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MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

With the next month’s General Election on the horizon, Gaylife spoke to the main 5 party candidates standing in ‘Manchester Central’ for their opinions on issues concerning the LGBT community. We asked every candidate the same ten questions, and have published their answers in full, without prejudice. To make things interesting, we’ve printed our questions, with each candidates response below, rather than in an interview format – thus making it easier for you to compare their opinions. Firstly, lets meet our candidates….

ge-conservativeXINGANG WANG  (Conservative)
Xingang was born and raised in mainland China and came to England after his university degree in 2001. He is currently the subgroup founder and chairman of Conservative Friends of the Chinese after running in the local council election in 2014. Currently working in accounting, he was academically trained in Imperial College, Oxford University and Harvard Business School. Outside of the office he is also a magistrate, school governor and amateur writer.

ge-greenKIERAN TURNER-DAVE  (Green)
Kieran moved to Manchester in 2009 to study Philosophy. During which time he took part in demonstrations against austerity, fracking, the rise in tuition fees and the privatisation of the NHS. He joined the Greens in 2013, and is eager to engage groups with previously low voter turnout, especially young and minority voters. He is also working to represent Mancunians who feel that their concerns are ignored by the four pro-austerity parties.

ge-labourLUCY POWELL  (Labour)
Lucy was born in Moss Side. She studied chemistry at King’s College London and began her political career working as a parliamentary assistant for Beverley Hughes MP, having previously worked at the Labour Party Headquarters during the 1997 general election campaign. She is the current member of parliament for Manchester Central in the House of Commons and the first female Labour MP in Manchester. She was elected in the November 2012 Manchester Central by-election.

ge-libdemJOHN REID  (Liberal Democrat)
John C. Reid is the founder of CDR, a specialist technology company. Before establishing the business he acted as a research consultant for the UK branch of a worldwide humanitarian organisation. John helped develop social policy relating to vulnerable elderly adults. The findings were used to reform established local government practices. John has also provided critical analysis of UK government green and white papers.

ge-ukipMYLES POWER (UKIP)
Myles was born in Singapore in 1974. Living in Manchester for over ten years, he has decided to stand for parliament to fight for Manchester’s interests. He believes that the United Kingdom should remain at the forefront of international decisions and champions the growth of the local community giving everyone the opportunity to succeed in life.

ge-gaylifeGAYLIFE asked… In 2013 MPs voted narrowly in favour of Gay Marriage. Now in 2015, (and still without a single inter-sibling marriage in sight), British politics still appears to be a rather homophobic place. The recent resignation of the UKIP LGBT chair, Tom Booker, who sited a “lack of gay friendly tone” amongst his reasons, seems to prove this. How can today’s politicians engage with the LGBT community more?

ge-conservativeXINGANG WANG  (Conservative)
Conservatives are working hard to encourage and support candidates from all our communities to stand as elected representatives, both through campaign days and financial support. LGBT people are still under-represented across all of our assemblies and parliaments, and the Conservative Party as a party of inclusion, is committed to helping them overcome any barriers to standing. Indeed, with 38 LGBT candidates, the Conservative party is leading the way. I wouldn’t like to comment on the situation in UKIP, but let’s just say, that UKIP doesn’t look too friendly to many in our communities…

ge-greenKIERAN TURNER-DAVE  (Green)
The culture in Westminster seems to be ‘whoever shouts the loudest gets the most attention’. I am ashamed whenever I see footage of Prime Minister’s Questions and see a room full of grown men shouting and jeering at each other. It’s juvenile and undemocratic. It’s unsurprising that people feel there is a ‘lack of gay friendly tone in politics’ as Westminster does not represent minorities. LGBTIQ people are underrepresented in Parliament, as are women and ethnic minorities. However, private-school educated, white, male millionaires are massively over-represented. I believe that moving to Proportional Representation system would help break up the confrontational, macho nature of two-party politics. I would also welcome as many LGBTIQ people as possible to join the Greens, make your opinions heard, and run in the next election. We can’t expect better representation if we don’t start getting involved!

