MOST people understand that being LGBT+ can, in many places across the world, mean a harder life. Whether it’s bullying, hate crime or persecution, all governments must take action to protect the community.

In the UK, we are at a crossroads on the issue of LGBT+ rights and freedoms. We know hate crime is rising against many minorities, including the LGBT+ community.

People are still seeking refuge here from countries where their identity puts them in existential danger, and practices are still ongoing that aim to “convert” gay people to straight, trans to cisgender. All of this makes recent comments from the Home Secretary and Prime Minister completely irresponsible.

At the very time we should be working together to protect vulnerable communities, the UK Government has chosen to make cruel claims about LGBT+ asylum seekers and ignore trans people’s rights.

READ MORE: Scotland is Europe’s leading space nation, top CEO says

It’s no surprise a Conservative London Assembly member was ejected from the party’s conference last week for calling out Suella Braverman’s (pictured) homophobic and transphobic comments. We simply cannot stand by and let this UK Government attack decades of human rights progress.

The Scottish Government believes we are made stronger by embracing diversity. Among other measures to make life better for LGBT+ people, we are seeking to end conversion practices in a way that protects all of our freedoms.

Conversion practices cause obvious and lasting harm – and they do not work. Whatever your opinion, or how hard you try, you simply cannot change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. We all are who we are and suppressing that can only lead to pain.

Scotland will shortly consult on a number of measures to end these pointless and cruel practices. We have evaluated research from Scotland and around the world in developing our proposals, including the experience of other countries who have, in different ways, implemented similar bans.

The UK Government has long promised LGBT+ people it would take action to stop these harmful acts.

Former prime minister Theresa May has warned her successors not to let the matter slide. It’s, therefore, deeply disappointing to read reports that the UK Government will shortly scrap plans to ban conversion practices in England.

I sincerely hope the UK Government will do the right thing and remain committed to this vital legislation but I fear worse is to come. It’s an area where a bit of leadership could make so much difference and I hope it will make good on a string of promises.

Despite this deeply concerning backdrop, the Scottish Government remains committed to a bill in Scotland. With the powers of our Parliament, we will not let the LGBT+ community down.

READ MORE: Surgeons’ Hall Museum reject complaint over ‘British’ king label

But wouldn’t it be better if people, no matter where they lived in the UK, could be certain in their freedom from abuse? Wouldn’t it be better if our neighbours enjoyed the same freedoms as ourselves?

The Scottish Government remains committed to putting an end to these indefensible acts in Scotland, and the Welsh Government continues to make its own progress following an expert working group.

But human rights apply to everyone and it’s my hope, as a member of the community and as someone who has heard the horrific stories from survivors, that our friends in England also have protection from these torturous acts.

I say to the UK Government: do the right thing – don’t let the LGBT+ community down.

Emma Roddick MSP is the Minister for Equalities Migration and Refugees