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London Mayor Pledges to Make City Most Gay-Friendly in the World

Livingstone

London Mayor Ken Livingstone (above), Boris Johnson (below), and other mayoral candidates appeared over the weekend at an event organized by UK group Stonewall at which they campaigned and addressed concerns of gay voters. Livingstone made a splash by unveiling an LGBT Manifesto, designed, he said, to make London the most gay-friendly city in the world.

JohnsonSaid Livingstone: "As Mayor, and throughout my political career, I have promoted rights for lesbians and gay men. If re-elected in May I will work to ensure that London retains its reputation as a welcoming and safe place for lesbian and gay Londoners and visitors. London is undoubtedly one of the great lesbian and gay capitals of the world and I want London to continue to celebrate lesbian and gay culture in all its aspects. For many, London is a city that allows people personal freedom to express culture and live their lives in peace and as they choose. People come here to be free. I made one of my first political acts as Mayor the creation of the London Partnerships Register - to assert that lesbian and gay people should be fully recognised by the state. I have been delighted by how many same-sex couples have used the register and the role the register has played in convincing the Government to introduce the Civil Partnerships Act. I am determined to continue to use the full extent of my powers as Mayor to oppose homophobia and deliver for lesbian and gay equality."

At the event, Livingstone called on Johnson to apologize for insulting gays and lesbians. Johnson has said, among other things, "If gay marriage was OK - and I was uncertain on the issue - then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men; or indeed three men and a dog."

Johnson refused to apologize, but said "I am in favour of liberty." He added, on the topic of anti-gay discrimination, "When I look at London buses, I don't see lesbian buses or gay buses, or black or white buses - I just see buses."

Read the main pledges of Livingstone's manifesto, AFTER THE JUMP...

from Ken Livingstone's LGBT Manifesto:

• Using the full extent of my powers as Mayor to continue to promote and deliver lesbian and gay equality – in all areas of life: at work, in access to services, in social and public life, and in the law.

• Using my powers as Mayor to lobby for the law to fully protect against discrimination: I will work with central government with the aim of ensuring that the Single Equality Act will fully protect all lesbian and gay people at work and that service provision is equal and appropriate. I am arguing for the law to be more
proactive and to be monitored and enforced.

• Working with schools, boroughs and others to stamp out homophobic bullying in schools: I will work with boroughs and community organisations to take forward anti-bullying policies and aim to ensure that teachers are aware of and combat homophobic bullying. The legacy of Section 28 – introduced and maintained by previous Conservative governments – lingers on. I am determined to build on the work I have already undertaken to ensure all young people are equally respected at school. I will continue to promote LGBT History Month across London, including in schools.

• Driving forward equality in service provision to London’s LGBT communities: I will work with public authorities across London with the aim of ensuring that services are always provided in a way that fully upholds and extends to the limit of the law rights under anti-discrimination legislation. I will aim to build up a comprehensive picture of service provision, with the aim of ensuring that all London’s LGBT communities, in their full diversity, are getting the health, social services, housing, education, training and other services they need.

• Dealing with HIV and AIDS: I will continue to lobby for HIV prevention measures, treatment and support service funding tailored to meet the specific needs of London’s LGBT communities.


• Working with employers and equality organisations to stamp out homophobia in the workplace: many people still feel unable to be ‘out’ at work due to fears of discrimination. I will promote best practice to all employers in London to encourage greater equality, as well as working to improve rights in law.

• Continuing to support and resource Pride as a central London free event
for all: Pride’s celebration of equality should be seen and embraced by the widest
number of people possible, and remain at the heart of the city where it belongs.
I want to see Pride built into a major world class event to rival other great Pride
celebrations across the world.

• Working with LGBT community projects: I will continue to work with LGBT
community organisations, campaigns and consult communities and organisations
on my policies and strategies.

• Bidding for the Gay Games to come to London: Building on the success of
winning the 2012 Olympics to be in London, I will support the bid for the Gay
Games to come to London in 2014 and use the Games to raise the profile against
homophobia in sport, in schools and to help make all sports and leisure facilities
LGBT friendly. This year the International Lesbian and Gay Football Association
World Championships and the Union and Bingham Cups will be in London.

