Last weekend Jane Brophy joined friends and colleagues at Manchester Pride, where she marched alongside the LGBT community.
In an article written for the Manchester Gazette, Jane had this to say about pride in Manchester:
I represent a party, and a city, which has led the fight for equal rights for several decades, and I’m immensely proud of that.
As a Liberal Democrat, I was part of the fight to repeal Section 28, which banned the “promotion” of homosexuality by local authorities and in schools. And in 1994, we unanimously supported lowering the age of consent to 16 for same-sex relationships.
Then, just as now, the Liberal Democrats were ahead of the curve compared to other political parties. Despite Conservative attempts in Parliament, we supported the Adoption and Children Act of 2002, which allowed same-sex couples to adopt children.
Even today, we see resistance from other parties to further equal rights and it breaks my heart. When I heard Labour MP Roger Godsiff recently voice his support for protesters opposed to lessons about LGBTQ people being taught in primary schools, I was speechless.
Though it is not surprising to hear opposition to equal rights, it is seriously misplaced in elected office.
We’ve had enormous various victories in achieving equal marriage and repealing ancient, prejudiced laws but we have faced stiff opposition from other parties in both chambers of the House to get there.
It’s this type of attitude which means that we cannot let up in our pursuit of equal rights.
It’s also why it’s not enough to talk about our record in the past, but also what we’re doing now to promote equality for the LGBTQ community.
We now want to see businesses with more than 250 employees record and publish data on BAME and LGBT employees, not just gender.
We also have to end the completely unfounded blood donation rules based on sexuality rather than science. Gay and bi-sexual men are still excluded from donating blood despite their being no proof that they are ‘contaminated’.
It’s issues like these which prove that we cannot stop our pursuit of equal rights. Pride today is as much of a protest as it was historically, which is why i’m so proud to march alongside the LGBT people of Manchester.”