Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trevor Phillips supports LGBT History Month

Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, gives his support for LGBT History Month 2008.

The newly formed commission's remit is to "champion equality and human rights for all, working to eliminate discrimination, reduce inequality, protect human rights and to build good relations, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to participate in society". It brings together and replaces the Disability Rights Commission, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality, extending its areas of competence to all six strands of diversity: race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, age and faith and belief.

I'd like to congratulate all those who have worked so hard to make LGBT History Month happen.

When we celebrate and learn about history, it is important to include everybody. No one in Britain should feel excluded from our national story.

A recent Stonewall report showed that two thirds of lesbian and gay secondary school children face bullying. 97% of these young people reported regularly hearing words of homophobic abuse. This must stop; but the sad truth is it does not end at school. Many go on to suffer the stress and torment of such unfair treatment in their adult lives.

The question is, how do we end it? In my view, the law has a part to play, but in equal measure so does education and awareness. Social attitudes, have, for the most part begun to change, but this is not a signal to stop working for full equality. LGBT History month is an excellent way to get people of all ages and backgrounds to start thinking about these issues.

All too often certain groups and communities have been written out of the pages of history. LGBT History month will do so much to redress this imbalance, and I am certain it will be a great success.

Thank you

Trevor Phillips
Equality and Human Rights Commission

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