To commemorate Pride Month this year, we at LGBTQ+ Co-operators are launching our new policy document. We have spoken to branches, party councils and the wider Co-operative community all across the country to build a more well rounded document. We believe that if we are fortunate enough to have our policy document implemented as official party policy, the Co-operative Party will cement the position of the Number One Party for LGBTQ+ Rights in the UK.

One of our headline policies is banning Conversion Therapy. This was promised to the community back in 2018 and has still not been enacted; instead, the Government have decided to water down their promise and exclude trans and non-binary Conversion Therapy from the ban. We side with the NHS who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding confirming that Conversion Therapy is a damaging practice for all LGBTQ+ people and must be banned in its entirety. We are grateful to the Welsh Labour & Co-operative Government for moving a full Conversion Therapy ban forward in Wales.

We have been conscious to ensure we include policies that would ensure LGBTQ+ people of all ages feel safe. This includes having an LGBTQ+ Lead in schools, much like the Co-op Academy in Leeds to ensure young people feel safe from bullying in schools and are free to network with other LGBTQ+ people their own age; promoting LGBTQ+ co-operative retirement villages, like Tonic Housing so people don’t have to go back into the closet just because they’re moving into a retirement village; and, tackling hate crime, by encouraging Chief Constables and Police & Crime Commissioners to engage with the local LGBTQ+ community and educate front-line policing staff on LGBTQ+ issues, to ensure LGBTQ+ people feel safe reporting hate crime when it happens.

While there are many improvements that need to be made for society to be more LGBTQ+ friendly, it is important to remember that there are allies who stand up for our rights consistently. For example, recently Co-operative MPs, stood up for trans and non-binary rights for self-identification in Parliament. We hope to work closely with Co-operative representatives at all levels in the future, along with many other allies within the Co-operative movement.

Furthermore, the Labour & Co-operative Government in Wales have put together a progressive LGBT+ Action Plan which puts the current UK and Scottish Governments to shame. Our policy document celebrates the Welsh Labour & Co-operative Government’s record and suggests points to build on in order to ensure full equality and equity. We hope we can work with the Welsh Labour & Co-operative Government to achieve this.

If you would like to learn more about our policy document please click the link, follow us on Twitter @lgbtcooperators, and like us on Facebook @lgbtqcooperators.