ge-labourLUCY POWELL  (Labour)
Well it doesn’t surprise me that the UKIP LGBT chair found that his party a homophobic place to be. UKIP’s record on gay rights in Europe is appalling and Nigel Farage was an open critic of gay marriage when it was discussed in Parliament. All politicians and political parties have a duty to reach out and engage with all communities but particularly those who may be harder to reach. Manchester is a fantastic city precisely because it is so welcoming and diverse, proud of its support for the LGBT rights. Labour has a good record here – we have lots of LGBT councillors and make a real effort to engage with local people. I think we’ve come an incredibly long way on LGBT rights in the last twenty years and the country and politicians – in the main – are much more tolerant. Yes there are still issues with fringe parties like UKIP and parts of the Conservative Party but the homophobia we saw in the past has reduced markedly although of course there is more still to do. Labour brought about the vast majority of the legislative changes that benefit LGBT people today whether that was civil partnerships, equalising the age of consent, ending the ban on LGBT people in the military, opening up adoption or the Gender Recognition Act. Equal marriage was another important step on the road to equality.Iwas incredibly proud to supportit. I think this is a good example of how politicians can engage with the LGBT community more – equal marriage was a priority for the LGBT community after we achieved civil partnerships and I think the groundswell of support for moving further than this to full equality on marriage was achieved because of the engagement between the LGBT community and politicians.

ge-libdemJOHN REID  (Liberal Democrat)
Liberal Democrats were the first major party to create policy to support Equal Marriage for all couples. It is something that party is very proud of, and adds to our long record on campaigning and supporting for LGBT+ issues. Tom Brooker’s experience in UKIP does not come as a surprise, but nevertheless is sad. Unfortunately UKIP’s core values do not seem to reconcile with LGBT values and equality. They want a better yesterday, we want a better tomorrow.

ge-ukipMYLES POWER (UKIP)
Politicians should not seek to engage with any group ahead of any other group. Everyone is a member of some kind of minority group and it is the job of government to produce policies that provide equality of opportunity for all, so that people can live their lives however they chose to. Singling out a particular section of society for special treatment is a sure fire way of promoting division and resentment, and that is the opposite of what members of a minority community want.

ge-gaylifeGAYLIFE asked… We regularly hear cases of gay people who seek asylum in Britain, ending up in detention centres with the threat of deportation hanging over them, and having to answer insulting questions to “prove” they are gay. How can this be tackled in a more appropriate manner, whilst maintaining asylum targets set by the government?

ge-conservativeXINGANG WANG  (Conservative)
To seek asylum in another country is a very stressful experience, and it’s not a situation anyone of us would like to find ourselves in. We need to make sure that all asylum seekers are treated with dignity, and that they receive fair and objective assessment of their case. Nobody should be subjected to homophobic abuse while in the detention centre, or anywhere else for that matter. The authorities have, at the same time, the duty of ensuring that only genuine and eligible asylums are granted. It is a very hard balancing act, but common sense should prevail, and basic human rights should be at the forefront.

ge-greenKIERAN TURNER-DAVE  (Green)
I recently had the privilege of meeting Aderonke Apata. Aderonke is an incredibly courageous woman who has been through a horrific ordeal in both Nigeria and the UK because of her sexuality. I met with Aderonke to show solidarity and support. At the most recent Green Party conference we voted unanimously to stop the deportation of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum from persecution or imprisonment in their home nations. If we, as a nation, force people to return to countries where they face threats of murder, rape and imprisonment – we are complicit in their punishment.

ge-labourLUCY POWELL  (Labour)
Labour are against the government’s net migration target exactly for this reason. We understand the need to control immigration but this needs to be done in a fair way and I do not think that it is fair to include asylum seekers in a figure for net migration. It is a crude way to control immigration and risks punishing people who come to the UK for vital protection from persecution. LGBT people across the world face horrific violence and injustice and we have a moral duty to be a safe haven and to use our international standing to encourage countries to improve LGBT rights. There does seem to be a problem with the implementation of government policy for LGBT asylum seekers. There have been reports of shocking practices such as sexually explicit questioning which is unacceptable. Sometimes the questions asked by the Home Office mean that the applicant is set up to fail and based on a distorted view of what an LGBT lifestyle must look like. It is slightly unusual to ask an asylum seeker living on £5 per day whether they have been visiting gay clubs or buying gay magazines for example. There have also been cases where the Home Office have said that gay people can return to their home country and “live discreetly” meaning to hide their sexuality. This was completely wrong in my mind and was overruled by a Supreme Court judgement. Manchester is renowned for being a gay-friendly city and this is something us Mancunians are very proud of. This is a stark contrast with the situation in other parts of the world where often the rights of LGBT people seem to be being taken away rather than strengthened. I want the UK to be proud of our record on gay rights but also work to promote the rights of LGBT internationally.

