Angela Eagle, Labour MP for Wallasey, ordered a semi-skinned flat white from the café at Hamilton House, London.
The first openly gay female MP when she came out in 1997 was there today (5 July) to be the opening speaker at the Pride Youth Network Conference 2019.
Just two weeks after the Eagle’s emotional speech to the House of Commons about LGBTI education in UK schools, she dubbed Birmingham protesters as ‘outside reactionary forces that want to take us back to those dark days of the 1980s.’
What did Angela Eagle say?
‘I sometimes feel that I’m a time traveller from a different era,’ Eagle said with a mauve Macbook Pro in front of her.
‘When I grew up, you had to hide who you were at school. The government of the time had actually legislated to stop teachers being able to help LGBTI people who were being bullied or were worried about their identities.
‘It caused untold misery and suffering that we had a government that used parliament to stigmatize people for who they were.
‘So, I got into my Tardis and arrived today in 2019 and I’ve got in front of me the people who are going to put this right and stop that from ever happening again.’
Moreover, Eagle rallied the students in front of her. ‘You are at the very heart of the real change that we are in the middle of achieving.
‘So, coming from the dark ages many years ago when I was young. When the government actively hated LGBTI people and said they were a threat to society.
‘To where we are now which is, I think, acceptance and increased understanding.’
‘We’re in the middle of a backlash’
Furthermore, Eagle also spoke about the ‘backlash’ that such progress can encounter. Touching upon protests by parents in Birmingham against LGBTI-inclusive education.
‘We’re in the middle of a backlash.
‘I gave a speech in Parliament two weeks ago about the No Outsiders program in Birmingham and the demonstrations that have been going on outside of primary schools as a result of those schools having the temerity to teach respect for diversity.
‘This has been organized online by outside reactionary forces that want to take us back to those dark days in the 1980s where gay people should get back in the closet and be ashamed of who they are.
We, we aren’t going to get back in the closet, are we?’ she asked the crowd of 11 to 18-year-old LGBTIs.
‘No!’ they shouted with zest.
‘Don’t succumb to the pressure,’ she said.
‘We have to stop this’
Eagle also spoke about Bobby Norris, a cast-member of the reality TV show, The Only Way Is Essex.
The star is currently calling for a lawmakers to introduce a bill that illegalizes online homophobia.
‘It is not acceptable that people should be harassed and bullied on social media. It affects young people and some have even taken their own lives as a result.
‘We have to stop this kind of unacceptable behavior from happening. I will be working with Bobby Norris and various other people to stop this from happening.’
‘Inspiring for the kids to expand their horizons’
In the crowd was Julie Bremmer.
Wearing her Pride Nike shoes for the first time, especially for the event, the Educate & Celebrate trustee said: ‘I wish we had a Pride Youth Network when I was at school, but this could not conceivably have happened in the 1980s.
‘This event is absolutely essential at this time to bring together young people who are passionate about ensuring their future and their schools are inclusive of all identities.’
Moreover, a teacher from Dame Elizabeth Cadbury school in Birmingham spoke with pride at the opportunity having an LGBTI network for young people gives them.
‘The event is inspiring for the kids to expand their horizons and see there is a community of kids that feel the same as them and that want to make a positive difference,’ she said.
Children In Need supports the Pride Youth Network. The organization links schools across the country and provides LGBTI students a vital support system.
It works to empower the next generation of LGBTI youth by working directly with high schools.
Dr Elly Barnes founded the network. The Educate & Celebrate CEO, sporting a towering bright blonde quiff, hosted the conference.
Why was she saying it?
However, two weeks ago, Angela Eagle delivered a powerful speech about acceptance within education policy. Parents have protested for months LGBTI-inclusive education in Birmingham for months.
Eagle challenged those protesting during a House of Commons debate.
‘We aren’t going back in the closet,’ she said. Eagle explained, her voice breaking, that such education is not ‘propagandising’ or about ‘trying to turn people gay.’
But it is about respecting their rights to have an ‘equal welcome in school’ and not be bullied.