Today I launched our manifesto for LGBT+ Londoners and pledged to oppose the gentrification threatening London’s scene.
Former Joiners landlord David Pollard and longtime openly gay Assembly Member Darren Johnson, joined me and City Hall candidates Ronald Stewart and Caroline Russell at the sadly boarded up premises of the Joiners Arms in Shoreditch.
The Green Party has always been at the forefront of fighting for LGBT+ rights. We were the first party in England to officially support marriage equality. Our Green Assembly members successfully pushed for the a same-sex partnership register in London which Tony Blair acknowledged paved the way for national legislation. I will continue the fight for a more inclusive London if I’m elected to City Hall.
We have seen too many LGBT venues lost in recent years, including the Black Cap in Camden, and as Mayor I’d help make the designation of venues as assets of community value simpler to protect them from changes of use. We can also help protect our emerging heritage to be preserved with listing, and with strong policies in the London plan to preserve the character of areas of significance to the whole of London.
London’s LGBT population have worked long and hard to build communities and community infrastructure. Yet hard-won spaces which have established themselves over decades are now under threat. The out-of-control London housing market threatens far too many pubs and clubs, no matter how successful.
I will ensure that the need for housing does not force the closure of these venues. And that longstanding music and entertainment venues don’t fall victim to complaints when new residences are built nearby. As recommended by the music venues task force report, instigated by Darren Johnson, I will also make sure planning includes provision that residential developments built next to venues cover the cost of soundproofing needed for venues to sit happily next to housing.
Other measures in our LGBT+ manifesto for London include:
- Bringing back an LGBT community space – real or virtual – to support both younger and older members of the community.
- Ensuring that sexual health services are adequately funded at a Londonwide rather than a borough level.
- Guaranteeing the level of funding for Pride and my own attendance as Mayor;
returning the Greater London Authority to the Stonewall index of LGBT-friendly employer.
- Working with local councils to ensure that trans people are treated with dignity, including the optional gender-neutral honorific Mx.
- Ensuring that homophobic or transphobic advertising never feature on the city’s public transport network.
- Preserving hate crime hot lines specifically for LGBT+ people and LGBT-related hate crime.
- Protecting and expanding Safer Neighbourhood policing teams as well as ring-fencing funding for each borough’s LGBT liaison office.
I also promised on World Aids Day last December, to establish the long-overdue Aids memorial in London to remember those who died here.