Sarah's Pride main stage debut
Baroness Sarah Ludford, Lib Dem MEP for London addressed the crowd from the main stage at London Pride today, welcoming the 35th London Pride event but remembering there is still much to be done to achieve LGBT liberation both in the UK further afield.
She said: "It's great to be here to celebrate with you 35 years of Pride London, I've never been allowed up on the stage before so this is a great privilege for me and it's fantastic to be able to celebrate those 35 years. Of course. there's lots more to be done but there's lots of progress has been made. Now, as a Liberal Democrat there's plenty of things that I oppose Labour governments about - ID cards, war in Iraq, "war on terror" etcetera. But credit where credit is due, and in the last few years we have seen great progress on LGBT rights and especially about civil partnerships, sexual orientation regulations, and I was there to vote as a member in the House of Lords I must say! But let's remember there's been some encouragement not only from Europe but also from the Liberal Democrats too. We've been there pushing with the progressive coalition that has been necessary.
"I just want to say a bit about Europe and the international dimension because here we have a relaxed, joyful, fun celebration - family fun if you like. But it's not like that, as Gareth Henry told us about Jamaica and it's not like that in many countries in Europe - not only countries that are not yet in the European Union, but even, scandalously, in countries that are already in the European Union. We've seen bans, we've seen obstruction, we've seen police toleration or even instigation of violence against protesters and that has affected people from the UK and some members of the European Parliament.
"Can I here pay tribute to my not political ally but my friend and colleague Michael Cashman MEP who leads our lesbian and gay intergroup in the European Parliament. We work together to try and support our colleagues in Eastern Europe and to push the European institutions like the European Commission to make those countries live up to their human rights commitments. I will take with me today your solidarity on that.
"Finally, I'd like to say we know all that not all the battles have been won at home. One of those problems is homophobic bullying, and it's terrible to think of young people, frightened, bullied, not able to talk to anybody.
"So Liberal Democrats have got an online petition as part of our campaign. Please, when you go home today, log in to standuptobullying.org and add your name to that petition.
"Thank you very much indeed for your support."
- http://www.standuptobullying.org/>Stop Homophobic Bullying petition
- http://www.sarahludfordmep.org.uk/>Sarah Ludford MEP's website