Priti Patel ‘using LGBT+ and women’s rights to push police bill forward’

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. (Getty)

Priti Patel has been accused of ‘fronting’ with LGBT+ and women’s rights to push through her terrifying Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The bill, which would, among other things, increase stops and searches and police surveillance, limit protests and restrict the movement of Gypsy, Roma and Traveler communities, has faced fierce and widespread opposition since its inception. first proposal, with ‘Kill the Bill’ march sweeping the UK.

Last month the government proposed changes to the bill, which returns to the House of Commons next week, adding pardons for historic homosexual convictions.

Tyler Hatwell, founder of LGBT Travelers Pride, said Open democracy“I find that very offensive. It’s window dressing. It is purely symbolic.

“I’m not saying the wrongs shouldn’t be righted, but it seems preposterous to focus on that rather than some of the more existential issues facing LGBT+ people today.”

In January, more than 80 activists, politicians, celebrities and rights groups demanded that the bill be defeated in order to “defend the rights to protest and protect progress towards LGBT+ equality”.

The protest was a key catalyst for change when it comes to LGBT+ rights in the UK, and Hatwell said the addition of pardons for those convicted of gay crimes was a “divide and rule” tactic. making it harder for politicians to reject the whole bill.

“The government wants to separate LGBT+ people from any movement against the draconian police bill,” he added.

Priti Patel says her policing bill protects women, while refusing to make misogyny a hate crime

Other measures slipped by the government include a ban on taking pictures of breastfeeding mothers in public, extending the deadline for reporting domestic violence from six months to two years and banning those found guilty of online racism. to attend football matches for up to 10 years.

But on Monday, February 21, Priti Patel announced that she was rejecting calls to make misogyny a hate crime through the bill, ironically describing it as a “symbolic” decision.

Again, the idea that the government is working to protect women’s rights with the Police Bill is an illusion, campaigners say.

Talk to Open democracyLady Phyll, activist icon and founder of UK Black Pride, said: ‘What about black women who die in childbirth in the UK at a rate of four to one? [compared] to white women?

“What about the physical violence that women across the UK experience at the hands of the police?

“What’s the point of banning a racist from a football game, if the police are empowered to beat, detain and injure black people and people of color with impunity?

” What’s the point [it] to do when services that would uplift black people and people of color in this country, such as mental health services, continue to be underfunded? »

Regarding the pardon granted to homosexuals convicted of homosexual crimes, she added: “What is the point of deleting the files of homosexual activity? These recordings shouldn’t exist in the first place, and homophobia and homophobic violence are on the rise in the UK.

Lady Phyll noted that the government’s controversial Sewell report, which denied the existence of institutional racism and was branded a ‘grave offence’ by a leading racial equality think tank, ignored evidence of the impact of racism on LGBT+ people featured by UK Black Pride and other groups.

She added, “We deserve a government that values ​​and treats its LGBT+ citizens as the diverse and deserving citizens it was elected to serve.”