ge-libdemJOHN REID  (Liberal Democrat)
Asylum should not be about numbers or quotas. I am pleased that the Lib Dems in government have switched our asylum policy on LGBT people fleeing persecution from the previous Labour system whereby people had to prove they faced a threat. Frustratingly this seems not to have filtered through to the front line work which we are working hard on to address.

ge-ukipMYLES POWER (UKIP)
This is a disgraceful practice and must be stopped.  It is extremely unfortunate that in the world today there are still countries who persecute and execute people for their sexuality.  UKIP is a libertarian party and believes that people of all colours, religious beliefs and sexual orientation should be allowed to live in peace from any persecution. It should be accepted that if a person indicates that they are gay then their statement should be taken as true.

ge-gaylifeGAYLIFE asked… With homophobic attacks and bullying, seemingly back on the rise throughout the UK, what do you think are the reasons behind this, and what are the best ways to tackle it?

ge-conservativeXINGANG WANG  (Conservative)
It is a real issue in the UK and we have to take this type of vile abuse very seriously. There has to be a zero tolerance to homophobic attacks. Full stop. Although there is still a problem with under-reporting, it is encouraging that more people are able and willing to report the crimes to the police, which can be partly responsible for the rise in numbers.

ge-greenKIERAN TURNER-DAVE  (Green)
There needs to be action taken by schools, teachers, parents and students to stop homophobic bullying. In the education system, we need to punish the use of homophobic and transphobic language in the same way we would punish the use of racial slurs. The Green MP, Dr. Caroline Lucas, is calling for mandatory PSHE classes in schools to tackle bigotry and ignorance in schools. The Greens would also like to invest in a network of Young People’s Centres across the country, where young people can meet to discuss issues like sexuality and gender in a safe environment.

ge-labourLUCY POWELL  (Labour)
Research by Stonewall has shown that more than half of gay young people have experienced homophobic bullying and that for the majority this affects their school work and can impact on their self-esteem and ambitions. These young people are often more likely to self-harm and contemplate suicide. Over a third of gay pupils still feel unable to speak out when they are bullied. I think that it is absolutely vital to challenge homophobia in schools through education. Labour has a plan to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying. We would ensure that all new teachers are trained to tackle homophobic bullying; provide support for those teachers already in the system to receive training to tackle homophobic bullying; make age appropriate sex and relationships education compulsory in all schools; promote mental health services for young people living with the consequences of homophobic bullying and provide a national best practice ‘toolkit’ to equip schools with the resources to tackle Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic bullying. We also need to make sure that people feel confident in services like the Police when they are reporting crimes and we need to create a culture that is clear that homophobiais not acceptable. Increasingly bullying takes place online through social media and we need to be clear that bullying online is not acceptable either and make sure that agencies like the Police are able to deal with this new challenge. Labour have pledged to toughen up the law around hate crime.

ge-libdemJOHN REID  (Liberal Democrat)
Lib Dem Equality Minister Jo Swinson in March announced £2m in funding for projects to tackle LGBT-phobic bullying in schools and we need to start there, to change the culture in schools to effect a generational change for the long term.  It’s a complex issue – we know hate attacks tend to increase during tough economic times as we have had since 2007, and some of the tone of public debate on issues like same-sex marriage can affect this in the short term too. The greater opportunity for reporting also affects the headline figures, and in turn can help focus police resources.

ge-ukipMYLES POWER (UKIP)
Homophobic attacks are on the increase because more and more people are feeling confident enough to report hate crimes to the police, which is encouraging.  What is not encouraging is that people feel the need to single people out just because in their opinion they are different.  It is always best to tackle prejudice through education.

ge-gaylifeGAYLIFE asked… In the event of another coalition government, which party do you see yourselves working with the most effectively, and why?

