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From: Notebook, 13 June 2017: Brief articles and notes on the Socialist Party website

Search site for keywords: LGBT - DUP - Tories - Government - Gay

Fight Tory and DUP anti-LGBT+ bigotry

LGBT+ people will rightly be outraged at the news that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is going to prop up May's weakened Tory government.

The Tories have at best a chequered history on LGBT+ rights. Legalising same-sex marriage won David Cameron an 'ally' award from Pink News - despite more than half of Tory MPs voting against it, and Cameron himself previously opposing it.

Under Thatcher the Tories outlawed schools discussing homosexuality as a "pretended family relationship" - the notorious 'Section 28'. And the Tories' LGBT+ group was - until recently - called 'LGBTories', which many saw as excluding transgender people.

Even while giving this weak and fake display of LGBT+ support, Tories like Stephen Crabb have shown their true colours through links to organisations advocating gay 'cure' therapy. Multiple Tory MPs have also made statements saying homosexuality is a danger to society or goes against 'Christian values'.

The DUP has similar views to the majority of Tories on LGBT+ rights - but takes them even further. While sitting as an MP, Iris Robinson told a Commons committee that homosexuality is worse than sexually abusing children. While in post as Northern Ireland's health minister, Jim Wells said children raised by same-sex parents are more likely to be abused.

The idea that this party will now have some influence on the government is a frightening prospect for LGBT+ people. While Corbyn's policies have gained huge ground, the battle for rights and liberation is far from over.

Nonetheless, the DUP-backed Tory minority government is weak and wobbly, and pressure from the grassroots could topple it. We need to fight back against the Tory and DUP LGB-phobic and transphobic agenda, and fight for real socialist change.

Michael Johnson and Maddy Steeds, Socialist Party LGBT+ group

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