For three decades the Greens have pioneered equality for all, argues campaigner Peter Tatchell. 

The Greens are the only UK-wide party committed to oppose austerity, save public services and tackle climate destruction. That’s why they will get my vote in the general election on 7 May.

They also have the best equality & LGBTIQ policies too:

Green is the new pink. For three decades, the Green Party has led the way on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ) rights. It was the first political party to support same-sex marriage, LGBT sex education in schools and an end to the lifetime ban on gay blood donors. These policies have been spearheaded in parliament by Green MP, Caroline Lucas.

There are, of course, good people in all political parties and most other parties have some good policies. I salute them. However, the Green Party stands above them all, in my view.

The Greens say homophobia is a social evil on a par with racism and sexism, and it must be challenged with equal determination. They believe LGBTIQ people enrich society and that sexual and gender diversity is a positive social good.

Green Party Euro-MEPs have led the campaign to harmonise European laws to guarantee LGBTIQ equality and outlaw homophobic discrimination across the entire continent, from Dublin to Moscow and from Oslo to Athens. We want a “Europe without Homophobia”.

The Greens were also the first UK party to elect an openly gay legislative leader, Darren Johnson, who became head of the Green members in the London Assembly way back in 2000.

The gay rights group Stonewall put the Green-led Brighton Council in first place in their 2014 Education Equality Index. Stonewall has described the council as “leading the way” in celebrating difference and supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

But the Greens are not seeking your support based only on their past record. We’ve got new, exciting policies for the future too – and not just on LGBTIQ issues:

Green policies include helping solve the housing crisis by building hundreds of thousands of affordable new homes for rent and sale. Saving the NHS from privatisation. Ending university tuition fees. Opposing the £100 billion renewal of the Trident nuclear missile programme. A £10 per hour minimum wage by 2020. Halting the profiteering of private rail companies by bringing the railways back into public ownership. Tough action to halt pollution and climate destruction, including big investment in renewable energy and energy conservation.

While the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats support austerity, the Greens do not. We realise that government cuts often have a disproportionate effect on LGBTIQ people because some LGBTIQs depend on public services due to family estrangement, hate crime, discrimination and HIV. Greens oppose Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition cuts in funding for LGBTIQ groups and HIV services. We are determined to end austerity and preserve the vital public services that many people rely on.

On LGBTIQ issues, the Greens have trailblazing policies, including:

(1) Ensure LGBTIQ-inclusive sex and relationship education in all schools and HIV lessons that give safer sex advice to LGBTIQ pupils.

(2) Reduce the unnecessary and discriminatory 12 month blood donation deferral period for men who have sex with men.

(3) Give an apology and pardon to all the 50,000 to 100,000 gay and bisexual men who were convicted of consenting adult same-sex relations under now repealed anti-gay laws.

(4) Require every school to have an anti-bullying programme that explicitly tackles homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

(5) Abolish the discrimination in pension inheritance for same-sex marriage partners and same-sex civil partners – and the trans ‘spousal veto’

(6) End the detention of genuine LGBTIQ (and other) asylum seekers who have fled persecution and stop the frequent refusal to grant them refugee status.

(7) Work to encourage other countries to end the criminalisation of homosexuality and to protect LGBTIQ citizens against discrimination and hate crime.

These are a few of the reasons I am voting Green on 7 May. A big pink vote for the Greens will shake up the grey parties and encourage them to adopt more gay-friendly policies.

Greens have also pioneered action to stop global warming. It threatens human survival. Rising temperatures will melt the polar ice-caps. This will raise sea levels and cause devastating floods. Millions of people will be forced to flee their homes and jobs.

Preventing catastrophic climate change is the precondition for gay life and rights. Without a sustainable planet, there can be no LGBTIQ community and no LGBTIQ future. Only the Greens offer effective policies to avert ecological disaster.

Finally, if you want LGBTIQ human rights, you need to vote for a party that supports LGBTIQ equality. If you don’t vote, you might get an MP and government that fails to represent your interests. For example: Despite David Cameron’s rejection of past Conservative homophobia, his party has no specific policies to tackle the remaining aspects of anti-gay discrimination.

As LGBTIQ people, we need politicians who will defend our rights. The Greens have a long record of supporting LGBTIQ people in Britain and worldwide. Join the Green Party. Help us make Britain a fairer, more equal country for everyone.

This article was originally published on Peter Tatchell’s website and is reposted with permission

Peter Tatchell

About Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell is the Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.