Thank you all for your support today and particular thanks to The Lord Scriven of Hunters Bar for hosting this event and to my partner for 20 years Richard Hopkins.
In 1987 I arrived in this diverse and multicultural city that is
at the same time that the AIDS Gravestone campaign "don't die of ignorance " was
launched by the Health Secretary at the time, Norman Fowler, now Lord Fowler, Speaker of the House of Lords. London
Rising negative sentiments towards homosexuality peaked. 75% of the population said that homosexual activity was "always or mostly wrong", Section 28 arrived the year after. Last week, the Prime Minister apologised and admitted that she and her party got it wrong on things like the Section 28 and promised new actions to counter present injustices, she embraced, endorsed and thanked the LGBT citizens of this country.
As you have seen, this evening is to celebrate our diversity and inclusion in Civil Society.
I was told that I inspired people as a role model and I was also told recently that having a reception in the House of Lords for The Gay Professional Network was the opposite of being inclusive. I replied that everyone was welcome, builders and plasterers included, and you will have seen that they are already at work here...
Indeed they are welcome, in those particular trade, homophobia is rife.
Homophobia is a word like transphobia and biphobia that I cannot suffer, just like racism and other "isms", yet I accept that phobia is a disorder with irrational fears.
By understanding this we can help educate at an early age, at home and at school, what it means to be part of a diverse community linked by common interests and collective activities.
Education is key to alleviate all fears and show that we are all human whatever our sexualities. I want my nephews and great nephews to never question again why 2 same sex partners is ok.
Diversity is the range of human differences .
Inclusion is involvement and empowerment.
At the Gay Professional Network, we promote and sustain a sense of belonging; we value and practice respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds and ways of living of our members. This is the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organisation's success. We do not exclude any groups.
Equality is the current term for equal opportunities and is based on the legal obligation to comply with anti-discrimination legislation, we are here today in the seat of legislation. Equality protects us from being discriminated against. Let's not forget our achievements and never be complacent.
Together we tackle discrimination, homophobia and any other phobias related to the LGBT+ community, in the press and the social media, we promote education in schools, families and everywhere to teach love and respect for all mankind.
It is not acceptable that in 2018 according to last week's government survey there is FEAR in our community to hold hands for fear of abuse and not reporting abuse.
Can you believe that in this country "Gay conversion therapy" is still happening and legal? Although all major counselling and psychotherapy bodies, as well as the NHS, have concluded that it is dangerous and have condemned it .
By Professional I mean being professional at what you do, whatever you are doing. My Father who was a Doctor always told me: "Whatever you do, do it professionally and to the best of your knowledge and ability".
I believe what comes around, goes around and by being nice to everyone, you shall reap the rewards. Achieve your dreams not by being mean but mean to achieve your dreams.
Nobody ever gains from negative thoughts: the only people who benefit from negative equities are bankers.
The Gay Professional Network is very active in the World, it builds lasting social & professional relationships.
A few days ago I put in touch two members from
Adelaide and Melbourne
in . Australia
I am convinced that we are all connected by not 6 but 3 degrees of separation.
I do invite you to visit www.gpn.one for more details about our organisation and if you are not yet a member, please join, it is only £20 a year and gives you and others so much.
Lord Scriven of Hunters Bar is a liberal democrat peer and former leader of Sheffield City Council, he is still a councillor. He was described once as Nick Clegs's closest ally in local government. He is a businessman consulting in the public & private sector, training and development and an amazing advocate of the LGBT rights in
and abroad. He married his partner Dr David Black last year. UK
Thank you again my Lord Scriven for allowing me to say this few words and may I now ask you to say a few.