British Prime Minister Theresa May has apologized for the way she has previously voted against LGBTI issues in Parliament.
The comments came as the Conservative leader held a reception for the LGBTI community at No 10 Downing Street on Tuesday 3 July.
— ITV News (@itvnews) July 3, 2018
‘There’s some things I’ve voted for in the past that I shouldn’t have done and I’ve said sorry’, she said in a television interview with ITV News. ‘Section 28 obviously would have been one of those things.’
‘I hope people can see that the UK has actually changed and Government should be proud of the actions it’s taken. There’s more to do.’
‘I hope people will see the fact I recognise that I shouldn’t have taken that view on Section 28. I have developed my views. I want to be seen as an ally of the LGBT community here in the UK.’
Tatchell: We should accept PM’s apology
Long term LGBTI rights activist Peter Tatchell, who was at the Downing Street reception, told Gay Star News exclusively that he believed May’s comments to be ‘sincere’.
‘I applaud the Prime Minister’s apology for voting against LGBTI equality in the past and her vow to be a LGBTI ally in the future.
‘There are very few government leaders who apologize for anything,’ he added. ‘Theresa May’s remorse is a significant gesture. I think we should assume she is sincere and accept her apology. I will be working with her team at 10 Downing Street to ensure that she delivers the next phrase of LGBT+ rights.
Tatchell was making his first appearance at the annual LGBTI reception party after being banned from attending for decades, due to his human rights activism.
He told Gay Star News that the PM also praised his recent efforts protesting Russia’s human rights record ahead of the World Cup starting in Moscow.
‘Theresa May very generously and graciously praised my decades of LGBT+ rights work, including my protest in Moscow, during her speech at the Downing Street LGBT+ reception.
He said he then spent three minutes pressing her about flaws in the government’s new LGBTI Action Plan.
‘The £4.5 million budget is no where near enough to fund the proposals it sets out. It includes no commitment to end faith-based discrimination against LGBT+ people, no pledge to compensate gay and bisexual men penalised under past anti-gay laws and no action to end the detention and deportation of LGBT+ refugees who have fled violent homophobic persecution.
‘She said she would consider my concerns and her senior staff have arranged for me to liaise with them in the coming weeks. This all looks positive and hopeful. But I am taking nothing for granted. I will keep the government under pressure to deliver.’
Earlier this week the government announced it planned to make the controversial practice of conversion therapy illegal. May reiterated this during the interview, saying that conversion therapy has ‘no place in modern Britain’.
‘We are determined as a Government to end it. We are going to consult on the best way of doing that and we’re very clear that this is something that does not have a place in our society.’
May’s changing attitudes towards LGBTI issues have been building gradually. Earlier this year she wrote a letter to the LGBTI community pledging support for their rights.
The letter was sent on the 30th anniversary of introduction of Section 28 which banned the ‘promotion’ of homosexual activity in schools. This law was later repealed.