Before the People’s Vote march come stand with LGBT+ people at our anti-Brexit rally

LGBT+ for a People's Vote campaigners. Photograph: Contributed.

LGBT+ for a People's Vote campaigners. Photograph: Contributed. - Credit: Archant

TOM DOLPHIN is calling on People's Vote campaigners to arrive early to stand alongside LGBT+ people in opposing Brexit at their rally.

If you are LGBT+ or an ally, we need you on Saturday. Brexit affects you as much as, if not more than, most people.

Research has highlighted that 71% of LGBT+ people would vote Remain in a People's Vote. Many agree that so far the negotiations on the Brexit deal have been a mess and lots of promises have been broken. We need to ensure our voices are not lost in the noise and that the press and politicians pay attention. Our rights, protections and health are at risk and LGBT+ voices need to be heard.

The EU Charter of Fundamental Human Rights will no longer be binding after Brexit if Parliament fails to retain it as national law, and future governments will be free to alter those protections. Citizens of the UK will no longer be able to appeal to the European Court of Justice when government bodies infringe those rights, for example by discriminating against them. This means that any future UK government will be able to change laws regarding LGBT+ protections without having to meet the standard of the EU Charter. Already, 78% of the LGBT+ community think promises made by Brexit-supporting politicians will be broken. Nothing stops those who call for a British Bill of Rights from proposing and introducing stronger protections than the EU Charter offers now. It therefore seems likely that any new "British rights" on offer will be less powerful than those we have now, if we have to leave the EU to have them.

Statistics from the Home Office show hate crimes against LGBT+ people shot up last year. Hate crime motivated by sexual orientation increased by a quarter, and trans hate crime increased by over a third in just one year. We need stronger protection of LGBT+ rights, not weaker.

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Other rights that come with EU membership and are at risk from Brexit include free movement of goods, people and services; trans rights; employment rights; relationship rights; and asylum. Research has shown that these are particular areas of interest for voters both straight/cis and LGBT+.

When it comes to health, for example, the free movement of goods through NHS supply chains will be disrupted in a No Deal situation, making access to many medicines (including PrEP and HIV medications) much harder and more expensive. With any kind of Brexit, access to medical advances from research in the EU will be slowed; meanwhile vital NHS staff from Europe are already heading back there for a more secure life within the EU.

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Moreover, the UK has become a key player in establishing LGBT+ rights globally but Brexit will weaken our global influence. We will miss the opportunities provided by the European External Action Service in ending LGBT+ persecution. We will limit our ability to prioritise LGBT+ rights internationally, such as through our voting rights within the EU Council and EU Parliament, once we exit the EU. As seen in the 'Norway Model', retaining European Economic Area status without being an EU member state carries a heavy cost and no representative voice. We will be silenced on issues that will directly impact us. This is clearly a worse deal than the one we already have.

Only 0.14% of the British public voted for the current prime minister, yet the course he takes on Brexit is something all of us will have to live with for decades. It's vital for us to have our say.

Come to the LGBT People's Vote pre-march rally this Saturday 19th October, before joining the People's Vote March at noon. You can sign up here.

It's time to march together for the final say.

- Tom Dolphin is a doctor and an activist for LGBT+ for a People's Vote

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