Sadiq Khan believes the UK is a “beacon” of hope for LGBTQ people around the world.
The Mayor of London has proven himself to be an excellent ally throughout his career in politics, and he continued that trend over the weekend as he helped kick off the Pride in London parade, which was attended by hundreds of thousands from around the world.
During an interview with Gay Times ahead of the march, Sadiq spoke with pride of the progress made towards equality in the UK, but also warned that we mustn’t forget that there’s still a long way to go.
“One of the wonderful things about the last few decades is the progress we’ve made in London and the UK, but we mustn’t be complacent,” he said.
“In the past we’ve discussed how we can speed up progress, but now I’m really concerned it could go backwards. One of the things that makes me worry about that is what I’m seeing around the world.
“We’re seeing the persecution of people because of who they are or who they love around the world, and we’ve got to be a beacon to the rest of the world, but we’ve also got to provide a helping hand.
“We can’t be selfish and say, ‘You know what, things are good here so we’ll just keep what we’ve got and forget about the rest of the world’. We can show the world how we did it, and we can lead by example – not in an arrogant way, but by saying, ‘Look, this is how we did it’.
“Also, we know that when London speaks the world listens and watches, and we’ve got a big advocacy role to play in making sure we promote LGBTQ rights.”
Sadiq also praised the LGBTQ community for not only pushing for rights for themselves, but also promoting equality for other groups including ethnic minorities, women and disabled people.
“The LGBTQ community should be so proud, not only have they played a big role in promoting LGBTQ rights, they’ve played a big role in promoting rights in relation to race, and gender, and religion, and belief, and age and disability,” he added.
“You have shown how we can make sure there’s equality full stop, and that’s why it’s so important that you provide your expertise and experiences to the rest of the world as well.”
We also spoke to London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé, ahead of the parade to find out why she thinks Pride in London is still so important in 2018.
“Although we’ve had so many struggles and battles that we’ve won, we still have so many issues that have to be tackled, things like LGBTQ hate crime – which is on the rise – and challenges around our LGBTQ venues,” she explained.
“Also, I think as we have increasing equality here in the UK, we’re becoming increasingly aware of the struggles that other people face around the world.
“It’s important to have a really clear message that London is a place where everyone is welcome, and we need to be open and honest and support our brothers and sisters around the world, and not be afraid to step up to the plate and call people out.”