U.N. Secretary General Says: “The Time Has Come”

March 21, 2012. It’s not every day that a major world figure speaks out forcefully in defense of equality. But earlier this month, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon did just that when he made an incredibly powerful speech at the U.N. in Geneva. But most people didn’t even hear about it.

Why? After the speech, the media focused on a handful of delegates who stormed out of meeting in protest. Their story – that gay people should be denied human rights – is the one that dominated the day’s news. But with your help, we’re going to change that.

The friends of AllOut at the U.N. let us REMIX Ban Ki-moon, so they took his speech and created this video. AllOut hopes you like it! After you watch, please share with your friends and family, helping this inspiring message reach the audience it deserves.

UN Human Rights Council resolution affirming equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity

The UN Human Rights Council passed a historic resolution affirming equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a really big deal — it’s the first time that an official UN resolution has focused exclusively on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity. The resolution also commissions an official UN study on how LGBT people around the world are impacted by discriminatory laws and violence.

This victory was a long time in the making. Advocates and activists in South Africa worked closely with the South African government to introduce this resolution. A coalition of civil society advocates, including our friends at ARC International, pushed until the last minute for this unprecedented vote.

From social networks to the streets, from court houses to the corridors of the United Nations, LGBT people around the world are fighting, and winning, the simple right to live and love freely. This global movement for LGBT equality is gathering speed.

(from AllOut.org)

SOURCES:

U.N. Gay Rights Protection Resolution Passes, Hailed As ‘Historic Moment’
www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/17/un-gay-rights-protection-resolution-passes-_n_879032.html

Historic decision at the UN
www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/pressroom/pressrelease/1417.html

La ONU pide tolerancia cero ante la discriminación homosexual
www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/ONU/pide/tolerancia/cero/discriminacion/homosexual/elpepuint/20110617elpepuint_6/Tes

L’ONU adopte une résolution “historique” sur les droits des homosexuels
www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2011/06/17/l-onu-adopte-une-resolution-historique-sur-les-droits-des-homosexuels_1537356_3224.html

Baltic Pride is under threat!

Raimondas Petrauskas, Lithuania’s Interim Attorney General and Stanislovas Buškevicius, member of the Kaunas City Council, have applied to the court to ban the Baltic Pride/March for Equality scheduled for this Saturday, 8 May, which was previously authorised by the Mayor of Vilnius. Their appeal is motivated by concerns over potential security risks. According to Mr Petrauskas, the Attorney General’s office has evidence that protests will be organised by various radical groups seeking to provoke unrest if the March goes ahead. The court will deliver a decision on whether to disallow the March for Equality by tomorrow, 5 May, lunch time.

ILGA-Europe, the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights and Amnesty International are calling on the Lithuanian authorities to ensure that the human right to peaceful assembly is respected and LGBT people in Lithuania are provided with adequate protection in the exercise of this right.

Article 36 of the Lithuanian Constitution states: “Citizens may not be prohibited or hindered from assembling unarmed in peaceful meetings.” Freedom of assembly is a human right which is guaranteed by major international and European human rights instruments which Lithuania has ratified, including: Article 21 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and Article 11 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The established case-law of the European Court of Human Rights on freedom of assembly has been affirmed in relation to LGBT people and the Court said that violating the right of assembly on the grounds of sexual orientation is discriminatory. The Court affirmed that the freedom of expression extends not only to the ideas and views of the majority, but also to those belonging to minorities or those that may cause shock, disagreement and opposition. Moreover, the Court has consistently ruled that if there is a risk of violence from counter-demonstrators, the state has a positive duty to protect demonstrators.

In March 2010, the government of Lithuania approved the Council of Europe’s Recommendations on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. These Recommendations reaffirm the obligation on member states of the Council of Europe to ensure ‘that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, as enshrined in Article 11 of the Convention, can be effectively enjoyed, without discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.’

Less than a week ago, on 29 April 2010, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Resolution on Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity which calls on the Council of Europe member states to “ensure that the fundamental rights of LGBT people, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association, are respected, in line with international human rights standards”.

Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:

“We appeal to the Lithuanian authorities to stand up for democratic values and human rights. The authorities cannot allow themselves to be blackmailed by threats and opposing views to sacrifice basic freedoms guaranteed both by Lithuanian legislations and the country’s international human rights obligations. It is their duty to ensure that its citizens are free to express their views and adequately protected from intimidations and individuals who do not share their opinion.”

