Што значи Брексит за ЛГБТИ правата во Обединетото Кралство?

 

Што понатаму? Откако „Leave“ кампањата и нејзините подржувачи покрај другото предизвикаa и хомофобични реакции но и раст на хомофобични напади за 147% во Велика Британија 3 месеци после референдумот, се поставува прашањето за идните состојби. Каде ќе се најдат ЛГБТИ луѓето во оваа каша наречена Брексит?

Во продолжение интегрално ја пренесуваме колумната на Honey Thomas.

What effect will Brexit have on the LGBTI rights of the UK?

The UK has a long-standing commitment to human rights, including those of the LGBTI community.

On June 23rd 2016 the United Kingdom held a referendum that resulted in the choice to leave the European Union. On March 29th 2017, the Prime Minister triggered Article 50, leaving the country two years to officially leave the EU, at which point EU laws will no longer apply to the UK.

For some time, there stood another question over the UK disassociating itself from the European Convention of Human Rights. This, however, has been decided against. This leaves the UK with two main bodies relating to LGBTI rights- the ECHR and the British Bill of Rights.

LGBTI rights played a significant role for some people in their decision regarding the referendum. The argument had two sides to it- the legal differences for the citizens of the country, and the effect that leaving would have on public attitudes towards the LGBTI community.

The initial reaction to the referendum reflected a damaging effect to the these attitudes, as the number of homophobic attacks in the 3 months following the referendum rose by 147%[1]. There was also a spike in hate crimes involving ethnicity and race, however the rise in attacks against the LGBTI community had not been predicted, and as such were even more shocking.

The most that can be done now to predict the future of LGBTI rights in the UK is to assess the differing opinions leading up to the referendum, the speculations made regarding the worth of the EU for LGBTI rights in the UK, and the current agendas of the key political parties in such a regard.

One of the major arguments in the debate came down to the origins of the present-day rights; whether they came about through the work of the UK Parliament, or through pressure from the EU and legislation passed by the EU- in other words, which entity has provided the greatest force for change within the UK.

Points of discussion

  • The European Union Charter for Human Rights.

The UK currently has 3 umbrellas of law regarding human rights- UCHR, EUFCR and the British Bill of Rights. Each now has laws that prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, with amendments relating to gender identity.

Remain:  the more laws in place for the rights of a citizen, the better.

Leave:  much of the law regarding LGBTI rights have now been embedded in UK law, hence will not change or be threatened through divorce from the EUFCR.

  • Progress pushed by the EU

According to Jonathon Cooper[2], a Human Rights specialist, much of the LGBT equality legislation enjoyed in Britain arose from Europe, due to decisions in either Luxembourg or Strasbourg, such as access to the armed forces and the equal age of consent. However, civil-partnerships and same-sex marriage was achieved in the UK without outside pressure.

Remain: The EU continues to provide guidelines and support that call for measures to end discrimination against all LGBTI people. We should preserve this support and encouragement.

Leave: The EU does not appoint the same rights to minority groups within the LGBTI community that they do to racial and ethnic groups. The UK are ahead of many EU member states already in regards to this level of equality and rights regarding gender identity. Take, for example, the fact that only 12 of the 28 states have legalized same-sex marriage.[3]

  • The UK and EU are leaders of progress towards equality for the LGBTI community.

The UK continues to progress in this field, and in doing so encourages others to follow in their lead and the lead of other progressive EU states.

Remain: The UK should remain in the EU to continue to support member states that are less developed in LGBTI rights.

Leave: The UK can continue to offer help for all states, and the wider world, without being an EU member.

These arguments amount to one question- will leaving the European Union slow the progress of the UK in reaching equal rights for all people?

Although the EU laws and the support of the EU in maintaining and building on LGBTI rights in the UK will be gone, the UK has sufficient laws already in place, and more that will be transferred from EU law so as not to fall in levels of equality. Both the support and encouragement of the UCHR and the binding laws against discrimination of the British Bill of Rights will continue to push the UK forward.

In the recent General Election, 8.6.17, most parties made pledges to improve the equality of the LGBTI community in regards to different fields, such as in education, crime and healthcare. The winning party, the Conservatives, made few promises as such but pledged to push forward with tackling hate crimes against all minorities, and to “expand [their] global efforts” to combat the “perpetration of violence against people because of their faith, gender or sexuality.”[4] This is a sign of the UK’s aim to continue to guide foreign states to keep advancing in LGBTI rights.

Although the outcome of Brexit for LGBTI rights in the country cannot be precisely known, most evidence points towards very little change. The will of the UK government and people to push further towards equality remains engrained in the country, regardless of EU membership, and will most likely continue to improve.

[1] ‘The Guardian’, October 2016, ‘Homophobic attacks’. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/08/homophobic-attacks-double-after-brexit-vote

[2] ‘Buzzfeed’ Article on ‘Leaving the EU’, 2016. https://www.buzzfeed.com/patrickstrudwick/brexit-could-trigger-erosion-of-lgbt-rights-top-lawyers-fear?utm_term=.uqpM2rPRw#.rjblo8M3L

[3] ‘Out and Proud’ Magazine. http://www.outandproud.org.uk/case

[4] The Conservative Manifesto 2017, page 40.

 

 

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