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Key issues include hate crime, healthcare and global LGBT inequality.

Today Stonewall launches its powerful election manifesto, ahead of the general election on 8 June.

The leading LGBT charity is urging the British public to not only register to vote, but also to ask their candidates to show a real commitment to LGBT equality.

Although progress has been made, there is still much work to be done. Over half of young LGBT people are bullied in school. One in six lesbian, bi and gay people have been the victim of a hate crime in the past three years and two in five trans people have been physically intimidated.

That’s just in the UK. Millions of LGBT people worldwide face violence and persecution. There are still 73 countries in which same-sex relationships are illegal and most countries do not recognise trans people’s true gender identities.

With its election manifesto, Stonewall is asking all political parties and candidates to pledge that they will strive to achieve real equality.

These are the key points it believes the next UK government must commit to:

• Change the law on LGBT hate crimes so they are treated in the same way as crimes motivated by race and faith.

• Ensure new guidance for relationship and sex education in all schools is LGBT inclusive.

• Improve Gender Identity Services to ensure they are fully equipped to meet the needs of all trans people and are accessible to everyone who needs them.

• Take steps to safeguard LGBT rights after the UK leaves the European Union, such as retaining the Human Rights Act.

• Hold sports governing bodies and Sport England to account on tackling anti-LGBT abuse.

• Respond strongly, quickly and effectively where LGBT people face violence or persecution internationally.

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, told us:

“If you care about LGBT rights, you need to make sure that candidates know they need to commit to equality to win your vote.

“On 8 June, we’re voting for the society we want to live in. Of course, there are issues that divide opinions but during the debates over the next couple of weeks, we must keep LGBT equality firmly on the agenda.

“Talk to candidates in your constituency about LGBT equality, make sure they understand the issues affecting the community here and abroad.”

She added:

“Over the past two years we’ve seen seismic shifts in the political landscape both here and around the world. If that shows us anything, it’s that we can’t take the progress we have made for granted. We need to join our voice with thousands of others over the coming weeks, to press for a world where everyone is accepted without exception.”

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