Members of the European Parliament Ulrike Lunacek and Michael Cashman promptly reacted: “The Lithuanian authorities should be very careful in their consideration of the Public Prosecutor’s request. They must remember the binding international treaties they signed, including the EU’s Charter on Fundamental Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights. As a result, they have the legal obligation to protect citizens’ freedom of assembly—including marchers’ safety—, whether they like it or not. The European Parliament will move swiftly and decisively if Lithuania bans a gay pride parade—and we will ensure the European Commission does too.”

John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Expert on Discrimination said: “Any decision to ban the Baltic Pride would be a triumph for prejudice and a victory for those prepared to resort to violence to impose their views. It would be a huge defeat for human rights and the rule of law. Amnesty International is calling on the Lithuanian authorities to honour its obligations and respect the human rights of all its citizens.”

At least four members of the European Parliament, representatives of the European Commission, politicians from a number of European countries, representatives of ILGA-Europe and Amnesty International will be present in Vilnius during the Baltic pride 2010 this weekend.

Veronica Scognamiglio
European Campaign Coordinator on Discrimination
Amnesty International EU Office, rue de Trèves, 35, Boite 3 B-1040 Brussels, Belgium
phone (direct line) 32-2-5482761, [phone] (switchboard) 32-2-5021499 fax 32-2-5025686

Northern Ireland: Still a long way to go.

Ten years ago the Good Friday Agreement was signed in the North of Ireland. This represented a peaceful settlement to our thirty year conflict and a new beginning for everyone. One of the most important aspects of the Good Friday Agreement is what has become known as the Equality Clause; section 75.

Section 75 made it illegal to discriminate against a person on the basis of; religion, political belief, race, age, marital status, gender, disability or sexual orientation. It also created the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, which has wide-reaching powers to investigate public bodies when it believes that discrimination has occurred.

SDLP Youth

SDLP Youth

However, although public bodies must now comply with equality legislation it has proven more difficult to change the hearts and minds of wider society into accepting a more pluralist and equal society. In Northern Ireland, we became good at hate. For so long, polarising parties such as the Democratic Unionist Party (Christian Evangelicals) and Sínn Féin (political wing of the Provisional IRA) fuelled the flames of sectarianism, making it impossible to ignore the divide between Protestant and Catholic, Nationalist and Unionist. This has changed since the Good Friday Agreement. With all parties sharing power, sectarian attacks still occur but are greatly decreased. The public are now much more accepting of their neighbours with differing political and religious outlooks. But all is not well in the North.

The overt hate, once reserved for sectarianism, has been transferred to other groups seen as ‘different’. In recent years, my own constituency of South Belfast has seen attacks on migrant workers sky-rocket with people having swastikas painted on their doors and in some cases, being burnt from their homes. Every weekend, in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, home of the Gay Village, police armoured vehicles always keep a visible presence to stop the frequent attacks on people as they leave clubs.

What doesn’t help us in the LGBT community is the fact that the DUP is now the largest party in Northern Ireland. The party, founded by the creator of the Free Presbyterian Church, which has previously orchestrated the ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy’ campaign. The DUP has consistently refused to acknowledge the rights of LGBT people, using religious rhetoric and allusions to perversion to justify its arguments. Even last year, the then  junior Minister Ian Paisley Jnr. said that he was ‘disgusted’ by gay people and that they did not care that they were, ‘harming themselves and harming society’. This came from the Junior Minister for the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers, whose department is responsible for equality and social cohesion.

The DUP has rejected all equality legislation regarding sexual orientation such as, the Single Equality Bill, the Goods and Services Regulations and Civil Partnerships Legislation. Of the 18 members of the UK Parliament for Northern Ireland, only the 3 SDLP MPs supported the Civil Partnerships Act.

In the face of this overt opposition, what is there that we, as social democrats, can do to achieve equality for all citizens? We will always be the youth group present at Belfast and Derry Pride, taking part in all aspects of the Pride festivals. But being active in Pride is not enough. We must be active and vocal in community groups such as; HIV Support, LGBT Youth Groups, Gay and Bisexual Health Organisations to name just a few.

We must promote positive pride, ensuring that gay people are not viewed as a distant and separate community but that we are your teachers, your doctors, your bus drivers and your police.

All these will be steps in the right direction but in order to achieve full equality, governments must look at equality in a holistic manner and not simply as a boxticking exercise.

Gavin Boyd

ECOSY Bureau Member from SDLP Youth (Northern Ireland) and member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party

One year in the struggle for equal rights in Portugal.

The year 2007 proved to be one of the most important in the struggle for recognition of equal rights to LGBT citizens in Portugal in recent times. A growing awareness of the issue in all groups of society, official acknowledgment of the LGBT movement and several symbolic moments of struggle in the recognition for same-sex marriage, have made 2007, if not a landmark year, at least a year when the roots of equality gained increased strength.

