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A partnership which aims to encourage members of the LGBTQ+ community to report hate crimes has been launched by South Wales Police and the SWP LGBT+ Network.

The scheme brings South Wales Police together with LGBTQ+ Cardiff-based venues to tackle the stigma of hate crimes and ensure the community are reporting incidents.

Mary’s, Pulse, The Kings, The Golden Cross, Main Stage and Eagle have all signed up to host Cuppa with a Copper; where a South Wales Police officer will be available for people to come and report any issues they may have or for a friendly chat.

Superintendent Jason Rees said: “Reporting rates are increasing but still remain low. We are working to increase awareness of hate crimes and encourage victims and witnesses to come forward.

“My colleagues and I are here and are willing to talk, listen and be proactive with the community’s concerns and needs.”

This scheme is piloting within Cardiff’s LGBTQ+ night-time economy but the team behind it want to expand around South Wales and in other locations.

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Superintendent Jason Rees, who is the Operational Lead for Hate Crime continues: “By creating this partnership, we hope it shows the community that we are here to help keep them safe and deal with any issues that they may have. We hope that as a result of this partnership we can welcome more LGBTQ+ businesses and clubs on board.”

Haydn Price, owner of Eagle bar said: “A partnership such as this is an important and very sensible move. Our customers talk to us about what’s going on, we’re a small and friendly bar, but sometimes they get too frightened to speak up.

“Regardless of their sexuality or background we want anyone feel happy and safe to come in, mingle with officers from the partnership, talk freely and not have any concerns.

“We will be posting about the Cuppa with a Copper on our social media so people know where to come and feel happy to do so.”

Information about the Cuppa with a Copper sessions will be posted on South Wales Police social media channels as well as the relevant venue’s accounts. They are open to anyone who wishes to have a chat.

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(Lead image: South Wales Police)

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Church in Wales to vote on blessing same-sex marriage

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Same-sex couples will be able to have their civil partnership or marriage blessed in Church in Wales churches for the first time if new church legislation is passed next month (September).

A Bill to authorise a service of blessing will be considered by members of the Church’s Governing Body at its meeting on September 6.

It proposes that the service be used experimentally for five years and that it will be up to individual clergy to decide whether or not they wish to lead it.

The service is for a blessing only as same-sex couples are unable to marry in church.

The Bill is being introduced by the Bishops, following an indication from Governing Body members that it was now “pastorally unsustainable” for the Church to make no formal provision for those in committed same-sex relationships.

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In the Explanatory Memoradum they say, “Approval of this rite would be stating that the Church in Wales accepts that the loving and faithful commitment of two persons of the same sex, aspiring to life-long fidelity and mutual comfort, and who have made a commitment in civil partnership or marriage, is worthy of acceptance by the Church by asking God’s blessing upon their commitment.”

While recognising that the Bill is controversial, they describe it as a “step on the way towards repentance of a history in the Church which has demonised and persecuted gay and lesbian people, forcing them into fear, dishonesty and sometimes even hypocrisy, and which has precluded them from living publicly and honestly lives of committed partnership.”

The bishops are urging Governing Body members to debate the Bill in a respectful and dignified way, acknowledging that it will raise difficult issues of faith and belief. They have issued a set of ‘Pastoral Principles’ intended to guide people towards thoughtful and considerate discussions.

Introducing them they say, “There can be no room for seeking to undermine sincerely held views. Neither should we seek to walk away from each other. Our union in Christ is at the heart of our life and the bonds and character of our baptism hold us together; sharing a commitment to each other as together we seek the Kingdom of God. We hope these materials will stimulate this quality of engagement.”

The Bill will be voted on in all three orders of the Governing Body – the Bishops, the clergy and the laity. It will need to achieve a two-thirds majority in each order for it to be passed.

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The discussion and vote will be held on the first day of the Governing Body meeting which takes place on September 6 at the International Convention Centre Wales in Newport and will be live-streamed via a link on the Church in Wales website and Youtube channel. The second day of the meeting will take place online only, via Zoom, on Wednesday, September 8 and will also be live-streamed.

