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LGBT Rights

Volume 675: debated on Wednesday 6 May 2020

What steps the Government are taking to help ensure that the UK remains a world leader for LGBT rights. (902288)

What steps the Government are taking to help ensure that the UK remains a world leader for LGBT rights. (902297)

I am proud that we are one of the leading countries in the world for LGBT rights. The UK will host an international LGBT conference, chaired by Nick Herbert. The theme is “Safe to be me”. It will focus on asking countries to tackle the persecution of LGBT people, including ending violence and discrimination.

The Government have a strong record on LGBT rights, especially the introduction of equal marriage, which I am proud to have campaigned for. We have come a long way, but there is still work to be done. Can my right hon. Friend tell me why a married monogamous gay couple living in High Peak cannot donate blood or plasma, including for the ongoing and vital covid-19 trial?

I appreciate that many gay and bisexual men want to contribute to the efforts to fight this virus. The rules that specify the conditions for donating blood are from the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs. I am taking up this matter with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to see what changes could be made.

We have seen numerous reports that the covid lockdown is having a disproportionately negative impact on the LGBT+ community, here in Bishop Auckland and right across our country, particularly with regard to mental health, domestic abuse and homelessness. With the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia coming up on 17 May, what are the Government doing to ensure that LGBT+ people are receiving the support needed throughout the covid crisis?

I thank my hon. Friend for her question. We are ensuring that LGBT people get proper support during the covid crisis, including health support. In March, I extended the contract of Dr Michael Brady as our national adviser on LGBT healthcare. He is instrumental in ensuring that support is provided for LGBT people during this pandemic.

Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, gender identity clinics in England have had to reduce their services. While it is understandable that hospitals prioritise their services during this crisis, can the Minister assure the House that trans people will still be able to access the gender identity services they need during the crisis?

We absolutely want to ensure that all LGBT people are able to secure that support during the crisis. That is why we have extended the contract of Dr Michael Brady, and where we are able to provide those services we are ensuring that we do. I will follow up on the specific issue my hon. Friend raises with Dr Michael Brady to ensure that those services are available.