ge-conservativeXINGANG WANG  (Conservative)
We are aiming to gain outright majority. I don’t want to speculate on our potential partners, if we find ourselves in a situation that we have to form another coalition government, but I think this government did really well in turning around the economy and improving lives of people of Britain.

ge-greenKIERAN TURNER-DAVE  (Green)
At Conference members of the Green Party voted on what kind of government we would be willing to work with on May 8th 2015. Firstly, we will do our utmost to prevent another Conservative government. We also agreed to never support a government that contained UKIP, as they are a bigoted party that opposed equal marriage. We then essentially ruled out joining any formal coalition after this particular election. However, we are allowing for the possibility of a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with a government involving Labour, Lib Dems, SNP and/or Plaid. Most importantly, we agreed to make austerity a ‘red line’ that we would not cross in any negotiation. We refuse to support any further cuts to public spending.

ge-labourLUCY POWELL  (Labour)
In my role as vice chair of Labour’s general election campaign I am working hard campaigning for a Labour majority. Labour have a clear set of policies we believe in and it is now our job to sell them to the country. We believe Britain succeeds when working families succeed and we’ll be taking that message out to the electorate during the campaign.

JOHN REID  (Liberal Democrat)
The Liberal Democrats will work in a manner which ensures delivery of the most Lib Dem policies and a more Liberal society.

ge-ukipMYLES POWER (UKIP)
It is impossible to say at the moment. The last coalition partners had to rip up their pre-election manifestos to reach a power sharing agreement. So whatever is in the election manifestos of Labour and the tories this year is not what the public will get after the election. UKIP have said we will not enter a coalition so are the only party that will be fighting after the election for the policies in the manifesto we publish before the election.

ge-gaylifeGAYLIFE asked… It seems like we are ‘sleepwalking’ our way out of the EU. Is it still important for the UK to remain, or has the passage of time made the EU irrelevant for modern Britain?

ge-conservativeXINGANG WANG  (Conservative)
The important thing is, that only if we have a Conservative government after May 7th, the British public can decide in a referendum. No other party can, or will, give you the choice. I personally think the EU isn’t irrelevant to modern Britain, and that we should stay part of it, but the EU has to be reformed for the benefit and sake of all the EU citizens.

ge-greenKIERAN TURNER-DAVE  (Green)
The EU is by no means perfect. The lobbyists, expenses and bureaucracy are undermining the Union’s democratic intentions. The TTIP agreement especially is potentially the greatest threat to the future of the UK. That said, the EU is also the world’s largest economy, has maintained peace in Europe, and is our best chance at fighting international crime and climate change. The Greens support an EU referendum. I would vote to stay in the EU in that referendum. I then think that we should focus on fighting to reform the EU. Having a place at the table to change an imperfect Union is more preferable than having no voice outside of it.

ge-labourLUCY POWELL  (Labour)
As the world becomes a smaller place with globalisation and mass travel the EU has become more not less relevant. Yet under David Cameron there is a real danger of “sleepwalking” our way out of Europe. David Cameron has shown that he is weak in the face of his Eurosceptic backbenchers and UKIP defectors and as a result, Britain has become more isolated and less influential under his watch.  I’m very clear that we benefit from our membership of the European Union and we are stronger together. British business relies on our trade with EU states and although there are reforms we would like to see in the EU to make the Union more effective and more focused on dealing with the problems we face our membership of the EU far outweighs any negatives.

ge-libdemJOHN REID  (Liberal Democrat)
Liberal Democrats are the only party that truly understands that Britain is stronger in the world when we work with other countries to solve our problems and support our economy.This includes being at the heart of Europe. The Conservatives announced their plans to scrap the Human Rights Act and the link between the British courts and the European Court of Human Rights and want to pick and choose human rights. Liberal Democrats believe strongly in individual freedoms and protecting human rights including those relating to gender and sexuality. Liberal Democrats believe we need to reform the EU to make it more competitive, efficient and accountable.

