Agenda item

Councillor Tracey Forman

February is LGBT History Month. The council should show its support for this month, and solidarity with LGBT people by flying the LGBT Pride flag from the Council building during this month. This would link into the council’s duty under the Equalities Act 2010 in promoting and protecting the rights of this community.

 

According to extensive research by Stonewall, one in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months. Two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months. Four in five hate crimes and incidents go unreported, with younger LGBT people particularly reluctant to go to the police. (Stonewall 2017)

 

Lincolnshire Police have also reported a rise in LGBT hate crimes across Lincolnshire over the last two years. (Lincolnshire Police February 2017)

 

The council resolves to:

 

1) Fly the LGBT Pride flag during the month of February

2) Ensure that LGBT History Month and facilities to report hate crime are promoted on the council’s website.

3) Provide a link to the single equality support organisation in Lincolnshire http://justlincolnshire.org.uk/

Minutes:

Decision:

 

The Council resolves to ensure that LGBT History Month and facilities to report hate crime are sign-posted on the Council’s website including a link to the single equality support organisation in Lincolnshire http://justlincolnshire.org.uk/

 

Councillor Forman was invited to present her motion and the background to it:

 

February is LGBT History Month. The council should show its support for this month, and solidarity with LGBT people by flying the LGBT Pride flag from the Council building during this month. This would link into the council’s duty under the Equalities Act 2010 in promoting and protecting the rights of this community.

 

According to extensive research by Stonewall, one in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months. Two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months. Four in five hate crimes and incidents go unreported, with younger LGBT people particularly reluctant to go to the police. (Stonewall 2017)

 

Lincolnshire Police have also reported a rise in LGBT hate crimes across Lincolnshire over the last two years. (Lincolnshire Police February 2017)

 

The council resolves to:

 

1) Fly the LGBT Pride flag during the month of February

2) Ensure that LGBT History Month and facilities to report hate crime are promoted on the council’s website.

3) Provide a link to the single equality support organisation in Lincolnshire http://justlincolnshire.org.uk/

 

In proposing her motion, Councillor Forman referred to the Council’s duty under the Equality Act 2010 to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. Reference was made to a series of events that would be taking place across the country to celebrate the lives and achievements of members of the LGBT community. She felt that by actively celebrating, the Council would be fulfilling part of its duty under the Equalities Act and demonstrating support to LGBT people living in South Kesteven. She stated that while there were some high profile figures in Lincolnshire who were gay, it did not mean that further action was not necessary or that the presence of those role models would end victimisation and discrimination. She described the positive effect that flying the rainbow flag might have on young LGBT people in communicating the Council’s support for them. While the proposer acknowledged that flying the rainbow flag might offend some people, she felt that this would be outweighed by the positive messages that would be sent.

 

Reference was made to the Council’s Annual Equality Position Statement, which the proposer felt lacked ambition and drive in how the Council met the public sector equality duty. She added that the equality and diversity information published about the Council’s workforce showed that it held the data on employees’ sexual orientation. The proposition was seconded.

 

An amendment was proposed:

 

The Council resolves to ensure that LGBT History Month and facilities to report hate crime are sign-posted on the Council’s website including a link to the single equality support organisation in Lincolnshire http://justlincolnshire.org.uk/

 

The proposer of the amendment stated that he agreed with most of the proposition but did not feel able to support the flying of the rainbow flag. The amendment was seconded and the seconder spoke about discrimination he had experienced and the way some people had reacted to him standing for public office. He listed several reasons that meant he could not support the raising of the flag: he considered that flag-raising was for commemoration, remembrance and civic occasions. He also indicated that the Council received requests to support a large number of campaigns and queried how the Council could distinguish which campaigns it wanted to support.

 

A further speaker indicated that they agreed with the broad sentiment behind the proposition and suggested that there were a number of other, different occasions for which the Council may decide to show its support by flying an appropriate flag.

 

The proposer of the original motion was given the opportunity to sum up. She countered the comments that had been made as she felt that flying the rainbow flag during LGBT history month would fit within the commemorative aspect of flag-raising.

 

A vote was taken on the amendment, which was carried, making it the substantive motion.

 

Further comments were made which highlighted the progress that had been made in relation to LGBT people, however it was still considered that more needed to be done, with the speaker indicating that a decision by Council to fly the rainbow flag could have led to a further culture change.

 

A response was made by the Leader, whose Cabinet remit included HR, to the statement made by the proposer of the original motion about data held on the sexual orientation of members of SKDC staff. He stated that it was a private issue and that there would be no drive to try and identify the sexual orientation of employees.

 

A vote was taken on the substantive motion, which was carried.