Responding to the news of the cancellation of the Safe to be me conference and the associated meeting of the Global Equality Caucus of LGBT parliamentarians and the Prime Minister’s statements around the proposed ban on Conversion Practices Crispin Blunt MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Global LGBT+ Rights issued the following statement:
"It is of course disappointing that our Prime Minister has yet to fully appreciate the sensitivities and complexities around gender identity as well as sexuality. We hope the further work he has commissioned will address this. Much of it has already been done not least around conversion therapy and the consultation two years ago on reform of the Gender Recognition Act. His judgement and that of many of his Parliamentary colleagues is also being clouded by those who have an agenda to push and those who have been captured by its seeming simplicities, even in the absence of much sustained evidence of harm from an inclusive and affirming approach around personal gender identity.
We, as part of the wider mainstream LGBT lobby, should not forget that we’ve had a long time to think the issues through. Those of us from a minority sexuality do so usually from a position of instinctive sympathy for those wrestling with their gender identity. Even among our number are a few who see the debate over gender as a threat to our sexuality identity and use a chromosomal based understanding of biology to differentiate sexuality from gender identity issues. The science around sexual orientation and gender identity are equally complex.
What should unite us is an appreciation that these feelings are real, of central importance to most of us, and as individual humans we deserve the right to be ourselves in any free society worthy of the name.
How we are treated, whether criminalised, or tolerated, or appreciated and celebrated for the difference we inevitably provide by the societies in which we happen to live, has rightly become a key marker for how different human societies are judged. Alongside other personal characteristics about which we can do nothing, including ethnicity, gender, disability and age this question is of central importance in assessing just how tolerant and free our societies actually are.
There is no immutable law that we will progress from criminalisation to celebration of our difference by our societies. We have no choice but to work to sustain our personal freedoms, to continue to make the case that these freedoms are good for all, economically and socially, in our societies and help those who languish under discrimination and criminalisation win their freedom to the benefit of all.
That is why I regret the cancellation of this conference that could have advanced the wider case for acceptance and tolerance of all LGBT+ people around the world. The economic and business case for inclusion is an important part of this wider agenda. I’m certain all colleagues who support the work of this Group will continue to make the global case for inclusion as well as resolve this British discussion on the basis of evidence, and with kindness towards each other, as we widen our understanding."