Ben HowlettChair, LGBT+ Commission
The Covid-19 pandemic is still negatively impacting the LGBT+ community months after the lockdown eased. Evidence gathered from charity groups across the country has shown a desperate need for a co-ordinated effort to help reduce widening inequalities.
In 2021, the LGBT+ Commission was formed as the first of its kind to appraise the current state of policy impacting LGBT+ people and set out a series of recommendations to make impactful change within the pre-existing policy landscape. The report, case studies and findings will be submitted to the Government Equalities Office, Ministers and Shadow Teams.
There is no avoiding the high-profile disagreements on LGBT+ policy this year, from the u-turn on the inclusion of transgender people within the conversion therapy bill to the cancellation of Safe to Be Me. However, the Commission has tried to focus on areas of policy that have been all too often overlooked. These are areas where consensus often already exists and where impactful change can be best progressed.
This year, the Commission is focussing on four key policy areas:
- Healthcare, mental health, sexual health and fertility
- Housing and homelessness
- Hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence
- Employment, employability and skills
There is no shortage of noise in the LGBT+ policy space, a daily read of a newspaper will see hateful comments targeted towards LGBT+ people – particularly trans people. The Commission is designed to provide detail and evidence for all decision makers to use, no matter their political or ideological position.
Over the last six months, the LGBT+ Commission has held inquiry sessions, bringing together leaders in civil society, local, regional and national government and business to discuss the key issues facing the LGBT+ community. It is these inquiry sessions that form the basis of this interim report, which you can read here.
LGBT+ Collaboration is key
The heart of the LGBT+ Commission is collaborative. It is based on a determination to bring all levels of government together with civil society and employers to help produce a co-ordinated and sophisticated implementation plan to help deliver policies affecting LGBT+ people as effectively as possible.
Each area appraises the current policy landscape and, following the scrapping of the Government’s LGBT Action Plan, the Commission will set out an implementation plan to ensure that policies are delivered in the most effective way in November 2022.
So far, the LGBT+ Commission has held inquiry sessions across all these themes to hear from sector experts on where the issues lie, but more importantly, some innovative suggestions for solutions. Through these inquiry sessions with parliamentarians, local/regional government, civil society and employers, the Commission has heard a consistent message. There is a fundamental lack of usable data to make effective policy decisions – particularly for the trans and non-binary community.
At times, some of the points raised in the inquiry have been shocking. However, to brush these issues under the carpet means that we are unable to fix the problem. Through joined-up thinking, there is an opportunity to provide solutions to the problems.
First of its kind poll
That is why we need your help. The LGBT+ Commission is looking to commission a survey to generate robust, comparative data to inform its recommendations and help policymakers deliver for the LGBT+ community. The Commission is looking for partners to help bring this survey to life, and if you would be interested in doing so, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org and our research team will be in contact to discuss this in more detail.
The results of this survey will be published in the coming months.
We already have plans to continue this work into 2023 and appraise progress based on the Commission’s recommendations.
I would like to thank all those who have been willing to give up so much time this year. Particular thanks go to Hal Arnold-Forster and Dolly Theis who have been working with organisations to gather research, case studies and evidence to help produce this interim report and prepare for the final paper later this year. Additional thanks go to our brilliant inquiry session chairs, Emma Best, Alison Lowe, Steve Wardlaw and Sean Anstee. In addition, a huge thanks to Dominic Arnall and all members of the civil society community for their continued engagement.
I look forward to welcoming you to future Commission inquiry sessions and the November launch.