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The UK and EU are better together… and stronger

The UK and EU are better together… and stronger

Kathryn Breitner (center) on the last People's Vote march in London, 20 October 2018

To make the case for the UK remaining in the European Union, one must go beyond merely listing the benefits that EU membership has already given the LGBTI community or the risks that Brexit poses.

Those of us campaigning for a People’s Vote believe continued EU membership would help make the UK a more inclusive, diverse place – one which celebrates its LGBTI community. And the UK can help the European Union to drive forward that agenda of equality, inclusivity and freedom in other member states and beyond.

Seizing the initiative

Until Brexit, the UK Government was widely seen as a stable and generally moderating force on European politics. It can, of course, become that again, should the UK choose to remain in the EU.

This doesn’t have to mean accepting the status quo and merely settling for the rights that LGBTI and other EU citizens currently have. As attitudes in the EU shift, the UK could seize the initiative and further develop the work the European Union has already done for our community.

In particular, myself and others campaigning for a People’s Vote would wish to see a future UK Government and elected UK Members of the European Parliament make the case for:

  • A united understanding of marriage to include same-sex relationships across the EU.
  • Ensuring trans, intersex, non-binary and other gender minorities can have their gender identities
    fully respected. This should include appropriate gender options in passports and other official
    documentation, thus extending their ability to travel, live and work across the EU and beyond.
  • Ensuring that EU trade deals are seen as opportunities to promote LGBTI rights beyond
    the EU. This is of particular importance given that decriminalization of LGBTI acts and the
    promotion of diversity and inclusion are known to bring economic benefits.
  • Funding work to promote LGBTI equality worldwide, with an initial focus on decriminalizing
    consensual same-sex relations.
  • Ensuring all EU citizens have an enforceable right to peaceful protest and to express themselves, meaning EU governments can not prevent Pride marches.
  • Promoting a standardized application and appeals process for asylum seekers and refugees, that is LGBTI-supportive and literate, fair and swift.

The full list could be far greater. And while achieving change on a European level can take time, it can also be a powerful tool for solving seemingly intractable institutionalized problems on a national level.

‘A fellowship of nations sharing similar values’

Furthermore, those lobbying for a People’s Vote believe EU membership could be even more positive than it currently is for LGBTI people ‘at home’ in the UK. Being part of a fellowship of nations sharing similar values of openness, tolerance, equality and freedom already has a positive impact in the UK.

If we decided as a country to remain, perhaps the greatest task is to mark these attitudes as a European achievement, a result of our joint history, and celebrate them.

In doing so, we can change hearts and minds, not only in favor of the European family, but also to the benefit of minority communities and those who may otherwise be left behind.

Put It To The People march

Following A People’s Vote March on 20 October 2018, The People’s Vote campaign for a second referendum on Brexit has announced a march the weekend before the UK leaves the EU.

On 23 March, members of the LGBT community will march together once again. They will demanding whatever conclusion Parliament comes to, they Put it to the People in a People’s Vote. They will form up into the official LGBTI column for the general march.

The new demonstration, supported by Gay Star News, is likely to be even bigger than last year’s march. That march attracted a record-breaking crowd of about 700,000.

Read the full Gay Star News Brexit report by clicking below

Kathryn Breitner is a campaigner and strategist with the People’s Vote campaign and InFacts, a journalistic enterprise making the fact-based case against Brexit. Kathryn is Director of LGBT+ for a People’s Vote in partnership with Gay Star News.

See also

Most Pro-Brexit MPs don’t support LGBTI rights, damming report shows

This is why LGBTI people are trying to stop Brexit happening in 23 days