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Welsh Government pledge to be the most LGBT+ friendly nation in Europe

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Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn has launched the Welsh Government’s LGBTQ+ Action Plan consultation, outlining details of how Wales can become the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe.

The Welsh Government say that the publication of the Action Plan begins the consultation process for everyone right across Wales to play a part in the process and help make sure equality is for everyone and no-one is left behind in Wales.   

Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn said: “We want to make sure that equality is for everyone and no-one is left behind here in Wales, so I’m really pleased to publish the cross-government LGBTQ+ Action Plan today.

“The Action Plan, developed in partnership with representatives from across the LGBTQ+ community, will help to coordinate action between the Government, stakeholders, the public and other agencies, to achieve our ambition to furthering LGBTQ+ equality in Wales.

“The plan sets out a wide range of policy-specific actions relating to Human Rights and Recognition; Safety; Home and Communities; Health and Social Care; Education; and the Workplace, by adopting a cross-government approach, covering all areas of policy will we truly be able to achieve equality for all in Wales.

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“At the end of Pride Month, I set out the key steps on the journey towards achieving greater LGBTQ+ equality in Wales. Today, I want to reaffirm our key commitments; seeking the devolution of powers relating to the Gender Recognition Act, to use all available powers to ban all aspects of LGBTQ+ conversion therapy and to support Prides across Wales by sponsoring Pride Cymru, establishing a Wales-wide Pride Fund and appointing a Wales-wide Coordinator.

“Our ambition is to tackle the long-term structural inequalities that still exist, to challenge discrimination and to create a country without prejudice.”

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Outlining the expert report’s recommendations, the Deputy Minister highlighted the importance of engaging with the process.

She said: “Alongside the Action Plan, I am also releasing the Independent Expert Panel Report which has formed the basis of this consultation.

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“I want to thank the members of the Expert Group for their insight, their knowledge and experience. This is a ground-breaking report which has highlighted a number of cross-cutting themes for us to consider, in order to achieve our ambitions.

“We know that the fight for equality isn’t over, there is always more to do, launching our Action Plan today will allow everyone, right across Wales to help us achieve our goal to become the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe.”

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Chair of the LGBTQ+ Independent Expert Group Lu Thomas said: “Ministers have continually used the phrase: ‘Progress is never inevitable’ and with the release of the consultation today, it clearly shows the Welsh Government is committed to achieving real progress in our society.

Our report deliberately gives a focus to intersectionality, ensuring that all areas of Government pull together, with stakeholders, community groups and individuals from across our society to engage and contribute to the plan.

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“It’s only by uniting as a nation can we achieve real progress and deliver a fairer and more equal society in Wales.”

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LGBT

Swansea Pride returns on Saturday 30 April

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This bank holiday weekend (30 April) sees the return of Swansea Pride which is back after a gap of 2 years due to the pandemic.

The organisers have promised a weekend of celebration, including a city centre parade and events at the National Waterfront Museum and Museum Green.

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The weekend kicks off on Friday 29 April with the official pre-Pride party hosted by “queer dance party for every body” PYNK at the Elysium gallery, bar and nightclub on High Street.

Talking about the event, a spokesperson from PYNK said: “We have 3 amazing DJs lined up and a night full of dancing, cocktails and celebrating how fabulous we all are.” Doors open from 8pm with tickets available online.

Saturday (30 April) is jam packed full of activities, with a parade working its way through the city centre.

The last Swansea Pride was held two years ago before the pandemic (Image: Swansea Council)

A spokesperson from Swansea Pride said: “As the big pride event hits the city centre this Saturday, we want to encourage the whole of Swansea to join us in celebrating inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community.

The pride parade starts at the top of Wind Street at 11am. It will snake up Castle Street, the Kingsway, Oxford Street and will finish on the Museum Green at the National Waterfront Museum. This is where people can enjoy music, drag shows, food, entertainment, and feel-good-fun for the whole family.

“We can’t wait to welcome the whole region to this event of celebration.”

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The official Pride afterparty takes place at Fiction & Vinyl nightclub on Little Wind Street promising late night dance action from 6pm until 4am.

Cardiff based gay bar Mary’s is also coming to the city with a special pop-up event at Popworld on Wind Street from 6pm till late.

