The UK Government’s advisory panel, which was set up to address issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community, has been disbanded.
The LGBT panel was established as part of Theresa May’s 2018 LGBT Action Plan. The aim of the advisory panel was to offer insight “on issues and policies concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
According to the BBC, a government spokesman has said a replacement for the panel “will be set out in due course”.
The dissolving of the LGBT panel follows the resignation of three leading equality advisors.
The three UK government advisors quit their roles after accusing Boris Johnson’s administration of creating a “hostile” environment for the LGBTQ+ community.
The first government advisor to quit was Jayne Ozanne a key member of the government’s LGBT advisory panel and a prominent gay evangelical Christian, citing “ignorance” on behalf of ministers about LGBTQ+ issues.
Ozanne announced she’s opted to quit in protest and accused ministers of being “ignorant” about issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community.
“I’ve been increasingly concerned about what is seen to be a hostile environment for LGBT people among this administration,” she told UK Editor Paul Brand in an interview with ITV News.
“Over the years which the advisory panel has met, we’ve seen an increasing lack of engagement and the actions of ministers have frankly been against our advice.”
Following her resignation, advisors James Morton and Ellen Murray followed suit.
In a Twitter statement, Murray said she resigned from the panel due to the “government’s persistent and worsening hostility towards our community in myriad areas,” from “conversion therapy to trans healthcare to the shameful treatment of LGBT refugees”.
She continued to say the UK Government has acted in “appalling faith”.
The BBC reported that Equalities Minister Liz Truss has written to the remaining members of the advisory panel and thanked them for their “constructive input”.
I will also be shortly making an announcement concerning the International LGBT Conference and convening a new body that will take international LGBT rights forward,” Lizz Trust wrote in a letter seen by the broadcaster.
Solidarity with the other panel members that have resigned and best of luck to those that remain. More pressingly, solidarity to those LGBT people whose life is worse now than a few years ago. As a trans person I know that's a lot of people. I see you and I'm furious for you.
— Ellen Murray (@ellenfromnowon) March 11, 2021
On Tuesday (April 13), the Government Equalities Office said in a statement: “The LGBT Advisory Panel was created under the previous administration and the term of all panel members ended on March 31st.
“The Minister for Women & Equalities has written to panel members to thank them for their contributions, and plans for a replacement for the Panel will be set out in due course.”
In a recent tweet, Jane Ozanne said it was a “shame” the LGBT Advisory Panel was being disbanded.
“It was a force for good, where the needs of #LGBT people could be heard & understood,” Ozanne posted. “This does nothing to rebuild trust or reassure #LGBT community of their grave concerns.”
The government have rejected the notion that the disbanding of the panel implies LGBTQ+ issues are not a top priority.
“The Government is committed to building a country in which everyone, no matter their sexuality, is free to live as they choose,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman has said. “We are committed to this important work and will continue to drive it forward.”
— Jayne Ozanne (@JayneOzanne) April 13, 2021
Liberal Democrat equalities spokeswoman Wera Hobhouse shared a post online addressing the news of the panel’s disbandment.
“This is a step backwards when we badly need progress. LGBTQ+ people still face far, far too much discrimination. This Tory Govt must do more,” Hobhouse wrote.
This is a step backwards when we badly need progress.
LGBTQ+ people still face far, far too much discrimination. This Tory Govt must do more.@LibDems will keep fighting to build a fairer, more equal society where EVERY person’s rights and dignity are respected. https://t.co/TxzcjnvrOd
— Wera Hobhouse MP 🔶 (@Wera_Hobhouse) April 13, 2021