Mayor’s lazy, complacent answer shows all our rights at risk

All out celebration: Croydon’s Pridefest returns to Wandle Park tomorrow

CROYDON COMMENTARY: According to Mayor Perry, there’s no equalities issues at the council because he’s had no complaints. Fairfield councillor RIA PATEL says that on LGBT+ issues, that is untrue

I love how wonderfully diverse the population of Croydon is. As I councillor I am also pleased to be representing Fairfield, one of the most diverse wards within Croydon.

Our diversity is a real strength and something we should celebrate. But it is also really important that we defend it. The last hundred years has seen many major advancements in equal rights, but it has also seen truly horrific examples of what happens when there is a backlash against equality.

Given that we have just finished Pride Month and we have Croydon PrideFest tomorrow, I decided to use my question at Wednesday’s full council meeting to ask Mayor Jason Perry about what he is doing to promote the rights of LGBTAIQ+ people in Croydon.

This week is non-binary awareness week and as a non-binary person I wanted to raise a complaint that Croydon Council didn’t appear to be doing anything to raise awareness about people who are non-binary.

Question for the Mayor: Ria Patel at Wednesday’s council meeting

The Mayor’s response was extremely disappointing.

Apart from attending PrideFest and implementing equality policies for council staff, which he has to do by law anyway, Mayor Perry’s response can be summed up as “everything must be fine because I’ve had no complaints”.

Apart from being a very lazy response, it is also untrue: because I was standing there in front of him complaining about the council’s lack of action!

It is also very disappointing given that some Croydon councillors have been very public in their opposition to the rights of trans and non-binary folk, liking and retweeting social media from anti-trans individuals and hate groups.

Trans rights are personal and very important to me, but as I said in my question, an attack on one group of people very quickly turns into an attack on others. As we can see in the United States at the moment, the same people who are attacking trans rights are also attacking abortion rights and attacking voting rights, trying to re-draw election maps to reduce the power of black voters.

If we want to keep equal rights, then we have to keep fighting for equal rights for everyone.

I hope that everyone has a fantastic time at PrideFest tomorrow but I also hope that Croydon residents use this as a chance to show that we all stand for equal rights for all of us.

Pride is a protest and we are complaining that Croydon Council are not doing enough to promote equality in our borough.

  • Ria Patel is a Green Party councillor for Fairfield ward. She is co-chair of LGBTIQA+ Greens

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7 Responses to Mayor’s lazy, complacent answer shows all our rights at risk

  1. Sarah Bird says:

    The response referred to above ,should be of very serious concern to everyone. As a disabled person, I have raised the failures of the Council pursuant to disability the Equality Act 2010 .The council is fully aware of the discrimination to date in my case from the leader CEO past and present. Paper trail alone I totally agree, we all need to fight for equal rights for everyone.

    This is 2023.

    The Equality Act was passed 10 years ago.

    • Ian Kierans says:

      The DDA is 28 years and counting Sarah – one might even be surprised that segregation was in place in Northern Ireland and the Fair employment act 1976 was brought in to deal with that discrimination.
      UK Parliaments have been very good and enlightened (despite bad press to the contrary) over the centuries and trailblazed legislation removing discrimination and championing peoples rights from Wilberforce onwards , and some local areas have been very remiss over the same two centuries in adhering to or applying those laws, including Northern Ireland as Ms Maria Gatland Conservative Party Councillor will be well aware of.

      And here we are at Croydon speaking of the same!

  2. Peter Underwood says:

    As Ria says, we know that attacks on one group can quickly lead to attacks on another. We know that the right wing are fuelling attacks on trans rights as a stepping stone to attack the whole civil rights movement. They are spreading lies and scare stories, particularly about trans women, to stir up hatred and discrimination.

    Sitting back and hoping everything will be alright is not enough. We need to actively take a stand and stand together to defend human rights for all of us.

  3. Ian Kierans says:

    Let me make Mr Perry wrong, There are quite a lot of equality complaints against this Council, if he has missed them he should speak to Nicola Townsend, Heather Cheesbrough, Katherine Kerswell, If he would like I can address them to him direct and happily pass them to inside Croydon also at the same time along with the FOIs?

    Clearly, either he has been misled, he is misleading himself, or he is attempting to mislead residents of Croydon.

    Or maybe he is interpreting equality complaint the way Clinton did his Cigar?

    Lets put this a different way.
    Can Mr Perry show the residents of Croydon how he has met Equality standards for every decision that has been made by this Council since he has taken control and
    – Can he produce every Equality impact assessment that was done prior to taking those decisions.

    He might be amazed at the result! I know most of us are who are still waiting for them to be disclosed.

    • Sarah Bird says:

      Ian , I share your concern.

      As stated above You absolutely right about the DDA .Like you, I would be very interested in Croydon Council compliance of the Equality Act etc. For my part yet to see any evidence whatsoever of it.

  4. John says:

    Is showing residents how every equality standard has been met and an impact assessment for every decision prior to it being made going to improve things significantly other than increase costs?

    I think its better that we have the Council make decisions and hope that most are right. If we feel otherwise, then we can look at the wrong ones to get corrections or more information.

    Just what decisions made by the Council are wrong and need looking at?

    The ones not made are surely for future debate and agreement. We may otherwise get nothing done for anyone whatever category they wish to be identified by.

    • Ian Kierans says:

      Every decision that may impact adversly on minorities requires an EQIA. They are not costly, many take minutes, some are so blindingly obvious they take a 30 second note. Most organisations have risk registers that have already identified those risks.
      It also happens to be a legal duty to do these – perhaps you would like to change those laws?

      When you consider all the major decisions of this Council and the impacts – which should have been forseen and listed on the Councils Risk register and those risks mitigated and controlled by each Director and as they are the same people still, along with Perry who was there with Fisher as he pissed a Billion up the wall – you would like to hope that they get things right now?

      The purpose of those EQIAs and Risk protocols are to educate and advise those taking decisions. This lot blithely ignored standard business practice that is embedded in reasonably run large companies and public organisations.
      (Perhaps because that would have given Council officerswhat is generally termed guilty knowledge and would be undeniable and interfere or frustrate what they believe as critical business processes?
      Most Companies have not a single issue with doing those business processes and getting them right along with their decisions in fact nearly everyone I know have it so embedded it is second nature and takes place without most people realising.

      This lot struggle to even get it right when a high Court judge tells them and blame everything on anything but their own poor judgement and bunker culture.
      if you think I am wrong do not take my word – please do consult with any investment company or large company with a £1bn+ turnover or any Public body on how they manage risk and compliance

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