This month is Pride Month, a celebration that is widely shared across the globe, especially here in Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom, writes Dillon Hughes.
Unfortunately, many people believe still believe in the stereotype that ‘all tories hate the gay community’ – well as a gay, young, Welsh Conservative, I can firmly say that that is not true.
Did you know it was the Conservative led Government in 2013 that legalised same-sex marriage across England & Wales and recently in Northern Ireland? The modern Conservative Party is an ardent support the LGBT+ Community; and as a proud, gay conservative, I feel very privileged to live in a country which is so diverse.
However, unlike the UK, some countries around the world have extremely cruel laws against the LGBT+ community, and for this reason, I feel incredibly lucky to live in such a happy, outward-looking and diverse Wales.
However, the Welsh and UK Governments still has work to do – As one of several distinctive liberal democracies, we must continue to tackle the issue of anti-LGBT laws in countries around the globe.
Being an LGBT+ young person in Wales is hard at the best of times. Speaking from experience, those of us in rural communities often find ourselves with a lack of resources and support from most LGBT+ led charities.
The issue of rural LGBT+ discrimination must be tackled head on; indeed, we can’t be driving young people back into the ‘closet’.
Rural communities often have a lack of understanding; rejecting the diversity and equality that some within urban communities have come so custom to.
In a modern, diverse and outward looking Wales, we shouldn’t not be standing for such disparity. As the LGBT+ Conservative Regional Coordinator for Wales, I’ll be working with my colleagues in Cardiff Bay to ensure this postcode lottery is put to bed once and for all.
The LGBT+ community within rural areas must be listened to. And as we mark the end of this year’s LGBT+ Pride Month, it’s important to be reminded of the fact that those of us within rural welsh communities still face discrimination and prejudice.
That’s why the fight for LGBT+ rights and equality continues.
Pride Month is about celebrating who we are and recognised the achievements of our LGBT+ brothers and sisters. But it’s also about bringing to attention to very real issues LGBT+ people are facing, both at home and abroad.
Being LGBT+ in Wales is promising; we shouldn’t seek to devalue the improvements that have been made over the last fifty years. However there’s more to do. We must end the postcode lottery of equality – and with that, build an equal community for all.
Dillon Hughes is the LGBT+ Conservatives Regional Coordinator for Wales.