 

Campaign Poster of JS on the 17th of May

Campaign Poster of JS on the 17th of May

On the 17th of May 2007, the Socialist Youth launched a national awareness campaign against homophobia (under the banner Somos Iguais a Ti – We’re just like you), which prompted a significant debate in the national media and fierce reactions from the conservative right and homophobic  extreme right radicals. This particular action was inline with the Socialist Youth’s priorities in assuring equal rights to LGBT people and, particularly, with its intention of promoting a change in Portuguese legislation in what regards same-sex marriage. The position of the Portuguese Socialist Youth is very clear in this field: the only way to ensure full recognition of rights between all citizens mandates a change of legislation and the introduction of access to marriage contracts by same-sex couples, the existing recognition of legal effects to same-sex unions being clearly  insufficient to ensure equal treatment to all. Our organization has therefore prepared a piece of draft legislation, altering the Portuguese Civil Code and abolishing the exclusiveness of marriage as a contract between to persons of different genders, and is currently awaiting for an opportunity to put it before a vote in parliament.

Also in 2007, an appeal to the Constitutional Court on the conformity of the existing provisions of the Civil Code was made for the first time. After an attempt to get married at the Civil Registry in 2006 failed due to the refusal of the registry and of the courts to recognize that denying them the right to marry represented a discrimination based on their sexual orientation, two women from the northern city of Aveiro took their case to the Constitutional Court. Although a final ruling on this issue is expected only in the second semester of 2008, this case has raised sympathy for their struggle and promoted the national debate on the issue.

In spite of the fact that the major change represented by same-sex marriage is still not visible in the near horizon, several other important political, legislative and administrative reforms have defined a new concern of public bodies with the rights of LGBT people. The fact that the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All coincided with the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union strongly contributed to theses developments.

 

Awarenessrising Campaigns can increase social acceptance of LGBT

Awarenessrising Campaigns can increase social acceptance of LGBT

One of the major reforms completed by the socialist Government, the reform of Public Administration encompassed a major change in relation to the LGBT movement and its main concerns. For the first time, a public body, the Commission for Gender Equality and Citizenship (Comissão para a Cidadania e Igualdade de Género), will have competences in the fight against homophobic discrimination, and the most important associations of the LGBT movement have been invited to join its Consultative Council. Furthermore, the Commission organized the first ever publicly sponsored conference on LGBT rights, which gathered academics and activists at the University of Lisbon and is associated to the Ministry of Education in a broad initiative in the field of Education for Citizenship in public schools, where the promotion of the recognition of equal rights and the fight against all types of homophobia are important items on the program.

Another major reform, that of the Penal Code, also made a clear break with the past and specifically made homophobic hate crimes and violence a punishable offense, ensuring that all forms of criminal discrimination are dealt with resolutely by the state. This change was the logical consequence of the explicit reference to the protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation in the Portuguese Constitution since 2004, one of very few throughout the globe to do so. Not only do these changes carry important legal consequences for the protection of LGBT people, but they also encompass a remarkable symbolic message.

As we approach the International Day Against Homophobia, the Socialist Youth is once again preparing a national awareness-raising campaign against homophobia, which will be launched on May 17th 2008 and will, once more, focus on reaching people of all ages. Although the tasks ahead in the path to full equality are still considerable and arduous, it is becoming increasingly evident that the younger generations of Portuguese citizens will play a major role in the positive changes to come and are unwilling to wait much longer for equal rights for all.

Pedro Delgado Alves

ECOSY Bureau Member from the Juventude Socialista (Portugal)

Christian Homophobia.

It’s gay pride in Brussels! And we have a whole lot to celebrate! But there is also reason for less optimism: the demon of Christian morality is back in Belgium, and to a larger extend in many European countries.

 

Christian Homophobia

Christian Homophobia

Today, on the 17th of May, the most colourful parade of the year is coming through the streets of Brussels again. The theme for this year is ‘celebrate diversity’. As in Belgium two major demands, gay marriage and gay adoption rights, have been met over the last years –thanks to the socialists, who were at force!- the emphasis is this year on international solidarity. Belgium was one of the first countries in the world that acknowledged IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia). We’re proud to have our gay pride this year on the same day as IDAHO! We’re taking this opportunity to put pressure on the European institutions to add actions to the discourse. Discrimination of LGBT-people still exists in a lot of European countries. It’s time for a powerful European answer to this! (For concrete demands see here in French, soon in English)

But also in Belgium we’re not there yet. What is worse is that since the Christian-Democrats came at force again after nine years of opposition intolerance is back as well. Under the name of morality they say what can and cannot be shown and done. They define what is good and what is bad, as in the good old days. One of the latest sad examples of this tendence was the attack of some Christian-Democrats of the new launched ‘tolero’-campaign of the Flemish socialist minister for Equal Rights Kathleen Van Brempt. The campaign was launched after research results had shown that one out of four youngsters still cannot stand homosexuality. According to some Christian-Democrats the campaign encourages the transmission of HIV and sexual promiscuous behaviour (!). It is unbelievable that such a nonsense actually still is said today in 2008. Time has been turned some decades back. The struggle against homophobia is highly actual and we have to beware for reactionary forces.