• Delivering support for London’s lesbian and gay culture: Cultural events
like the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival are very successful and important for the
entire city and I am delighted to have been able to work with the festival and
look forward to doing so in future. In 2009 the international lesbian and the gay
choral festival Various Voices will be in London and I will be delighted to welcome
and promote it.

• Support the development of the LGBT Museum: I look forward to continued
work with Proud Heritage as plans for the LGBT Museum continue to develop.
I also would continue to encourage ongoing work by London’s existing cultural
institutions to engage with and integrate LGBT history into their everyday work.

• Supporting equality in housing: I will use my housing powers to aim to ensure
gay Londoners get a fair share of affordable housing and lifetime homes.

• Young people: I will make sure that young lesbian and gay Londoners are
included in all consultations and covered in provisions of my policies and strategies
for young people and youth provision.

• Continuing to work with London trans communities and back trans
people’s rights to equal treatment: I have supported the extension of
legislation to protect against discrimination in the exercise of public functions. In
my submissions to the Discrimination Law Review I have also called on
government to broaden support for trans people against discrimination by
widening the definition of trans in law.

• Continuing to support lesbian and gay businesses: lesbian and gay
businesses add to the vibrancy of London’s economy, provide important, non-
discriminatory services and are an important source of employment. When
Conservative Westminster Council tried to ban lesbian and gay businesses in Soho
flying rainbow flags, I successfully challenged them and would do so again.

• Supporting equal opportunities in employment: I will do everything in the
Mayor’s powers to continue to extend equal opportunities to all LGBT Londoners.
My Responsible Procurement policy is a national example in binding private sector
providers to the high equality standards of the GLA and I will continue to develop
and extend that policy, including ensuring compliance with anti-discrimination
legislation on sexual orientation. I have called on government to introduce an
mandatory equality duty on procurement.

• Olympic equality: I will make work with the Olympic bodies with the objective
that LGBT Londoners get an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit
from all aspects of the 2012 London Olympics including sport, cultural activities,
volunteering, training, business, employment and economic development.

• Keeping the Greater London Authority being the top gay-friendly
public sector employer in the UK: I have implemented policies across the GLA
to ensure a positive workplace environment on lesbian and gay equality and that
equal opportunities and rights at work are paramount. My policies so far have put
the Greater London Authority at the top of the Stonewall league table of good
lesbian and gay public sector employers.

• Continuing to deliver the policies needed to ensure London is a safe
city for LGBT communities: I will continue to encourage the Metropolitan Police
to make tackling and responding to hate crime a major priority and I will
encourage the establishment of Hate Crime Reporting Centres in gay friendly
venues and community centres across London, to maximize the ease with which
the LGBT community can report hate crimes.

Download the manifesto here.

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Comments

  1. Good to hear this. Too late for Wilde and Turing still great.

    Posted by: SJ | Apr 21, 2008 12:14:26 PM


  2. In case Americans are confused by the "buses" comment from Boris - he and Ken Livingstone have been arguing over whether a particular type of bus is safe or not. So what he's really doing is not commenting favourably on gay equality but trying to move the discussion back to that issue.

    I had no idea Boris was on the same wavelength as Rick "man on dog sex" Santorum. Unfortunately the polls suggest he will win, though. I, for one, will miss Red Ken - especially now he's unveiled his LGBT manifesto.

    Posted by: Sasha | Apr 21, 2008 12:29:37 PM


  3. LGBT London has no greater champion than Ken - he has a proven record of implementing LGBT-inclusive legislation over the past 20 years and not just paying lip-service to us when elections roll around - keep up the good work, Ken (admittedly, I'll actually be voting for (gay Liberal Democrat candidate)Brian Paddick, but that's because I can't resist a silver fox and though Brian isn't really a plausible candidate this year, if he gets a reasonable amount of support it should encourage him to spend the next four years preparing to stand next time, by which time he may be ready for office.) I just hope this doesn't lead to vote-splitting between Ken and Brian, and thus result in that preposterous buffoon Boris Johnson winning the election...

