Saturday, 3 September 2011

A message from Plaid Cymru to Cardiff Mardi Gras

My speech to the Mardi Gras this afternoon

Prynhawn da Mardi Gras Cymru.

I bring you greetings and solidarity from Plaid Cymru.

Today is a day for celebration. A day to party. But it is also a day to remember.

In days gone past, being openly gay was militant. We should always remember and be thankful to those older gay activists who refused to hide who they were, who refused to kow-tow to a homophobic society. They have given us what we have today and we have come a long way in a relatively short time.

But we can't afford to be complacent. The economic climate will threaten some of the progressive gains we have made in recent times. We are in increasingly intolerant times. Hate talk is on the up.

We hear benefits claimants called scroungers, young people called scum. As gay people you should understand where hate talk can lead.

Whoever is being picked on, hate talk is a danger to us all. We cannot allow it into the mainstream.

I ask you to take one small moment today to make a big decision. Will you commit to challenging intolerance or hate talk wherever you hear it? If you hear people being put down because they are gay, on benefits, immigrants, gypsies, young - and we've recently been subject to such intolerance for being Welsh...

Decide to stand up to it. Challenge it.

Don't let hate and intolerance become a normal part of Welsh political and civic life.

Today is about celebrating and remembering. It could also be about being determined to fight to keep the gains we have made and to make our society better. If everyone here today makes a personal commitment to stamp out hate in Wales, you can make a fantastic contribution towards creating that equal society we all want.

I hope you all have a great party today. Let's celebrate, but lets also strive to keep what we've got - and more. Diolch am gwrando.

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