TV & Radio
UK Gay News 2006/05/18
INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA
IDAHO Events Around the World, Including Iran
LONDON, May 17, 2006 – As thousands across the world took part in the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), one of the countries in most minds during the day, Iran, staged their own small, but effective, commemoration.
Forty Iranian writers, filmmakers, play writers, political and human rights activists jointly announced support for LGBT rights on the Internet. Websites/weblogs (LGBT and some others) have the following statement: “17th May is IDAHO and by flying a rainbow flag on top of my site, I would like to express my support for GLBT rights and condemn homophobia. I hope others will do the same.”
In Europe, supporters of IDAHO were able to take part in more ‘visible’ activities that ranged from political statements to gay bars observing a one minute silence in the evening.
The major event in the UK was a demonstration of support for gay men and women asylum seekers outside the Home Office at lunchtime [for separate report, see links at the end of this article].
At the same time, Meg Munn, the minister at the Women and Equality Unit of the new Department for Communities and Local Government, gave the UK Government’s support for IDAHO.
(Photo)■ Meg Munn, MP
“I fully support the work of the International Day Against Homophobia campaign to increase awareness on the legal and human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people across the globe,” Ms. Munn said. “I fully support the work of the International Day Against Homophobia campaign to increase awareness on the legal and human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people across the globe,”
In Parliament, more than 70 Members of Parliament have signed an ‘Early Day Motion’ in support of IDAHO.
And speaking for the Green Party, Jean Lambert MEP gave her support.
“Everyone is equal regardless of their sexuality, gender or race,” she said. “Even though the UK has made significant progress to stamp out homophobia, at least 80 countries around the world still forbid homosexual acts by law – Some are killed, many attacked and even more are ostracized for simply being who they are.
“This cannot be seen as acceptable and the events held today and across the weekend really will demonstrate that these attitudes will no longer be tolerated.
“Standing together we can celebrate diversity and ensure LGBT communities have the rights they deserve,” she added.
Also in London, the Metropolitan Police had a mobile police station in Leicester Square where information was handed out on how to combat homophobic crime.
East London Out Project (ELOP) launched their new campaigns at Waltham Forest Town Hall and, in the evening, staged a public rally and candlelit vigil at Cultural Square, Newham.
“We think IDAHO is an extremely important campaign and we strongly encourage voluntary organisations to get involved, even at this late stage,” commented 00pm Sarah Humphreys from ELOP.
In Brighton, often considered the UK’s ‘gay capital’, community activists will held a public vigil with candles and a choral performance in Bartholomew’s Square. And in Manchester an IDAHO-awareness campaign in the city’s gay village centred around Canal Street was couple with fundraising.
At the Edinburgh City Art Centre, there was silence for a minute at the “Rainbow City” exhibition which explores the themes of activism, identity, culture and the social aspects of LGBT life in Edinburgh using the archive of oral history (the exhibition continues until July 9).
“Although Rainbow City shows the effects of homophobia in the past, we think it’s important both to commemorate past victims of homophobia and to remember that homophobia is a present threat both in Scotland and in other countries,” said spokesperson Ellen Galford.
In Gloucester, around 30 customers at the city’s only gay pub, the Coach and Horses, joined other bars across the country in a one-minute’s silence.
“Please take a moment to think about those in the world who are less fortunate than ourselves,” said landlord Gary Lloyd.
(Photo) ■ Gloucester's gay pub, the Coach and Horses, went quiet for a minute and customers collected over £40 to aid gays in Iraq.
The customers also remembered Jody Dobrowski, the gay young barman who was brutally murdered in London last year. He came from near Gloucester.
A collection was made to benefit Iraqi LGBT and their work with the oppressed gay community in Baghdad. Over £40 was raised.
Among the many events in continental Europe, the biggest surprise came from Latvia when Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks issued a statement to be tolerant towards each other, and mentioning homophobia. Additionally, the Social Justice Minitry issued a similar statement. [see link below for separate article].
In Poland, there was a ‘postcards project’ – postcards were sent out depicting LGBT people in various every-day situation. There was also a concert organised by Lesbian Coalition, and a press briefing.
An international anti-homophobia conference was staged in Turkey (it continues until May 21). “We will be exchanging ideas about how heterosexuals and homosexuals can be liberated together,” a spokesperson explained.
And in France, where the Government is expected to officially recognise IDAHO in the coming weeks, hundreds of events were staged throughout the country.
Elsewhere in the world, the Blue Diamond Society in Kathmadu held a “dialogue on "Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity and Constituent Assembly in Nepal” where Ian Martin, a representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, was the chief guest [ see separate report linked at the end of this article].
Uganda observed a five minutes silence in a hotel. Tommorow, a signed petition calling for the Ugandan Government to recognize LGBT rights in the country will be handed in to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
And in neighbouring Kenya, GLBT members of Equality Now Development Group organisec a one minute silence and tomorrow afternoon (May 18) will be screening aspecial documentary video on issues affecting LGBT.
A Gay Pride is scheduled in Sri Lanka next week. And LGBT people met today for “an evening of introspective celebrations”, including a one-minute silence as they prepared decoration for Pride.
