Motion: Sexual Orientation Strategy
‘That this Assembly notes that a Sexual Orientation Strategy was subject to consultation in 2006; further notes that public commitments to publish a document by the end of 2013 were made by the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister in Together: Building a United Community; expresses its deep concern that this document does not appear to have progressed to date; and calls on the First Minister and deputy First Minister to publish a cross-departmental Sexual Orientation Strategy as a matter of priority.
[Mr C Lyttle, Ms A Lo, Mr S Dickson]
Anna Lo MLA said: “I have proposed this debate for two reasons, to highlight the delays in the publication of a Sexual Orientation Strategy and to show why we need one.
“A consultation that began in 2006 was shelved following the return of devolution, but we have faced continuing delays. In 2010, the ‘Cohesion, Sharing and Integration’ consultation indicated that the First and deputy First Ministers were fully committed to publishing a Sexual Orientation Strategy, but nothing appeared.
“In June 2013, in their shared future document ‘Together: Building a United Community’, the Ministers committed themselves to publishing a Sexual Orientation Strategy by the end of 2013, but it appears that we are no closer to seeing this happen. This strategy is now embarrassingly overdue.
“From homophobic bullying in schools, to tragic incidents of hate crime and suicide, far too many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are subjected to discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is as outdated as it is wrong, and it needs to be addressed.
“OFMdFM is in the position to make a strong statement – that this Assembly is committed to promoting equality for LGBT people in Northern Ireland. Are we committed to challenging discrimination and exclusion on behalf of those we represent? Do we want to establish a society where homophobic behaviour is not tolerated? The Alliance Party does. If the First Minister and deputy First Minister are serious about establishing a just and fair society where homophobic behaviour is not tolerated, then they cannot be complacent -we need to publish this strategy. We need to promote positive attitudes.”