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UK Equalities Minister backs transgender festival

UK Equalities Minister backs transgender festival

The British Equalities Minister has spoken out about the importance of advancing transgender equality.

MP for Hornsey and Wood Green Lynne Featherstone made a statement for GSN about the charity Sparkle, who will host a festival for transgender people in Manchester this July.

She said: ‘The government is strongly committed to advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality and great progress has been made in recent years. But government cannot do it on its own.

‘Sparkle has been instrumental in bringing the transgender community together and has helped to shape the first ever transgender equality action plan, published in December 2011.’

Featherstone opened the festival last year.

Sparkle spokeswoman Bella Jay said: ‘She stayed for an hour and a half talking to people, she really takes an interest. It’s not like one of those sorts of people who arrive to do their bit and leave. She was happy to get involved.’

Jay said she had asked her to do it again, but said Featherstone wanted to spread herself around the different parts of the community.

Jay said: ‘Transgender equality in the past has not been recognised, so this action plan is something good for us.’

The action plan, signed by both the Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Theresa May and Featherstone, aims to build an equal and fairer society.

It includes firm commitments to improve the lives of transgender people and develop businesses and public bodies so they have the right tools to support transgender people.

Jay said: ‘The ‘T’ in GLBT has always been a little tacked on the end, but now we are actually being taken seriously. That is the important thing.

‘For us, obviously, an action plan is only an action plan. It depends what happens in the future.’