Today’s news review looks at the commentary following the recent LGBT announcement.
On Sunday 23 July, the Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Justine Greening, announced a new consultation as part of a review of the Gender Recognition Act, with a view to considering options for streamlining the process for legally changing gender. The consultation is planned for the autumn.
Alongside this, a nationwide survey will collect the views and experiences of LGBT people on health, safety and education to inform future Government policy on LGBT issues and to update and improve the process.
The Department of Health separately announced that the government has accepted the recommendations of the independent Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) to change the deferral periods for blood donation from certain groups.
There has since been follow-up coverage and commentary, some of which has been critical of the new blood donation rules and raised concerns around religious freedom and wider equality reforms.
As the independent advisory committee has said, the UK has one of the safest blood supplies in the world, and experts from around the country have analysed the latest information so even more people can have the opportunity to donate blood. Read more here.
With regards to same-sex marriage, the government respects the principles of religious freedom and has been very clear that it is for the Church of England to decide if it will perform same-sex marriages. The Secretary of State reiterated this position on Sky News with Sophy Ridge on Sunday (23 July) when she said she wouldn’t prescribe to the Church how it should deal with the issue.
More broadly, the DfE continues work to drive up education standards. Schools standards continue to rise – with nine out of ten schools now rated good or outstanding and Key Stage Two results showing sustained progress in reading, writing and maths. The UK has a world-class higher education system and the department has recently announced major reforms to the FE and technical education sector.
Taken together, these plans illustrate the government’s commitment to social mobility by making sure Britain is a country that works for everyone, whatever their background.
Read more about the new measures to promote greater equality for the LGBT community here.