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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.”

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

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

“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.”

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.

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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.

“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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Welsh Government announce new support package for Pride as part of plans to make Wales the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe

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As Pride Month draws to a close, Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn, highlighted the Welsh Government’s record in advancing LGBTQ+ rights in Wales and outlined a package of measures to help make Wales the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe.  

The Deputy Minister for Social Partnership said: “This Pride Month I want to take the opportunity to reaffirm the commitment and determination of this Welsh Government to advancing LGBTQ+ equality in Wales.

“Our record of support for the LGBTQ+ community here in Wales is one to be proud of – from pushing forward with curriculum reform that embeds LGBTQ+ education, to establishing a ground-breaking gender identity service and becoming the first nation in the UK to offer PReP free in the NHS.

“During Covid-19 we set up a bespoke LGBTQ+ venue grant and just this month and our First Minister donated blood side by side with gay activists who until this point had been prohibited from doing so.

“Progress is never inevitable, that’s why there is so much more to do.”

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A support package for Pride’s has been announced. Pictured: Swansea Pride in 2018 (Image: Swansea Council)

Announcing a support package for Prides across Wales, to embed support for the organisation and helping to develop grassroots events, the Deputy Minister said:  “The Welsh Government has supported Pride in the past, but now we are putting this support on a firmer footing, to help with long-term planning and sustainability, not just for a single event but in recognising the role Pride plays as a grassroots movement. 

“We will be making £25k of new funding available for Pride Cymru this year and will be embedding this support, and substantially more in the future.

“Alongside this, we will also be establishing a new Wales-wide Pride Fund to support grassroots events across the country. We will support smaller movements to thrive and help ensure that every LGBTQ+ person can take part in what Prides have to offer.”

Additionally, the Deputy Minister announced the next steps in pushing forward LGBTQ+ equality in Wales.

The Minister stated: “At the beginning of the year, we established the Independent Expert Panel to help set up the next steps for advancing LGBTQ+ equality. In March, this Panel presented their report, which included 61 recommendations under six main themes: Human Rights and Recognition; Safety; Home and Communities; Health and Social Care; Education; and the Workplace.  

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“The work of this Expert Panel has been used to develop an Action Plan for Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality in Wales.

“This ambitious, cross-government plan will set out the concrete steps we will take to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people, to tackle discrimination and to, ultimately to make Wales the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe.

“This plan will go out for consultation at the end of July, and ahead of this I wanted to share a few key points.

  • We will formally establish a LGBTQ+ Expert Panel to help put our plan into action and to hold the Government to account on progress.
  • The Welsh Government will work to secure the devolution of as many aspects as possible of the Gender Recognition Act. We are also commissioning legal advice on all available powers to ban Conversion Therapy in Wales regardless of UK Government delays.
  • We will seek to appoint a national Pride Coordinator to support all our work in this area, the details of which will be scoped in the coming months.
  • We know that issues being faced by the LGBTQ+ community, like others, are often multidimensional and that is why this action plan will have an unprecedented focus on intersectionality and align with our work to advance human rights including the strategic equality plan, the Gender Equality Plan, the Framework for Action on Disability and of course our pioneering Race Equality Action Plan.

“We’re committed to showing that forwarding the equality agenda isn’t simply about slogans and warm words, it’s about our actions.

“Our ambition, has always been and will always be to ensure that Wales is the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe. Today’s announcements are a step towards that.”

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Concluding, the Deputy Minister highlighted the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and reaffirmed the Welsh Government’s ambition for a more equal Wales, the Minister said: “On the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in June 1970 the first Pride march took place. Pride was born out of protest. Whilst it is right we recognise and celebrate how far we have come, progress is not inevitable and Pride remains as central today as it was half a century ago.

“As this Pride Month draws to a close, let’s remember that together we can continue to create change and progress, with a renewed collective ambition to realise a more equal Wales.”


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