Monday, April 12, 2010

Cameron says he will try to celebrate LGBT History Month

Answering questions put to him by readers of Pink News, Tory Leader David Cameron said he supports LGBT History Month and will try to celebrate it if elected to form a Tory Government. Asked if he would hold a reception to celebrate LGBT History Month in Downing Street, as Gordon Brown has for the past two years, David Cameron said, “I really don't think I can start putting things in the diary yet – we've got to win this General Election first and that's a massive task. But whether or not the Conservatives get elected, I would of course be delighted to mark LGBT History Month in some way”.

Answering other questions, Cameron said he would adopt a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to homophobic bullying and that he understood Michael Gove wanted to introduce training for teachers on how to tackle it.

Crucially for many teachers and others exempt from the Criminal Justice Act, Cameron said he would ensure that people convicted of consensual sexual acts that would have been legal after the age of consent was equalised in 2000, would have their convictions quashed. Nick Clegg has made the same commitment.

He expressed concerns over the postcode lottery for gender reassignment and said ‘if’ it existed he would get Andrew Lansley to ‘look at it’.

Cameron also said he would make it harder for homophobic bullies who were excluded from school to return and that his allies in Europe were not homophobic, although he accepted that some were ‘socially conservative’.

Finally, he announced that if elected, his party will erase the historic convictions of all those found guilty of consensual gay sex.

LGBT rights campaigner and Green supporter Peter Tatchell has challenged David Cameron on his responses to questions written by PinkNews readers. In a Pink News article on Saturday, he said that Cameron's commitment to a zero-tolerance policy contained little that was specific and that he had not fully answered the question of a postcode lottery for people with gender dysphoria. On Sunday, Tatchell took part in a 50-minute meeting with Tory frontbenchers George Osborne, Theresa May and Nick Herbert, which he seemed to consider disappointing.

You can read the full set of questions and answers on the PinkNews website here.

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