Tuesday, 17 May 2011

"So sick and tired of all the hatred you harbour"

I Am Gay

Today marks the seventh International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).

The event has been held every year since 2005 to raise awareness of discrimination and harassment of LGBT people around the globe.

Although I know of nothing that is happening in our borough (Haringey), a conference on LGBT rights and faith featuring Peter Tatchell, communities minister Andrew Stunell and the mayor Lutfur Rahmanis is to be held in Tower Hamlets following upset over anti-gay stickers posted around the area.

Bigotry amongst Islamists (who are believed to be behind the East End stickers) and Islamic countries is nothing new - and just as the UN has produced its first-ever brochure (to coincide with IDAHO) highlighting its official position on sexual orientation and gender identity human rights, so the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and some African countries have organised vocal opposition to it. Their agenda is to redefine human rights - permitting religion to exclude not just homosexuality but some women's rights issues.

In that most homophobic society Uganda, IDAHO campaigners have organised a conference titled "Sexuality, Orientation, Gender Identity and Health", a brave move considering that only last week there was still a threat that the Ugandan parliament was considering passing an Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Thankfully, Uganda has at last been directly threatened with having its aid withdrawn by numerous countries, including the US, which said it would use its leverage in places like the World Bank.

In Malawi the picture is just as bad - the British ambassador was expelled in April following his leaked diplomatic criticism of the president, after which their local press once more put the blame on gay people! However, arrests for homosexuality and a new law criminalising lesbians have contributed to the withdrawal of some international aid, and to other aid being renegotiated.

Read more in the Guardian

Even in the so-called "civilised world", religious fundamentalism still espouses hate against us - in the Australian city of Adelaide only yesterday, a gang of fascist "God Hates Gays" protestors violently attacked a rally against homophobia. Great news in the country that produced Priscilla Queen of the Desert...

All this is depressing stuff, but must yet again serve to remind the complacent public - gay and straight - that some of the battles (perhaps here and in other European countries) may have been fought and won, but we are a long way away from being accepted, tolerated or even decriminalised - we can be imprisoned or face corporal punishment in 76 countries across the world, and the death penalty for homosexual activity still exists in five countries and parts of Nigeria and Somalia.

Download a copy of the International Gay Rights Map (PDF)

The date of IDAHO marks the day when the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders - only 21 years ago. Coincidentally, and almost as depressing, Lady Gaga is apparently the self-proclaimed "spokesperson" for IDAHO...

Never mind her - this is what I inevitably want to play:

International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia website

1 comment:

  1. In a supplement to all this, sad news from Russia:

    Moscow City Hall said this morning that the Moscow Gay Pride Rally scheduled for May 28 on Bolotnaya Square in front of the Office of the European Commission will be banned.

    The motives given by the Ludmila Shvetsova, deputy mayor of Moscow, to ban the event is the impossibility to provide security and a high number of letters of protests received by the City Hall against this event.

    Nikolai Alekseev, Moscow Pride Chief Organizer, said:

    "The reasons to ban the Moscow Pride this year are exactly the same reasons used in the past years and for which the European Court of Human Rights judged against Russia for violating the European Convention on Human Rights"

    Shameful!!! Jx


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