Rainbow Labour-LGBT Section of the New Zealand Labour Party concentrated on school bullying and gender identity legislation, and issued a statement, while in Japan, letters were delivered to embassies in Tokyo which represent countries with homophobic policies. In addition, there were two demonstrations and various other activities, not only in Tokyo, but also in Sapporo, and Sendai.
Other IDAHO-Related Articles from May 16/17
Posted: 18 May 2006 at 00:00 (UK time)
MEPs attack growing EU homophobia
The increasingly extreme stance on homosexuality in several new EU member states has come under attack from the European parliament.
“There is a worrying trend in some of the new member states where politicians encourage discrimination and persecution of homosexuals and where, in some cases, they actually endorse and call for violence,” British centre-left MEP Michael Cashman told the Strasbourg plenary.
“Even today, there are demands to ban gay pride marches - as is happening in Poland at the moment - and in some of our near neighbourhood countries, where there is a call from the mayor of Moscow to ban the first gay pride march.”
Wednesday is the international day against homophobia, which will be marked by a minute’s silence in several EU countries.
“Human rights are non-negotiable,” Cashman said. “Everyone should be able to live their life free from persecution and discrimination. A celebration of the international day against homophobia is a bold step on the road to equality.”
Green MEP Jean Lambert pointed out that “at least 80 countries around the world still forbid homosexual acts by law”.
“This cannot be seen as acceptable and the events held today and across the weekend will demonstrate that these attitudes will no longer be tolerated.”
The MEPs comments came after renewed criticism of Poland’s attitude to homosexuals.
The country’s new education minister Roman Giertych has promised to ban gay and lesbian activists from Polish schools, and has blamed the gay lobby for a smear campaign against him.
Global events target anti-gay prejudice
Wednesday, May 17, 2006 / 11:06 AM
SUMMARY: People around the world protest at embassies and hold other events in the second International Day Against Homophobia.
People around the world participated in activities Wednesday to combat anti-gay prejudice in the second annual International Day Against Homophobia, or IDAHO.
According to organizers, activities scheduled for the day included, in Japan, delivering letters to embassies of countries with anti-gay policies; in Nepal, a rally; in Jerusalem, a conference; and protests throughout Latin America at Nicaraguan embassies against that country's criminal penalties for sodomy.
Said Derek Lennard, U.K. coordinator for the event: "IDAHO proved an effective international rallying cry for those who regard LGBT rights as human rights. It must be absolutely clear to everyone that IDAHO is not only here to stay, but it will grow and grow."
In London, activists protested outside the Home Office in support of gay asylum seekers who have fled homophobic persecution in countries like Pakistan, Uganda, Sudan, Cameroon, Jamaica, Iran, Belarus, Algeria, Iraq, Nigeria and Egypt.
Simon Hughes, president of the Liberal Democrats, joined the protest, saying, "I want the Home Office to endorse the idea that lesbians and gay men are a legitimate social group at risk of persecution in many countries," according to the U.K. Gay News.
The event is held May 17 to mark the World Health Organization's May 17, 1990, removal of homosexuality from its list of mental diseases.
Said Patricia Prendiville, executive director of the International Lesbian and Gay Association of Europe, in a written statement: "We acknowledge all the positive achievements by the European institutions to make homophobia in Europe a thing of the past, but we also need to issue the reminder that there is a lot of work which still needs to be done."
IDAHO organizers have also been working with Moscow Pride organizers, who filed a permit this week for the first Gay Pride parade in the city, scheduled for May 27. The mayor, however, has said that he will not consent to the parade, despite petitions from other European mayors and human rights groups.
Human Rights Watch
‘Hall of Shame’ Shows Reach of Homophobia
On International Day Against Homophobia, Violations Mixed With Victories
(New York, May 17, 2006) – As people in more than 50 countries today mark the International Day against Homophobia, Human Rights Watch named to a “hall of shame” five public officials who have actively promoted prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in their countries. Human Rights Watch also pointed to five recent advances that give hope for a future free of hatred and homophobia.
“This ‘hall of shame’ does not claim to include the worst offenders, but it highlights public officials who have failed in their basic duty to respect human rights for all,” said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “The abuses these officials have caused or countenanced symbolize the daily, invidious forms of homophobia that countless people face around the world.”
The public officials named to the “Hall of Shame” for their actions in 2005-2006 were:
- Senior Superintendent of Police Ashutosh Pandey of Lucknow, India, whose agents used the Internet to entrap four men and jailed them under his country’s colonial-era sodomy law;
“Sodomy laws and surveillance, censorship and silencing, inequality and official discrimination, arrest and torture, are realities for many LGBT people on every continent,” said Long. “Homophobia has a global reach.”
Human Rights Watch also pointed to five countries that have made exemplary progress in combating rights abuses based on sexual orientation or gender identity:
- Brazil, where a landmark government campaign for a “Brazil without Homophobia” supports LGBT groups in the struggle for equality;
LGBT groups in more than 50 countries are marking the International Day against Homophobia, an initiative launched in 2005 (www.idahomophobia.org). Held on May 17, it commemorates the date on which the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its roster of disorders in 1990. This year, it has been endorsed by a resolution of the European Parliament.