ge-ukipMYLES POWER (UKIP)
We are not ‘sleep walking’ out of the EU, we are sensibly distancing ourselves from it quite deliberately. We only ever voted for a trade agreement with other European countries, and that is still relevant, albeit decreasingly so as other world economies grow. With the EU in economic decline and other nations growing Britain needs the freedom to enter trade agreements with developing markets. We can’t do that while in the EU, we need to have their permission, and guess what, if it’s not in Germany’s interests or France’s interests, they’ll say ‘no’.

ge-gaylifeGAYLIFE asked… Manchester’s homelessness crisis is getting worse. You cannot walk down a street anywhere in the city without being approached at least twice. There’s not enough night shelters and those there are, are overcrowded and undermanned. How do we tackle this head on as a community?

ge-conservativeXINGANG WANG  (Conservative)
It is always tragic when a person becomes homeless. I agree that more housing support should be made available for the ones in need, but it shouldn’t become a life choice, we need to help people to get back on their feet and, in some cases, help them to get rid of their drug or alcohol addiction, which might have caused their homeless situation in the first place.

ge-greenKIERAN TURNER-DAVE  (Green)
Manchester’s Labour council recently voted unanimously on £50million of cuts that included slashing the budget for homelessness and mental health services in the City. Coupled with benefit sanctions, the bedroom tax, and a lack of affordable housing; it is unsurprising that homelessness is on the increase. There is no excuse for anyone in a society as wealthy as ours to be without a home. I believe that pressure should be put on high street shops to build homeless shelters rather than ‘anti-homeless’ spikes. I would also like to see empty properties brought back into use through community occupations and Empty Property Use Orders. Most importantly, we need to build half a million affordable social homes to rent, rather than focussing house-building on the whims of foreign investors and wealthy landlords.

ge-labourLUCY POWELL  (Labour)
There has been a big rise in homelessness under this government and the hugely unfair cuts to Council budgets like Manchester means there is even less money to support people who need it. Between 2010/11 and 2015/16, Manchester has experienced the eighth biggest cut per resident to its spending power out of all councils in England – this equates to £311.94 less per head whilst some  Councils in the affluent south have received no cuts at all. I have met with homeless services in my constituency including the fantastic Chapter One The Limes and heard about the increasing challenges they face trying to support homeless people. One of the things that they have noticed is that more and more people are receiving benefit sanctions when they have done little or nothing wrong and this can have a devastating effect on homeless people. The Tory Lib-Dem government have set targets for jobcentres to issue sanctions and this means that many people are being sanctioned simply to meet targets. This is a completely unacceptable way to treat people and Labour have said that they would scrap benefit sanctions targets.

ge-libdemJOHN REID  (Liberal Democrat)
In March 2015, the Chief Executive of Crisis gave his support to the policies set out by the Liberal Democrats and the review of the ‘single homeless provision’.Addressing the causes of homelessness are critical – in government the Lib Dems have boosted the funding for mental health services to help provide support for those people who have mental health issues which are common factors in contributing to homelessness. In the short term further funding and community support is required to address any overcrowding at night shelters.

ge-ukipMYLES POWER (UKIP)
Unfortunately not everyone who appears to be homeless is homeless. There are a lot of homeless people who are former serving military personnel. UKIP is committed to ensuring that those who have put their life on the line in the service of their country are provided for when they leave the services. This would be an initial solution to the problem. Furthermore there should be more investment in over night shelters.

ge-gaylifeGAYLIFE asked… Now that the economy is on the mend, can we expect to see grants for some of Manchester’s most important LGBT and AIDS charities re-emerge?

ge-conservativeXINGANG WANG  (Conservative)
I appreciate the work these charities do, especially here in Manchester, where is the highest prevalence of HIV outside of London. The Conservative government has devolved more spending powers to Manchester, and as I said before, unfortunately Manchester City Council is now run solely by the Labour party and its decisions regarding spending are made without any questioning or challenging. If I’m elected as an MP, I would like to see money in my Constituency to be spend purposely, and I would support the most important and beneficial projects coming from LGBT and AIDS charities.

ge-greenKIERAN TURNER-DAVE  (Green)
At the 2013 Lord Mayor’s banquet David Cameron stated that his long-term economic plan was “permanent austerity”. The Labour Party joined him by signing up to the Tories plan for £30billion of national austerity cuts. Last month, the Labour council passed £50million cuts to Manchester charities. As long as there are parties in power that support the cutting of state funding, tax loopholes for the rich and the privatisation of public services; I wouldn’t expect increased charity grants any time soon.

