Equality Is One of His Biggest Achievements

The most talked about topic in recent years regarding LGBT rights is marriage equality. While many have criticised the way that marriage equality has been pushed to the forefront, saying that there are more pressing concerns such as homeless LGBT youth and LGBT mental health, few can disagree that same-sex marriage is still incredibly important.

Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which were decided by the United Nations General Assembly in the 1940s) ‘the right to marry’ has been deemed a human right. So the fact that so many countries deny their citizens to get married if they are a same-sex couple is very much a violation.

It was good news then, that after increasing calls for marriage equality the UK brought it into law in 2014, giving same-sex couples the right to marry and the ability to call one another husband or wife and have the legal forms to prove it. And now, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has called marriage equality one is his greatest achievements.

At a Q&A in Wirral, Cameron told attendees that:

“I did get a lot of letters from men who said, because of the changes you made, I have been able to marry the person I love. That was great. Lots of people have invited me [to their weddings] and sent me lovely letters saying if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to marry the person I love. But I haven’t been to [a same-sex marriage] yet. I’m sure I will soon.”

David Cameron

Cameron’s support comes even as supporters of his political party (the Conservative Party) have voiced opposition to his stance, saying that his focus on marriage equality has dramatically hurt their chances of succeeding in the UK’s general election which is set to take place in May.

One group called the Grassroots Conservatives recently issued a letter saying that Cameron’s “drive to ram” marriage equality legislation through Parliament was “bizarre”. GC Chairman Bob Wollard also added that it will result in them “handing the keys over” to UKIP (UK Independent Party) a far-right political party which regularly makes headlines for its racist, homophobic and transphobic views.

The fact that David Cameron continues to be vocal about his support of marriage equality, in the face of this is positive at least. Hearing that the UK’s leading politician is in favour of your rights is never a bad thing.

UK Government Announces Conversion of Civil Partnerships Into Marriages Before Christmas

Couples in a civil partnership will have the option to convert it into a marriage before Christmas once regulations laid before Parliament today (15 October 2014) are approved.

This landmark change means couples in existing civil partnerships will be able to convert them into a marriage from 10 December this year.

Campaigners have called for a simple conversion into a marriage in a local register office, or couples can have a ceremony at an approved venue of their choice, including religious premises registered for marriages of same-sex couples.

Couples will be issued with a marriage certificate, which will show the marriage should be treated as existing from the date of the original civil partnership.

“I know how important it is for couples to have the option of marriage available to them. This is the final stage in ensuring every couple has the option to be married.”

Nick Boles, Minister for Skills and Equalities

This puts couples in control. They have the choice of whether they would like a simple conversion or would prefer to celebrate the occasion with a ceremony.

In July the government laid draft regulations before Parliament based on responses to a public consultation which called for a simple process for conversion. The regulations have now been revised, taking into account views expressed over the summer.

The revised regulations – once approved by Parliament – give couples greater choice and still provide the religious protections, for any ceremony following a conversion into marriage, which are enshrined in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.

For the first year, all couples who formed their civil partnership before 29 March 2014 (when marriage was extended to same sex couples) will be able to receive a £45 fee reduction. This means there would be no cost for the 1-stage option.

Further information

Couples will have the choice of:

  • a simple process at a register office, which was outlined in the original regulations and now also includes a wider range of local authority offices where registrars have access to the necessary systems
  • the new option of a 2-stage process where a superintendent registrar or their deputy can complete the conversion at another venue – this will allow the couple’s family and friends to attend and a ceremony can follow immediately after

How Many Lesbians Do You Know?

Its a FACT, the average person in the UK personally knows more gay men than lesbian women – a YouGov polling has reported.

Asking just two thousand participants from across the UK, the government poll revealed the average British person knows 5.5 gay men and 3.1 lesbian women, either as friends or acquaintances.

An as if the stats couldn’t get any better – the average man knows 6 gay men and 2.7 lesbians, while the average woman knows 5 gay men and 3.4 lesbians, according to the data.

This informative information was gathered by government body YouGov in a survey aiming to find a reasonable number for how many gays and lesbians there are in the UK.

Unsurprisingly, people who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual are extremely likely to know many more, with the average gay person knowing 21.6 gay men, and 10.3 lesbians.

The survey also shows a geographical difference in the numbers of gays and lesbians the average person knows in the UK.

Londoners know a higher number of gay men than anywhere else in the UK, with the average spiked to 12.1, with the average person knowing 8.5 gay men and 3.6 lesbians.

Across the UK, the average person knows 4.8 to 5.5 gay men, whereas they know significantly less lesbian women, with the averages ranging from 2.5 to 3.6 lesbian women known to the average heterosexual Brit.

The government now estimates there are 3.6 million British people who identify as gay or lesbian.

UK Government Announces That Civil Partnerships WILL Convert to Marriages from 10 December

The Government has yesterday announced that couples currently in civil partnerships will be able to convert to marriage from 10 December 2014.

‘For me, freedom has always been about the right to be who you are and love who you love.  That’s why I was proud to walk through the “aye” lobby at the House of Commons in support of equal marriage. And that’s why I’m pleased to announce that, from 10 December, couples in England and Wales who have entered a Civil Partnership over the past decade will be free to convert it into a marriage.’

Minister for Equalities Sajid Javid

The announcement comes after Stonewall called for the Government to give couples a date so they can begin to plan their celebrations with their family and friends.

Commenting on the announcement Stonewall’s Director of Campaigns, Sam Dick said:

‘We’re pleased that the government has finally named the date allowing those in civil partnerships to convert to marriage. We know that thousands of couples will now be able to plan celebrations with their friends and family. We hope that the process being set out by the government is straight forward, inexpensive and allows those couples to finally get the marriage certificate they’ve waited patiently for.’

Sam Dick, Stonewall’s Director of Campaigns

This announcement comes only days away from London Pride, and as thousands of people look descend on capital for the annual Pride parade. This year the organisers are asking everyone to share what Pride means to them under the banner of #FreedomTo.