Nothing says more about diversity than Eurovision, especially this year’s theme of ‘We are One’. Donations raised by your Eurovision party will go to supporting Stonewall’s international work helping other campaigners gain equal rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual people around the world.
In Britain, lesbian, gay and bisexual people enjoy almost full legal equality. Globally it’s a different story. In over 78 countries across the world being gay is illegal and being a lesbian is illegal in 49.
Closer to home some of the countries taking part in Eurovision have recently outlawed the ‘promotion of homosexuality’, which in many cases includes simply talking in public about the existence gay people. In others lesbian, gay and bisexual people continue to be denied protection by the police from brutal homophobic attacks, are banned from holding Pride parades and are denied basic employment, healthcare or family rights simply because of how they were born.
With your help, Stonewall is working internationally to end this persecution. Your donations can have a real impact on other people’s lives. We’ve all fought hard for our rights here in the UK, now let’s help others in their fight.
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 gay 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.
There are on-going concerns in a number of countries. Stonewall is in contact with activists around the world who are often inspired by our work. We make sure their issues are shared with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development (DfID). Sometimes they want the British Government to work quietly behind the scenes and at other times they want them to be public in their support for their gay equality campaigns. Sometimes they want Stonewall to help them attract international media attention for their cause or just want to receive some of our publications to use in their work. In every situation we’re making sure any support is aligned with the campaigns of activists in the countries concerned.
For more information on our work internationally please contact Jasmine, our International Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The infamous anti-gay bill in Uganda has not gone away. Although the President has publically distanced himself from the bill many parliamentarians are still pressing for it to be debated and passed into law. The bill introduces life imprisonment for homosexual behaviour, including having gay sex and/or being in a gay relationship. It also introduces the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality,’ this includes gay acts committed by parents, authority figures or HIV-positive people, paedophiles and repeat offenders.
On advice from local activists Stonewall continue to press the UK government to do all they can to stop the bill. We are keeping in contact with local activists to respond, as advised, to new developments on the ground.
The Croatian Government plans to introduce civil partnership legislation in advance of their EU membership later this year. In November last year we visited Croatia and were able to share tactics with activists and advise the group who are responsible for drafting the law on civil partnership. The Deputy Gender Ombudsperson and activists visited Stonewall at the end of February. They met with key people in Stonewall and learnt about our campaigns on civil partnership and marriage. They also meet with the UK Government Equalities Office to understand the role it plays in gay equality in the UK. The visitors left feeling inspired and encouraged by their time in London.
In early February Russia's Parliament backed a bill which outlaws the ‘propaganda of homosexuality’. If it becomes law it will make it illegal to hold public events that promote gay equality or to give children any information about lesbian, gay and bisexual issues. Stonewall has been listening to Russian gay equality activists and working with the FCO to ensure they do all they can to stop the bill becoming law. It is an uphill struggle for Russian activists as the bill had unanimous support at its first reading in the Russian Duma. The next vote is due sometime in June.
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 - passed its first reading in the House of Assembly. Same sex couples who marry will face up to 14 years in prison. The bill also outlaws any public displays of affection. Gay people holding hands or looking lovingly at each other would face a 10-year jail sentence. Anybody, straight or gay, who supports a gay organisation financially, could also face criminal prosecution.
Stonewall is lobbying the UK government to make sure that they are operating diplomatically to do all they can to prevent the bill becoming law. We’re also talking to activists to see how we can best support their work to defeat the bill.
In March we attended a one day conference on Homophobia and Freedom of Expression organised by the Polish Parliament and the Council of Europe. We shared with activists from across Eastern Europe and Polish Parliamentarians how Stonewall tackles homophobia in education and the workplace.