Kezia Dugdale warns against complacency on LGBT rights as she accepts Pink News award

26th October, 2016 6:45 pm

Kezia Dugdale 2

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has been voted as member of the year, the award for elected politicians, at awards ceremony for Pink News, the LGBT news site, tonight.

In accepting the honour Dugdale, who announced publicly that is was in a same sex relationship earlier this year, said was not taking it for herself, but for “the generations of LGBT politicians who I hope will come after me, and who every one of us in this room have to inspire to come forward.”

She used her keynote speech to guard against complacency about hard won LGBT rights in Scotland, and urged people to continue to fight for equality and against discrimination.

She spoke of the need not only for representation of women and LGBT people, but more importantly for them to work for improved rights for all.

Referring to the three main Scottish parties currently all being led by women, Dugdale said “that in and of itself is not enough” and that whilst they can be ” great role models for the next generation of women… we have to understand that we live very privileged lives in urban centres with a huge amount of support to be the very best that we can be.”

“It’s just not enough to be a woman in politics. We need to be feminists with influence to actually drive the cultural change that we want to see, not to simply settle for embodying it” she stated.

Similarly, being an openly gay woman politician is, she feels, not sufficient: “I know I have a duty to use that power and influence to deliver for the LGBT community.”

Speaking of the recent increase in hate crimes, she said: “when times are tough, it is too often minority groups – of all types – that are first to pay the price.”

She listed her own achievements in Scottish Parliament, stating how she alongside other parties “helped establish the Scottish Parliament’s first Cross Party Group on LGBTI issues” she “reestablished the Cross Party Group on Sexual Health and Blood Borne Viruses” and has “led the debate and pushed the Scottish Government to take action to ensure access to PrEp in Scotland.”

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