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Love without borders

Thursday 17 July 2008 LGBT

“To persecute people for their sexual orientation is to violate their fundamental human rights. All over the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people defend their right to be who they are, often at the risk of their lives. That is why those who are about human rights are doing something about it.”
Linda Wilkinson, Chair, Amnesty International UK

Around the world lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are persecuted, imprisoned and even murdered by their own governments. In the UK we’ve won many legal rights over the past few years. But we live in a global community and can no longer stand by while the suffering continues. It’s time to use our freedom to fight for the rights of others - and we want to include you in this fight.

A few of the horrific truths about discrimination against LGBT people worldwide:

  • Same-sex sexual activities for men are explicitly illegal in more than 85 states around the world, and for women in more than 40 states.
  • LGBT people are officially subject to the death penalty in ten countries across the world, in three of which recent executions took place.
  • Three countries have amended their constitutions to ban marriages between same-sex couples – Honduras (2005), Latvia (2005) and some US states.
  • 13 countries prohibit gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from serving in their army. One of these is the US.
  • Only 14 countries worldwide recognise asylum for LGB people.
  • It wasn’t until 1993 that the World Health Organisation officially removed homosexuality from its list of diseases.

NUS LGBT is a proud member of the International LGBTO Youth Organisation (IGLYO) and the European branch of the International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA – Europe). We’re coordinating national work and encouraging LGBT societies to work on the issues of individual countries. This ensures a focus for the campaigning work of each LGBT society.

NUS LGBT is lobbying the UK government to support the Brazilian Resolution, the United Nations resolution on human rights and sexual orientation. We are also supporting the Yogyakarta Principles, a document produced by an international group of human rights lawyers and experts, which applies human rights principles to sexual orientation and gender identity issues.

You can find out more at www.yogyakartaprinciples.org.

 

How you can get involved

  1. Respond to this article (click the respond link below)
  2. Choose a campaign country, which can be anywhere in your NUS region or nation’s allocated continent. These are:
    London   Africa
    Scotland and Wales  Asia and the Pacific
    South    Americas
    Midlands and East  Europe
    North    Middle East
  3. Choose a suitable day of action. Several dates have been designated as specific days to fight homophobia and transphobia. These are:
    • 17 May: International Day against Homophobia
    • 20 November: International Transgender Day of Remembrance
    • February: LGBT History Month UK.
  4. Do your research. Use the Internet to check on any recent developments. Find out if there are any LGBT Rights organisations working in your chosen country – you may be able to work with them.
  5. Decide on an objective. This might be:
  • Supporting an LGBT group in your chosen country by publicising their work (though be careful what you promise to deliver to other LGBT organisations, and don’t do anything to put them at risk).
  • Bringing the UK government’s attention to the issue through awareness-raising, petitions, letter-writing or lobbying your MP.
  • If your chosen country is a member of the EU, you could also lobby your MEP.
  • Lobbying the Foreign Secretary to take your issue to the United Nations.
  1. Decide on your campaign tactics – what you’re going to do in order to achieve your objectives. This could include
  • Press releases
  • Media stunts
  • Fundraising events
  • Demonstrations
  • Stalls
  • Posters and banners
  • Letter-writing events

For further ideas, visit our section on how to campaign 

To order the campaign posters, email lgbt@nus.org.uk (orders may take up to three weeks).