Gay Pride, Human Rights
Well here we are, starting the chill out of the UK’s 2016 gay pride season. A year of “Absolutely Fabulous” events celebrating the diversity which makes up our society, whilst marching together in the fight for equality. Looking truly gorgeous as you would all expect.
But what about those who cannot take freedom for granted?
So far this year we have seen solidarity and the global outpouring of heartfelt emotion for the 49 victims killed and the 53 others who were wounded during the Pulse Nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made history by being the country’s first sitting head of government to take part in Toronto’s gay pride celebrations, which is Canada’s largest LGBT parade. Prime Minster Trudeau went on to join the festivities at both Montreal and Vancouver gay pride events.
Sadly, anti-queer Christian “zombies” infiltrated Toronto pride, to hand out homophobic literature. Many assumed the packets being handed out contained safe sex information. Instead, they contained graphic images of patients suffering from HIV/AIDS-related illnesses.
“Disease, death and confusion are the sad and sordid realities of the homosexual lifestyle”, the paperwork read.
In Turkey, hundreds of riot police used tear gas and rubber bullets to stop Istanbul’s “Trans Pride” event taking place during Ramadan.
Istanbul pride was then banned by the local government “for the safety of our citizens, first and foremost the participants’, and for public order.“
Once again the air filled with tear gas and rubber bullets were fired at protesters who defied the ban. 12 people were detained, including 2 German politicians and a freelance American photographer.
Police confiscated rainbow flags from demonstrators.
Kyiv, Ukraine held its first ever LGBT pride march, amid tight security. About 1,500 people, guarded by 6,000 police officers, walked around a couple of blocks in the centre of Kyiv on 12th June, some playing drums, blowing soap bubbles, and smiling. Participants cheered and chanted:
“Human rights is our pride,” “No to violence, yes to rights,” and “Love is law.”
And as we were taking part in these global celebrations the gay community was also being blamed for floods, earthquakes and even Brexit.
Oh please, I know we’re good darling, but really?
The most disturbing incidences have been taking place across the Middle East. Young men are being thrown from the rooftops of buildings in Iraq by ISIS extremists, only to be stoned and beaten to death if they survived the fall.
Iran publicly hanged a teenager on charges of “rape”. If the other boy had stated it was consensual he too could have been put to death.
Whilst in Saudi Arabia, the punishment for “abnormal behaviour” which the government are claiming is due to the rise in internet use has seen a huge surge in atrocities.
Prosecutors in Jeddah have proposed the death penalty in response to dozens of cases they have prosecuted over the last six months – including 35 people who received prison sentences for sodomy.
Saudi authorities also arrested of a man who innocently brought a rainbow flag online, not knowing its connections to the LGBTQ community, because his young son liked the colours.
Last year Indonesia gave permission to Aceh province to implement Sharia law. Now the Indonesian government is considering whether to criminalise gay sex nationally. Earlier this year Indonesia saw former communications minister make a call for the public to “kill any gay people they find” and the leading psychiatric body describe transgenderism as a “mental disorder”.
Homosexuality and gay sex are not illegal in Indonesia, and the world’s largest Muslim country has a vibrant transgender culture and tradition, which broadly meets with tolerance from the Indonesian public.
Even Indonesia’s Vice-President Jusuf Kalla, called for funding to be cut to a United Nations programme that focuses on ending stigma, discrimination and violence towards LGBT people.
“What is most worrying is that they want to fight for equal marriage rights,” he said
We can all play our part in ensuring tolerance, acceptance and love wins.
Please take a moment during your pride celebrations to raise your flag and blow that whistle as hard as you can for our brothers and sisters, literally being tortured for trying to truly be who they are.
Until next time I will leave you with Gloria Gaynor’s famous words.
“I am what I am”
I Am What I Am
I am my own special creation
So come take a look
Give me the hook
Or the ovation
It’s my world
That I want to have a little pride in
And it’s not a place I have to hide in
Life’s not worth a dam
Till I can say
I am what I am