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Assembly marks International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

16 May 2012

The National Assembly for Wales is marking International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) on 17 May, by backing gay rights group Stonewall’s “It Gets Better…Today” project.

“It Gets Better….Today” is a video campaign, from Stonewall, that reassures lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender children and young people that steps are being taken, in the UK, to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying.

The films are in response to a similar US campaign featuring people from school teachers to Barack and Michelle Obama telling lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people that things will eventually get better.

As part of the Assembly’s plan to mark IDAHO on 17 May, Presiding Officer, Rosemary Butler AM, and Sandy Mewies AM, the Assembly Commissioner with responsibility for Equality Issues, will both record video messages to add to the campaign.

Stonewall will also have a stall in the Senedd on 17 May to raise awareness about this issue.

“This is a worldwide campaign that has generated fantastic support,” said Mrs Butler.

“The National Assembly for Wales is committed to equality in everything it does from rights for staff members to equality being reflected in all the work it does and in the laws it passes.

“Therefore, I am pleased to announce that the Assembly is backing Stonewall’s campaign on a day when we should all reflect on the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people all over the world, who are often facing prejudicial, and in some cases barbaric, treatment.”

Sandy Mewies AM, the Assembly Commissioner with responsibility for Equalities issues, added: “It is right that the National Assembly for Wales supports this project.

“This year the Assembly was ranked 20th in Stonewall’s list of top 100 gay-friendly places to work in the UK, up 22 places from last year’s position.

“Supporting this event further demonstrates our commitment to equality in the work place and in wider Wales.”

Stonewall Cymru’s Director Andrew White added: "We're pleased to see Assembly Members marking International Day Against Homophobia by taking a clear stand against homophobic bullying.

"Sadly we know two thirds of young Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual pupils still experience homophobic bullying in our schools. Stonewall Cymru will continue working with Welsh schools to create learning environments where young people can reach their full potential."

In the past year, the National Assembly has undertaken the following work to make the Assembly a more gay-friendly place to work:

  • Our LGBT staff network have started a mentoring programme

  • We continue to work with local partners to celebrate LGBT History Month

  • We continue to have a presence at the Cardiff Mardi Gras – this year, the Presiding Officer spoke on the main stage

  • We have started to produce a monthly equality bulletin which contains information on LGBT news, publications, conferences etc

  • We promote LGBT equality internally, through our inclusive staff policies, training and awareness-raising

  • We have a senior LGBT champion and a number of senior straight allies who promote LGBT equality internally and externally

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