Jonathan Cooper OBE is a lawyer and human rights specialist
The House of Commons has voted to reject the only treaty binding on the UK that expressly protects against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. If the EU withdrawal bill is unamended in the Lords, the EU charter will cease to have effect in UK law after Brexit. Article 21 of the charter, inter alia, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The LGBT community in the UK remains vulnerable and marginalised. Some still despise us. In the past decade or so, exponentially our rights have been recognised in law. It’s been extraordinary to witness, as well as experience. But as is well documented, meaningful equality eludes LGBT people. The type of everyday normalcy that heterosexual people can take for granted is still not an option for countless LGBT people. Does that lack of equality result in harm? Sometimes it can. Other stuff we just put up with. That’s why we need as much protection as possible.
Can we take our newfound rights for granted? Objectively we may know that they are secure, but as the overwhelming majority of us will have experienced or observed some form of hate against LGBT people, we don’t trust that our rights are for real. We grew up expecting to be harmed because we were LGBT. Therefore, to take away existing protections for LGBT people without replacing them with something comparable or better, is deeply damaging for the LGBT community on multiple levels. Read more via the Guardian