Local MPs Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth) and Chris Elmore (Labour MP for Ogmore and Vale of Glamorgan Councillor for Labour Castleland Ward, Barry) have both been speaking in a House of Commons debate on Transgender Equality.
Doughty asked Maria Miller (chair of the Commons Equality Committee) whether she would join him praising the work of South Wales Police and the British Army their work with “trans communities and the wider LGBT [ Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender] community?”
Miller said that some institutions coped better than others: “I particularly have been impressed by the way in which the Ministry of Justice has accepted the challenge around trans prisoners. I note the comments the hon. Gentleman makes about the police as well, and I hope other police authorities are able to follow suit.”
In his speech Chris Elmore – who is an opposition whip – praised “great initiatives by public bodies and institutions“.
He went on to say “I was proud to march at Pride Cymru this year and saw South Wales Police – my honourable friend Stephen Doughty mentioned this – marching with special shoulder patches to demonstrate their support for the LGBT+ community. Similarly, the British Army recently won the PinkNews public sector equality award for its work supporting LGBT personnel, including those who identify as transgender.”
Doughty reponded by saying “My honourable friend is making a very strong speech. He, like me, is wearing a World AIDS Day ribbon. On the global context for trans people, is he aware of the challenges for trans people who have HIV? Men who have sex with men are 19 times more likely than others to have HIV, but trans women are 49 times more likely to have HIV. Special attention needs to be paid to the provision of HIV services globally for the trans community.”
Later Elmore drew attention to the issues of LGBT children in school . He said “Addressing the difficulties that transgender people face in school often focuses on physical accommodation. Efforts may be made to provide gender-neutral facilities but, although that is incredibly important, there is often not enough focus on why transgender people fall behind academically. A number of local authorities now produce guidance for head teachers, but equally important are the NGOs and charities that deliver awareness training for school staff. In and around Bridgend county, which includes my constituency, the group A Brighter Future Altogether” Benefiting Bridgend provides crucial workshops to ensure that schools are better prepared to help transgender pupils to excel.”
“…….We owe it to the transgender people in each of our constituencies to come together to take concerted action to help to deliver equality for everyone, and we must start by recognising the scale of the problem.”
“…. I sincerely hope that today’s debate will help to raise awareness of the issue and mark the start of a journey to make the UK inclusive for everybody”.