Drag Queen Story Hour are returning to Swansea for Mini Pride (Image: Drag Queen Story Hour)

Sunday (May 1) sees the launch of Mini Pride at the National Waterfront Museum. The family friendly event features Drag Queen Story Hour who promise to share some wonderful stories in a thrilling storytime show.

As well as crafts, face painting and a mini-parade, the Mini Pride also features a showing of children’s film Trolls World Tour.

For more information about Swansea Pride, visit www.swanseapride.co.uk.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Conversion therapy ban moves forward in Wales

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women with gay pride body paint

Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn has outlined the next steps the Welsh Government is taking towards banning conversion practises across Wales.

Ms Blythyn also announced that NHS Wales has signed up to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to ban conversion therapy in Wales, working towards achieving the Welsh Government’s ambition to become “the friendliest LGBTQ+ Nation in Europe”.

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Deputy Minister for Social Partnership, Hannah Blythyn said: “As a government, we’ve committed to ensuring that we become the friendliest LGBTQ+ nation in Europe, where no one is left out or left behind.

“Today I am announcing several further steps Welsh Government is taking towards making conversion therapy a thing of the past.

“In addition to seeking legal advice to determine all the levers we have in Wales to end the practice of conversion therapy unilaterally; we will educate and raise awareness of the horrors and ineffectiveness of conversion therapy practices by establishing a dedicated campaign in Wales.

“Alongside this, work will be undertaken to better understand the impact of conversion ‘therapy’ on survivors to enable support services to be improved and we will establish a working group of experts, to include representatives from faith communities; the health and social care sector; and children and young people’s representatives, alongside LGBTQ+ people to help with this work and advise on key elements as a ban is developed.”

The Minister also announced that the Welsh Government and NHS Wales have signed up to a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MoU) with the Coalition Against Conversion Therapy. Organisations who sign the Memorandum and work in the provision of mental or psychological health delivery or commissioning, such as the NHS, will commit to ensure they do not commission or provide conversion therapy in Wales.

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Dr Frank Atherton, Chief Medical Officer for Wales and Judith Paget, Chief Executive of NHS Wales said: “The Welsh Government and NHS Wales fully support the banning of LGBTQ+ conversion therapy, witnessed through our signing of the MoU with the Coalition Against Conversion Therapy.

We stand united in our desire to make this abhorrent practice illegal and believe this will offer an important opportunity to support those at risk of conversion therapy as well as victims and survivors.”

Finally the Deputy Minister said: “Through the measures I have announced and by engaging with partners across crucial sectors, I am confident that together we can and must rise to the challenge to make Wales the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe, where every corner of our country is a safe place for LGBTQ+ people to live openly and authentically as themselves.”

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Gower College Swansea

Gower College Swansea celebrates Rainbow Week

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Students and staff at Gower College Swansea are taking part in Rainbow Week, an event dedicated to raising awareness of LGBTQ+ issues and celebrating inclusivity and the safe and supportive environment of the College.

The week was officially launched by hugely successful boxing manager and promoter Kellie Maloney who visited the Tycoch Campus to share her personal story of transitioning – an event which was livestreamed across the College for those who could not attend in person.

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Rainbow Week will also see the launch of Gower College Swansea’s Staff LGBTQ+ Network which aims to embrace the unique and diverse workforce, whilst providing a safe space where staff can connect with others, feel supported and raise any concerns.

“We pride ourselves on being an inclusive organisation and hold the Gold Corporate Health Standard Award in recognition of our policy for maintaining and promoting a high quality of health and wellbeing in the workplace,” says the College’s Director of HR, Sarah King.

“We are delighted that so many staff and students have responded so positively to our plans for Rainbow Week with many saying the planned activities and training will make them feel even more comfortable in talking about LGBTQ+ issues.”

Across the campuses, Pride flags are flying and among the many activities being held are competitions for the best rainbow cake decoration and best-dressed rainbow team.

Other highlights of Rainbow Week include a workshop on allyship training and a pre-recorded talk from Chad Cloete about his experience as a gay man within the LGBTQ+ community – both of which are delivered in partnership with Stonewall, the signing of Pride flags across the College, and the distribution of pronoun badges which have been designed by Art and Design students and endorsed by the College’s Equality and Diversity Committee.

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(Lead image: Gower College Swansea)

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