ge-labourLUCY POWELL  (Labour)
The truth is that Tory Lib Dem cuts to Manchester Council’s budget has been huge and unfair and the result is that vital services are at threat. The economy has eventually started to improve but this improvement will not be shared fairly under the Tory plans. Tory cuts to Councils like ours cut the very support that many groups like this rely on. If the cuts had been fairer and more balanced across the country Manchester City Council would have had a million pounds more per week to spend on services.

ge-libdemJOHN REID  (Liberal Democrat)
The Lib Dems have helped build a stronger economy whilst in government. We would hope that in the future as more funding becomes available that there would be grants to help build a fairer society, including funding for LGBT and AIDS charities.

ge-ukipMYLES POWER (UKIP)
Unfortunately due to Labours mis-management of the economy and the austerity measures brought about by the Con Dem coalition, money is tight for everyone. However with that said all worthwhile causes will be given the same amount of increase in grant that they rightly deserve.

ge-gaylifeGAYLIFE asked… LGBT events in the city, allegedly receive grants of far less value than those given to other events. For example ‘Manchester Day’ and ‘Chinese New Year’. Why is this?

ge-conservativeXINGANG WANG  (Conservative)
I think, that this is a question for the Labour run Council, how they prioritise, how they look after, and how they spend, our tax money…

ge-greenKIERAN TURNER-DAVE  (Green)
It’s a shame that Pride, an event that began as a radical subculture demonstration, is now being used as an excuse to close public roads and sell expensive tickets to nightclubs. I imagine that LGBTIQ events are receiving less grant funding due to the heavy private investment that they receive. I personally think that’s a shame, as young LGBTIQ people are being priced out of The Village’s biggest annual celebration. I would gladly support more funding for more inclusive events that focussed on bringing the community together and supporting young people who may be struggling with their identity.

ge-labourLUCY POWELL  (Labour)
I am very proud to represent such a diverse and interesting constituency. Manchester Pride is an incredibly popular and successful event which honours LGBT people in MCR and promotes the village and the city in general and something which we are very proud of here. I don’t know the figures for the grants received by the range of events that take place in Manchester but I have been proud to attend Pride with my children. I think it is important to celebrate the huge strides forward in this country but also to acknowledge how much more there is to do around the world.

ge-libdemJOHN REID  (Liberal Democrat)
Currently Manchester City council is made up only of Labour councillors. With no opposition councillors it difficult to challenge their choices on grants and funding. I hope that any grants are distributed in a fair manner and take into account the costs associated with policing and clean-up of any event as well as the positive contribution the event makes to the residents of Manchester.

ge-ukipMYLES POWER (UKIP)
I would be interested to see the justification the city council is using for its funding decisions, but at the moment, you would have to ask them, I don’t get a say in the matter.

ge-gaylifeGAYLIFE asked… Labour plan to make LGBT-inclusive sex education compulsory in schools. How would that be enforced with teachers who do not agree or those with religious arguments?

ge-conservativeXINGANG WANG  (Conservative)
Sex and relationship education is compulsory at schools as part of the basic curriculum already. It is important we prepare our children on life in modern, prejudice-free, Britain. All schools have to embrace core British values and diversity and openness are firm part of the values, that shouldn’t be up for debate.

ge-greenKIERAN TURNER-DAVE  (Green)
I’m sure there are some teachers that feel uncomfortable teaching heterosexual sex education. There may also be religious teachers that are uncomfortable teaching about Darwinian evolution by natural selection or The Big Bang. That doesn’t mean that these subjects are ignored, because they are necessary for students to learn. The same is true for LGBTIQ sex education. We have an obligation to teach future generations that all relationships based on mutual love, consent and respect are equally valid. It may be an issue for faith schools, but I believe we should be using equality and diversity legislation to ensure that all sexual relationships are discussed, so that no student is made to feel that their gender or orientation is somehow abnormal.

