Outraged Members Resign From LGBTQ+ Advisory Panel
April 14, 2021
There has been outrage in the LGBTQ+ community after the UK government failed to replace panelists and reinstate the advisory committee of 11 members. Set up by Theresa May’s government, the term of all LGBTQ+ advisory panel members was set to cease on March 31st, 2021.
Appointed by the women and equalities minister Liz Truss, the LGBTQ+ advisory panel is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the National LGBT Action Plan. Additionally, it serves as an advocate for the community and liaises with relevant constituencies for the strategic management of campaigns.
In the month before the LGBTQ+ advisory panel disassembled, three committee members resigned, giving different reasons for their decisions:
Jayne Ozanne first to resign from the LGBTQ+ advisory panel
Rights campaigner Jayne Ozanne left the panel first, during March 2021. Ozanne voiced her concerns, reporting that the government’s working conditions were hostile for LGBTQ+ individuals like herself. However, she attributed her resignation to delays in the ban of conversion therapies.
Conversion therapy encompasses an array of barbaric practices: from intense prayer to ‘conversion rape’. These cruel rituals are often performed on children and adults without their consent or even knowledge. Unfortunately, this remains lawful in the UK, despite being first discussed back in 2018. The legal ban of conversion therapies and the introduction of harsh penalties have made disappointing progress and seen significant resistance.
With these restrictions in place, the aim would be to protect the vulnerable from abusive conversion practices and re-educate the public. As awareness increases, victims would be more able to recognise and report incidents of conversion therapy. Ideally, victims would also have access to support throughout their experience.
James Morton followed, leaving the advisory panel
Great British Bake Off icon, James Morton, followed her off the panel. Morton expressed disdain towards Liz Truss and other management figures. He accused them of a lack of commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. He also agreed with Jayne Ozanne regarding the hostile working conditions he had experienced before leaving the government.
If heteronormative values continue to define British politics in this toxic and oppressive way, progression will be stalled. Namely, younger generations will likely suffer. Even with a drastic change in how it treats its LGBTQ+ employees, the UK government will have to work hard to gain back the trust of the community. When they finally nail this and attitudes at every level of employment begin to evolve, LGBTQ+ individuals will no longer suffer from “hostile” working conditions within their own government.
Ellen Murray quits last, enraged
Within 30 days of the initial resignation of Jayne Ozanne, trans rights consultant Ellen Murray stepped away from the committee. Murray tweeted her fury towards trans healthcare issues and the treatment of LGBT refugees. She stated that the government had acted in ‘appalling faith’. She also tweeted her official letter of resignation, whereby she advised Secretary of State Liz Truss ‘take the panel seriously’.
Had Ellen’s issues been actioned before the panel’s disassembly, the LGBT community could look very different today. Murray envisions a world where the LGBTQ+ community is a group unoppressed by society and the system.
To sum up
Jayne Ozanne, James Morton, and Ellen Murray all resigned from the LGBTQ+ advisory panel within 30 days of one another. This unfortunate setback in the LGBTQ+ community will leave mistrust and disappointment.
The UK government need to work harder to support this group through legislation and awareness. We are lightyears behind where we should be with this issue; let’s catch up.
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