That’s why Animo, the Belgian Dutch speeking Young Socialists, decided to do a ludique action this year at the Gay Pride. Dressed up as school boys and girls, straight from the fifties, in perfect uniforms, we’re going to be the safetycrew that distributes our own Animo-condoms. The message may be clear: with the Christian-Democrats at force we’re back in the fifties. We say no to their retarded morality!

Even in countries where everything seems to be accomplished this is far from the case. We have to stand together and fight against homophobia as a united Europe and through international solidarity. Let’s realise our dream together!

Nick Resmann

Member of ANIMO in Belgium

HOMO SOVIETICUS. To be a “pederast” in Belarus

A campaign against homophobia, organized by a group of LGBT activists, including the author of this article tock place in Belarus from 17th of April till 17th of May 2008.

Homo Sovieticus

Homo Sovieticus

Such campaign is a unique case for Belarus, because it’s never taken place before, all previous actions on this topic were of sporadic character and did not draw the attention of mass-media. This time, the whole month the activists of Belarusian LGBT community organized the series of education activities, gave numerous interview, took part in the gay pride in Moldova, had meetings with the journalists and activists from Europe.

Among the activities of the campaign was the participation in “Chernobylsky shliah” – an annual oppositional demonstration, dedicated to commemorate the victims of Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. One of the leaders of right-wing youth organization “Malady Front”, Dmitry Dashkevich said in the postdemonstration interview to “Radio Freedom (RFL)”, that “pederasts” (the abusive word for homosexuals in Belarus) should not had taken part in this action. In his earlier interviews and public discussions he always highlighted his opinion about homosexuals as “abnormal” and “mentally insane” people. Dashkevich demonstrates his own ignorance and does not respect the opinion of the World Health Organization (WHO), which excluded homosexuality from the list of the mental illnesses. Activists of “Malady Front” are positioned as the strugglers against Lukashenka regime, for freedom and democratic and European values in Belarus. This organization often gets grants from Western sponsor and partner organizations to support human rights protection work.

Such statements of “Malady Front” leader got a resonance not only in Belarus but abroad. Many of our partner organizations cannot understand and accept such position. Their representatives asked me: “Why your youth leaders, who struggle for freedom, democracy and political prisoners discharge do not understand, that homophobia is also a kind of discrimination and human rights violation?”

Unfortunately for some oppositional leaders and activists as well as Lukashenka administration, homosexuals are “perverts”. They prefer to ignore the problems of LGBT people and blame homosexual relations as something dirty and shameful. Another leader of “Malady Front” Artur Finkevich in the interview to the mentioned above “Radio Freedom” said that all the homosexuals should be forcibly settled in reservations and their contacts to “normal” people (especially children and families) must me prohibited. In this context oppositional activists use not only rhetoric of Belarusian authorities, they are supposed to struggle against, but the rhetoric of Hitler and corresponding ideology. Ghetto, concentration camps and GULAG had taken place in our history. It looks like, that some of the oppositional youth leaders would like to put us back to that dark times.

Julia Mickiewicz

LGBT-activist, feminist, journalist is a chief-editor of web-paper „Belarusian news“, member of Belarus league of sexual equality “LAMBDA” and activist of Belarusian socialist youth.

A many splintered thing…

It has been said already elsewhere how difficult it can be to deal, as a movement, with the disparities of situations and attitudes towards homophobia across the Union. It is quite clear that there is a wide gap between the situation in very liberal countries such as the Netherlands for instance, and Poland, where taking part in a gay pride would actually put your physical integrity in danger.
pnl08_splintered
But if the legal situation looks better, does it mean that being queer is any easier in those countries? Yes, probably, but for all that, homophobic attitudes are still firmly rooted, the stereotypes are still there, and claiming your sexual orientation is still something of a via dolorosa. To convince oneself of that one only need to look at statistics when it comes to suicide: young homosexuals, especially young males, still make the bulk of the numbers.

