In Britain lesbian, gay and bisexual people enjoy almost full legal equality. Globally it’s a different story.
Being gay is illegal in 78 countries across the world and being a lesbian is illegal in 49. In five countries same-sex sexual activity carries the death penalty.
Even where it’s legal to be gay other laws often stand in the way of equality. In some cases gay pride marches are not allowed and neither is literature that ‘promotes homosexuality’ - which often means it simply states its existence.
All around the world people are silenced, imprisoned, violently attacked, defined as mentally ill or murdered, just because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual. Stonewall is working internationally to end this persecution.
We’re using our established lobbying skills to make sure the UK Government and European Union do all they can through their diplomacy and international aid programmes to support gay equality globally.
We’re sharing our lobbying approach and tools with the activists fighting for their rights and risking their lives to enjoy the same levels of equality as gay people in Britain.
We’re making sure governments that oppose LGB &T equality know that it’s a global issue and not, as some try to argue, a ‘western phenomenon’. This means that we’re working to promote different voices from around the world and making sure their stories take centre stage.
To coincide with the UN Day of Human Rights 2013 we launched: 'Engaging with the UK Government: A guide for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists worldwide'. The guide aims to support LGB & T activists to access the UK Government’s support in their country. It is full of useful information and practical tips that will help activists.
If you wish to order hard copies of the guide or ask for it to be translated, then please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2013 Stonewall had several LGB & T activist groups visit us in London to learn about how we have worked for equality and to share their strategies with us.
Visitors included Q – Centrum from Slovakia, Bhandu from Bangladesh, the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law in Uganda and the Society against Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Guyana.
There are on-going concerns in a number of countries. Stonewall is in contact with activists around the world and we make sure their issues are shared with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
In June 2013 Russia's parliament held its final reading of a bill which outlaws the ‘propaganda of homosexuality’. Sadly, support for the bill was overwhelming and on 1 July the bill was signed into law. Activists have an uphill struggle ahead as they find ways to both work around the law and challenge its existence. Stonewall will continue to work with activists and the Foreign Office to strategise and campaign for equality there.
We have produced an update on Russia which provides more information on the bill and makes suggestions for how individuals, the UK Government and business can respond.
The infamous anti-gay bill in Uganda has not gone away. Although the President has publically distanced himself from the bill there is still a concern that it could be resurrected by parliamentarians.
On advice from activists in Uganda Stonewall continues to press the UK Government to do all it can to make sure the bill does not reappear.
In Nigeria, a deeply-worrying bill - which would make it a crime for gay people to marry and for anybody to witness a gay marriage - was passed this year in the House of Representatives. As well as outlawing marriage the bill also outlaws public displays of affection. Gay people holding hands or looking lovingly at each other would face a 10-year jail sentence.
The bill now needs to be ‘harmonised’ so the differences are ironed out between the earlier version passed in the Senate and the one passed in June by the House of Representatives. It will then go to the President to be signed into law.
Stonewall is lobbying the UK Government to make sure it is operating diplomatically to do all it can to prevent the bill from becoming law. We’re also talking to activists in Nigeria to see how we can best support their work to defeat the bill.
Our international work is moving fast as we are constantly responding to issues around the world. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest information and make sure you tell us what you think.
Download our posters by clicking on the images above and help us to tell the world ‘Some People Are Gay. Get Over It!’ in the language of your choice.
Download our Russia update, take action and pass the ideas on.
Support our international work by donating to Stonewall.
For more information on our work internationally please contact Jasmine, our Senior International Officer, at email@example.com