A bold statement by the SNP on LGBT+ equality

To mark Human Rights Day, the SNP has published a manifesto for LGBT+ equality. It’s not so much what it says as the fact that it says it at all, especially now: it’s going to make some high-profile bigots extremely angry, which is a bold move in the days before an election.

The details are here. Here’s a short summary:

  • Demanding full devolution of employment, equality and immigration law
  • Urging the UK government to better protect LGBT+ people from discrimination
  • Gender recognition reform, and supporting the same in England
  • Pressing the UK government to recognise non-binary people in official documents
  • Retrospective pardons for gay and bi people criminalised for their sexuality
  • Pressing for effective protections for intersex people
  • Urging the rest of the UK to better provide life-saving PrEP medication
  • Opposing any attempt to roll back human rights, including the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act
  • Pressing the UK government to outlaw dangerous and discredited conversion therapy
  • Pushing for reforms so that LGBT+ asylum seekers are treated with dignity and respect
  • Championing LGBT+ equality and human rights worldwide

I don’t think any other party has been this explicit in their support for human rights. It’s an interesting one: the obvious and often vicious transphobia in the independence movement and in some sectors of the SNP has made it very difficult for me to vote for them, but to see this as manifesto commitments rather than just vague promises paints the party in a very different light. It’s going to be interesting to see how that translates in terms of party discipline given the behaviour of some of its members, including senior ones.

If you’re thinking about LGBT+ issues when you vote in Scotland, you might find it interesting to compare your candidates with the list of signatories to the Equality Network’s LGBTI Equality Pledge. In my constituency the Lib Dem, the Green and the Labour candidates have signed it. The right-wing candidates haven’t, but neither has the SNP candidate. I hope it’s an oversight: he’s been a signatory in previous years.