ge-labourLUCY POWELL  (Labour)
Promoting, supporting and observing the rights of minority groups, including LGBT people, are exactly the sort of values that we should be teaching the next generation. Labour’s plans place the importance of respect for each other, whatever a person’s sexual orientation, at the heart of our children’s development. We’ve had a number of opportunities in this Parliament to strengthen sex and relationship education but the Tories and Lid Dems have not supported this. It is disappointing that the Tories have not supported Labour’s plans on the teaching of sex and relationships in schools.

ge-libdemJOHN REID  (Liberal Democrat)
We welcome Labour’s recent conversion to the Lib Dem position on this. There have been similar problems with ‘straight’ sex education which some teachers have not been comfortable with. These teachers need the appropriate training and support, however, the need of the children to have a comprehensive education should take precedence.

ge-ukipMYLES POWER (UKIP)
Where somebody is paid out of the public purse, they must carry out the tasks of their job. We cannot allow for state funded discrimination, but that has to work across the board, whether it is teachers in the classroom or social workers afraid of being politically incorrect.

ge-gaylifeGAYLIFE asked… Finally, can you sum up for us, why members of the Manchester LGBT community should vote for you on May 7th?

ge-conservativeXINGANG WANG  (Conservative)
My priorities are to support our long term economic plan, help to build a Northern Powerhouse, improve transport links, reduce crime and raise education standards across Manchester. Achieving these will benefit everybody in the community. On LGBT rights, the Conservatives have delivered same-sex marriage, enabled the deletion of historic sexual offence convictions and have launched a fund to tackle homophobic bullying in schools. By the way, did you know, that the Conservative Party have a proud record of having more out MPs than all of the other parties put together?

ge-greenKIERAN TURNER-DAVE  (Green)
Austerity cuts are disproportionately affecting the LGBT community. Youth, housing, mental health, anti-hate crime, gender identity and sexual health services are being cut at a time when we need them more than ever. Another five years of austerity could undo all the great work that the LGBT movement has fought so hard for. The Greens are the only citywide party calling for an end to austerity cuts and the protection of our public services. We came 2nd in the 2014 local elections in Manchester, and want to build on that success to prevent further cuts to our community. We would balance the economy by progressively taxing the superrich, paying off the deficit, and investing in a sustainable future for our city and our country. I hope you consider joining us by saying NO to austerity on May 7th.

ge-labourLUCY POWELL  (Labour)
Throughout my life I have been a passionate supporter of LGBT rights and have championed equal marriage, adoption rights, support for LGBT children and the right to be free from discrimination at work and in public. The Labour Party has been at the forefront of the fight for change and will continue to do so. Labour’s record in government shows our commitment to LGBT rights- an equal age of consent, the right to adopt children, scrapping the homophobic Section 28 (Clause 2a in Scotland),  banning discrimination in the workplace, creating civil partnerships and backing gay marriage and allowing Trans people to have their true gender recognised in law. Ed Miliband recently announced a pardon for anyone convicted under old homosexuality laws. This acknowledgment that their convictions were wrong would be a powerful symbol of acceptance for their families. There is much more to do and I will continue to take up the fight for LGBT rights.

ge-libdemJOHN REID  (Liberal Democrat)
Liberal Democrats want a stronger economy and a fairer society enabling everyone to get on in life. Thanks to our role in government we have delivered on same-sex marriage and for the first time LGBT grassroots campaigners have had an LGBT Action Plan and Trans Action Plan to engage with, rather than deciding priorities for action being the preserve of a few around Whitehall. Lib Dems want gender neutral passports, revoke the Trans spousal veto. Unlike Greens we can deliver and unlike Labour we will not put equality on hold for the sake of a Daily Mail headline.

ge-ukipMYLES POWER (UKIP)
Having lived in Manchester city centre for over ten years, I have had the privilege of experiencing all parts of the city, from the cultural experiences of the many museums to the exciting and interesting night life. Whilst the glitz and glam are prominent within the city, this overshadows the real problem of homelessness, unemployment and care for the vulnerable. Unfortunately the Labour party have only been interested in wasting money on pointless and frivolous projects such as the walk way roof between the round library and the town hall extension, this is money that could have been better spent on those who need it. If I am elected it will be my primary responsibility to champion the causes for those who are in need and ensure that their welfare is looked after. I will stop the frivolous waste of money that the Labour party have been responsible for.

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