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Sally Hunt attacks Theresa May's record on LGBT+ rights

5 July 2018

The UK cannot take progress on equality for granted when the country is led by the Conservative government with Theresa May at the helm, according to UCU general secretary Sally Hunt

Speaking at the TUC LGBT+ conference in her role as TUC president, Sally Hunt highlighted the prime minister's poor voting record on LGBT+ rights and said that the legacy of Section 28 remains a sore to this day.

Earlier this week, Theresa May said she had "developed her view" on LGBT+ issues and apologised for how she had voted in the past. She also said she had never prayed for someone to change their sexuality.

In July 2000, Theresa May voted to maintain Section 28 and she told a student newspaper in 2001 that "most parents want the comfort of knowing Section 28 is there".

Sally Hunt also attacked the government's handling of Brexit and warned that Theresa May cannot be trusted to protect workers' rights while seeking a Brexit deal to satisfy the likes of Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Sally Hunt said: 'Thirty years ago, we struggled against a government that showed disdain for working people. A government that tore apart entire communities. And a government that legislated to install oppression in our schools, in our town halls, in our hospitals and all our public services. The legacy of Section 28 remains a sore to this day.

'The trade union movement was central in challenging that with hundreds of activists reacting against the pervasive hostility of the time and finding solidarity in their unions.

'Societal attitudes changed because you campaigned, you agitated and you led the movement. It took years to get there but you did it and that is an achievement of which we are collectively proud.

'The UK has a better record than many other countries on LGBT+ rights, but we can never assume progress on equality can be taken for granted.

'Especially not when the UK is led by this current Tory government and a prime minister who voted against the equalisation of the age of consent. Who voted against allowing gay couples to adopt. Who missed the vote on repealing Section 28. And who missed all votes on the Gender Recognition Bill

'She may have voted for civil partnership and equal marriage but as home secretary Theresa May prevented full implementation of the Equality Act. And when home secretary she had a shameful record on deporting LGBT+ asylum seekers in fear of their lives.

'Can we really trust the prime minister to protect workers' rights in whatever Brexit deal her government comes up? She is seeking a Brexit deal to satisfy Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg rather than a Brexit deal that gets the best for working people. This is not just a government that is putting LGBT+ workers at risk on Brexit but at risk in their daily lives.'

Sally Hunt is also speaking at London Pride on Saturday.