The UK government LGBT Action Plan: Discourses of progress, enduring stasis, and LGBTQI+ lives ‘getting better’

The LGBT Action Plan (2018) represents a significant UK government commitment towards LGBTQI+ equalities, operating in conjunction with cumulative legislative advances. Yet there is room for critique within this Plan, as proposed actions and as celebratory rhetoric of lives ‘getting better’. Using empirical examples, this article examines how ‘progress’ for LGBTQI+ lives is discursively constructed and positioned in the LGBT Action Plan and accompanying politicians’ speeches. We examine the key constructions of progress – across time, place, lifecourses, and normative thresholds – within which LGBTQI+ rights and realities are framed. We draw upon queer theory to illuminate discursive normativities and silences in representing ‘policy problems’ (Bacchi, 2009). While some policy areas are celebrated as signifiers of ‘coming forward’, others are relegated to the too tough in-tray, suspended in enduring stasis. Opposing ‘political time’ with ‘queer time’, this article concludes with the policy challenges posed by intersectional (in)equalities in these ‘new times’.