7 Days Remaining

Saturday 17th
posted by Rory MacKinnon in Britain

LGBT rights activists hail a year of international success as same-sex marriage is legalised in many countries, but warn against fresh challenges like Uganda's new anti-gay laws

People in Britain will unite with millions worldwide today to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Bi-phobia and Transphobia.

Activists warned that there was still a long way to go for the LGBT community —  despite winning legal battles such as same-sex marriage.

Chairman Craig Cameron of the Scottish Trades Union Congress’ LGBT Committee said the movement saw international events as “a key area of concern” this year.

“With athletes and their friends and families arriving in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games this summer, it is difficult to forget the truly terrible circumstances that people are forced to live under in different parts of the world.”

Uganda’s new life sentences for homosexuality and “promotion of homosexuality” were typical examples, he said, pointing to “name and shame” lists published in Ugandan newspapers that have already cost the life of teacher and LGBT campaigner David Kato, who was beaten to death in 2011.

“These sorts of incidents are simply unacceptable and serve as a reminder to us, that while progress on LGBT equality may be progressing here in Scotland, internationally there is still much work to be done,” Mr Cameron added.

The Equality Network’s Tom French agreed, but told the Morning Star it had also been a year of positives on the international stage, with same-sex marriage legalised not just in Scotland, England and Wales but also in France, Brazil, England and Wales, Uruguay, New Zealand and several US states.

He said the biggest challenge at home was still negative attitudes fomented by religious organisations’ political lobbying and public declarations.