I personally think it would be a mistake to onsider queer people as a class in the Marxist sense of the term. Thinking that a young LGBT person in an upper middle class environment has the same resources to confront the difficulties of coming out of the closet than someone coming from, say, a impoverish migrant background is plain wrong. If only because openness to queer rights is very much a question of education, and in last resort because enforcing your right is also a question of access to justice. And we still live in a society where both the educational and judiciary systems are class-ridden ones.

Well, in spite of the revolutionary flame that lights our long nights of discussion and activism, it is not very likely that we, as young socialist and social-democrats, we manage to change that during our life span, I can already hear some say. Indeed, but in terms of education at least, there are things we can do. And, thinking back to those young queers from migrant backgrounds I mentioned before, I think it is even our duty, as young socialist and social-democrats to actually do something. And that is opening up our movement. We are still far too much a group of white upper-middle class gentlemen, failing completely to reflect the full diversity of the society we are calling for in our positions. By going out and bringing in the groups we claim we are defending, we can do a lot in terms of education and open-mindedness.

Ok, this might not be much… but it is what I’ll bear in mind walking alongside the gay pride in Brussels on the 17th. That and the image of my comrade deputymayor Ahmed Elktibi, slandered by a large part of his electorate, not for being gay, but for having celebrated the installation of a monument dedicated to the memory of victims of Homophobia in Belgium.

Brian Booth,

ECOSY Vice President and member of MJS Belgium

Transgender Day of Remembrance

22.11.2008 –  Transgender Day of Remembrance in BERLIN. Demo Start ist um 14Uhr am U-Bahnhof Kochstrasse.

Dies ist keine Fun-Parade! Dieser Tag ist zum einen ein Gedenktag an die Opfer trans*phober Gewaltverbrechen und Morde und zum anderen ein Ort an dem wir gemeinsam verstorbener trans*gender und ihrer Arbeit -gegen das Vergessen einer kampfreichen Geschichte- gedenken und feiern wollen.

Gleichzeitig ist es uns wichtig, etwas politisch gegen die Repression und Diskriminierung von trans*gendern und queeren Lebensweisen zu erreichen.

Route:

  • Kreuzung Friedrichstraße/ Kochstraße
  • Kochstraße (Redebeitrag taz)
  • Dutschkestraße
  • Zimmerstraße (Redeb. Botschaft)
  • Charlottenstraße
  • Gendarmenmarkt (Redeb. Dom)
  • Französische Straße
  • Friedrichstraße (Redeb. Ecke UdL.)
  • Oranienburger Tor (Redeb.)
  • Invalidenstraße (Redeb. Museum)
  • Endkundgebung: 16.00Uhr – 18Uhr am Robert-Koch-Platz

nächstes Plenum: Sonntag den 9.11. um 18Uhr im Ackerkeller (Bergstr.68)

Wenn ihr nicht aktiv an der Orga teilnehmen könnt, dann könnt ihr dennoch das Projekt unterstützen, indem ihr zur Demo kommt, Kritik und Ideen per mail an uns herantragt, die Veranstaltung per Mund und Mail und was euch sonst noch einfällt so weit wie möglich streut! Das wäre grossartig!

tgdor OrgaTeam

kontakt: tgrd.info@googlemail.com

http://www.transgenderdor.org/

British Embassy To Fly The Rainbow Flag

The British Embassy Warsaw will fly the rainbow flag alongside the Union Jack this weekend in support of Warsaw Pride 2008. The Pride March, which marks the end of a week of Equality Days in Warsaw, will pass the Embassy on the afternoon of Saturday 7 June. HM Ambassador Ric Todd will raise the flag over the British Embassy building on Aleje Ujazdowskie at 4 o’clock this afternoon.

The rainbow flag, which is the international symbol of the LGBT community, will fly until 8am on Monday 9 June. Ambassador Ric Todd said: “The UK remains committed to promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people overseas. This small gesture is a symbol of the British Embassy’s commitment to equality and acceptance for all. This weekend’s Pride March will be a celebration of diversity in Poland, Europe and beyond. I particularly hope participants travelling from the UK will enjoy the festivities.”

Last month the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed its commitment to engage with foreign governments about the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. It issued an ‘LGBT Toolkit’ to its 261 Embassies, High Commissions and other diplomatic posts. The kit contains information on the official British policy on gay rights and instructions in how to “provide added value to equality and non-discrimination work.” It covers a wide range of issues, from decriminalisation, sexual health, reproductive rights and health education to bilateral work with other countries. The document states that LGBT activists are often targets for persecution and that the FCO should ensure these people are “included among human rights defenders concerning whom the UK will lobby and will engage the support of other governments, especially EU members.”

Robert Biedron