Angela Eagle MP
“In the last decade this country has made huge strides towards achieving equality for LGB people.”
Where will the gay rights movement be in ten years?
In the last decade this country has made huge strides towards achieving equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The unequal age of consent was abolished and Section 28, which had effectively prohibited any teaching of tolerance for gay people in schools and derided their family arrangements as ‘pretend,’ was repealed.
Homosexuals can also have their relationships recognised and protected in law through civil partnerships and it has been made an offence to discriminate against gay people in employment, goods and services. The barriers against adoption have also been lifted and recently a new Bill was passed to make incitement to homophobic hatred a crime.
There’s still work to do though. In the next ten years, the Gay Rights Movement is going to have to work hard and continue to campaign to ensure that the rights that have been established by law are made a reality.
One of the ways to do this is to get more gay and lesbian people into Parliament as MPs. It’s so important.
I remember once, when we were working on extending the rights of gay people, so that they had equal access to goods and services, a politician from Northern Ireland got up and announced that sexual orientation was a lifestyle choice. Because I was an MP too I was able to stand up and say that it was not a ‘choice’ but simply the way that I was made.
The more people we have to do things like that, the closer we become to total equality.
Labour politician, Angela Eagle, is Britain’s first out lesbian MP.
She has been an MP since 1992 and in Government since 1997. Eagle was promoted by Gordon Brown to Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions in 2009. After the Conservatives returned to power in alliance with the Liberal Democrats, Eagle was elected to Ed Miliband's shadow cabinet in October 2010 and was appointed by Ed Miliband to be Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
She has been an active, successful campaigner for the gay rights movement, helping to push through several pieces of significant legislation. In 2007 she was given the title of Politician of the Year by Stonewall.
In 2008 Eagle entered into a civil partnership with Maria Exall, pictured together above. She was ranked in the top 50 on The Independent’s Pink List of the 101 most influential gay men and women in Britain 2009.