    Posted by: johnnzboy | Apr 21, 2008 12:31:42 PM


  4. If Johnson cannot understand why dogs cannot sign and commit to the responsibilities of a legal contract, then he should be considered far too stupid to be considered for a job requiring any kind of serious responsibility.
    Surely such people understand why women can vote and dogs cannot or why blacks can own real estate and dogs cannot.
    It's astounding how they turn into complete idiots when a gay issue comes up. And that should bring into question whether they have a general ability to use logic and reason.

    Posted by: GregV | Apr 21, 2008 2:27:41 PM


  5. Hurrah for Livingstone, but the hyperbole of "world's most lesbian and gay friendly city" kinda gets the goat of this adopted San Franciscan. I don't want to start a pissing match, but even though SF is far from perfect it will continue to wear that crown for some time, perhaps forever as SF’s LGBT-positive history is so long and continuous that other cities will always be playing catch up.

    The many problem areas identified in Livingstone's 20 points were resolved in SF years ago. The Gay Games he wants to come to London were invented here. The rainbow flag was created here, as well as the first gay marching band and the longest active gay men's chorus. San Francisco grade schools conduct programs in diversity appreciation. City schools have included information on gays in sex education classes for 2 decades. A state law bans harassment of LGBT students. Harvey Milk, The City's first out supervisor was elected 31 years ago. Since then, there have been several others, as well as out gays across the entire spectrum of city government. We've had a domestic partners registry for nearly 20 years; the whole state nearly a decade. The first significant lesbian group, the Daughters of Bilitis, was founded her in 1955. The first gay business association, the Tavern Guild, was founded in 1962. The first gay community center I'm aware of opened in SF in 1966. First out lesbian judge over 20 years ago. First legal gay "second parent" adoption in 1987. State gay job protection for 16 years. Discrimination against the transgendered outlawed in SF more than a decade ago. [Insurance coverage extended in 2001 to city and county employees who are transgendered for sex reassignment procedures.] Companies doing business with City required to offer domestic partner benefits to their employees for more than a decade. State LGBT inclusive hate crime legislation for a decade.

    Most important is that all of these advances have resulted in out gays being integrated to one degree or another into literally every part of The City. Anyone thinking that “The Castro” is the only thing gay about The City has never spent much time here. And no candidate for office at any level, let alone mayor, would dare say the kind of antigay thing that London’s Johnson has.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Apr 21, 2008 2:47:13 PM


  6. Okay. How about this headline instead?

    Mayor Pledges to Make London Most Gay-Friendly MAJOR City in the World

    Posted by: 24play | Apr 21, 2008 3:02:34 PM


  7. Michael - London has 500,000 gay voters - more than the entire population of San Francisco.

    Incidentally - I've voted for Ken OVER an out-gay politician.

    Posted by: luke | Apr 21, 2008 3:50:27 PM


  8. Scratch a Tory and you’ve found a bigot. Boris Johnson is a Conservative in the rancid tradition of Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Their reactionary support for the discriminatory bigotry of Section 28 was as bad as the Clintons support for DOMA and DADT.

    The Labour Party, under the impetus of EU mandates, and with the support of the Liberal Democrats has implemented a whole host of nationwide GLBT protective laws in England with stiff penalties for offenders. They even have a law against hate speech which they passed over the objections of the Tories. They act in our favor whether there’s an election or the horizon or not.

    In this country our agenda get trashed at election time. That’s one of the reasons Barney Frank, Clintons Campaign manager gutted ENDA. It's why they dropped the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Law like a hot potato AFTER it’d passed both houses of Congress. It’s why Obama and Clinton didn’t utter a word while that was going on. The more I look at them the more I’m convinced that the Conservatives sibling party in the US isn’t the Republicans’, it’s the Democrats.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue, RainbowRED | Apr 21, 2008 9:06:48 PM


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