Showing posts with label International Homophobia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International Homophobia. Show all posts

February 2, 2017

UK: If you Believes Gays Choose that Glamourous Life UR Dense

After all the information available about gays, if you still believe gays choose that glamorous non bigotry, love by all, hate by none and with none of the rights of straights including lying to everyone you know especially your parents about who you are, then you are beyond being uninformed…you are either afraid of gay people(homophobe) or you just don’t give a shit about the people around you and then you should not be involved in equal rights events because you don’t know what that means!! Hope I got that right.

JEREMY Corbyn is under fire for saying people “chose to be gay” at the launch of LGBT History Month
The Labour leader made the embarrassing gaffe during an event last night.

Jeremy Corbyn made the gaffe during a speech to mark the beginning of LGBT History Month
Mr Corbyn told an audience: “We’re with you, we’re in solidarity with you. Your triumphs are our triumphs.”
He went on: “Our defense of you is a defence of all of humanity and the right of people to practise the life they want to practise, rather than be criminalised, brutalised and murdered, simply because they chose to be gay, they chose to be lesbian, they were LGBT in any form.” A spokesperson for Mr Corbyn said today: "Jeremy obviously meant people should be able to choose how they live their lives."

And Benjamin Cohen, the CEO of PinkNews and a journalist who was at the event, said the remarks were being taken "out of context".
But some members have said they can’t remain part of the Labour party after he made the comments - whether they were a mistake or not.

January 11, 2016

Homophobia and Hatred as a Political Tool


 Horrifying images posted on social media for all the world to see show men accused of homosexuality thrown off high buildings, stoned to death, or shot in the head by extremist groups, including the Islamic State (known as ISIS) in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

This was the worst, but by no means the only, violence directed against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in all parts of the world. According to a report on discrimination and violence against LGBT people by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in June:

Since 2011, hundreds of people have been killed and thousands more injured in brutal, violent attacks… Other documented violations include torture, arbitrary detention, denial of rights to assembly and expression, and discrimination in health care, education, employment and housing.
But there was also very good news for LGBT people in 2015. In May, Mexico and Ireland extended marriage to same-sex couples. A month later, Mozambique decriminalized homosexuality, and the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, allowing same-sex marriages throughout the country.

Malta, Ireland, and Colombia all separated the legal process for transgender recognition from medical procedures. In June, Colombia delivered a joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of 72 countries, from all regions of the world, affirming a commitment to end violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Extreme violence – and rapid progress

Extreme violence and rapid progress toward equality are the bookends of 2015. Negative snapshots include proposed draft laws that would mimic Russia’s notorious “propaganda law” by setting penalties for providing objective or positive information about homosexuality in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

In a setback for transgender women, a Malaysian federal court reversed a ruling that had found unconstitutional a Sharia (Islamic law) provision that forbids “a male person posing as a woman,” and religious authorities continued arresting trans women. In Brunei and Indonesia’s Aceh province, new Sharia laws call for public lashing, imprisonment and even the death penalty for same-sex conduct. Egypt imprisoned gay men and transgender women on “debauchery” charges and Morocco routinely imprisoned men accused of homosexuality.

LGBT people in Nigeria experienced violence and abuse under the shadow of an extreme anti-LGBT law. In Gambia, home of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, gay men and lesbians fled a politically motivated crackdown. In the United States, after a campaign of fear-mongering against transgender people, voters in the city of Houston rejected a non-discrimination ordinance that would have prevented discrimination not only on the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation, but also for race, age, and other categories.

Slovenia, in a referendum, shot down marriage equality just months after parliament extended marriage to same-sex couples.

Positive snapshots during the year include progress for transgender people in India and Thailand, where legal developments hold the promise for increased protection and social inclusion. LGBT groups in Kenya and Tunisia have been allowed to register and operate in an important assertion of the right to association. Malawi upheld a moratorium on arrests for consensual same-sex conduct, pending a court review in which activists challenged discriminatory laws. And Nepal’s otherwise deeply flawed constitution includes a ray of light in a clause protecting sexual and gender minorities.

While the past year has seen significant gains, many challenges lie ahead. In countries where repressive governments attack civil society organizations and prevent them operating freely and openly, LGBT people will be forced to live a shadow existence. 
Developments at the United Nations give insight into global trends and emerging patterns on matters relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. On September 29, at a high-level LGBT core group event at UN headquarters, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered an impassioned plea for the protection of LGBT people worldwide, and on the same day 12 UN agencies issued a joint statement on combatting violence and discrimination against LGBT and intersex people – the first of its kind.

But there is strong pushback. Russia has for years been positioning itself as the champion of “traditional values,” in alliance with other countries, primarily from the Middle East and Africa. This provides a convenient positive spin for rights-abusing states to cloak crackdowns on independent groups, restrictions on the political opposition, and moves to curtail individual freedoms as upholding “traditional values.”

Russian-sponsored UN resolutions on “traditional values” have attempted to undermine the universality of human rights. Russia and its allies have sought to create a false dichotomy between traditional values and human rights. And the rights of LGBT people, along with women’s reproductive rights, are the lightning rods in this debate.

This dynamic played itself out in an Egypt-led resolution on the “protection of the family” that the Human Rights Council adopted in June. The resolution seeks to enshrine a narrow conception of the family as the protector of “morals” and “traditions,” with no meaningful consideration of whether these comply with international human rights standards. Russia blocked attempts by South Africa, Brazil and Uruguay to recognize a broader definition of family.

Homophobia as a political tool

Such resolutions are thinly veiled attempts to use the language and institutions of human rights to push back against the rights of LGBT people, and all those who don’t fit patriarchal norms. This coincides with the increased political use of homophobia, by leaders who have portrayed themselves as guardians of embattled “traditional values” to distract attention from their failures of governance.

Rhetoric that positions LGBT people as the antithesis of “morality” and “tradition” is dangerous and contributes to a hostile climate in which extreme violence occurs.

While the past year has seen significant gains, many challenges lie ahead. In countries where repressive governments attack civil society organizations and prevent them operating freely and openly, LGBT people will be forced to live a shadow existence. Civil society organizations should reject attempts by governments to manipulate anti-LGBT animus for short-term political gain, and LGBT groups should avoid working in isolation and support a broader human rights agenda.

Reid Graeme

June 12, 2015

US Sends Powerful LGBT Delegation to New President of No Gays Nigeria


This week General Muhammadu Buhari will be inaugurated as Nigerian’s president, a position he won by campaigning on a platform of change. But will that change include the people on the fringe of society, like lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals? Will he eliminate the current repressive policies that his predecessor President Ebele Goodluck Jonathan approved? Can the U.S. and other governments pressure him to do so?
So far, Buhari has offered no public opinion on the matter. This includes when he was a military general and in 1983, toppled a democratically elected civilian government and ruled for 18 months until he himself was overthrown in another coup. At that time, LGBT issues were not part of the public discourse. 
It was only in 2004 that the issue came to the forefront during a famous TV interviewbetween Funmi Iyanda and myself, an openly gay Nigerian actor. Attention to the issue grew two years later with the introduction of the Same Sex (Prohibition) Act. Then in 2014, President Jonathan passed a harsher law that mandated a 14-year prison sentence for anyone in a same-sex relationship and a 10-year term for anyone who supports gay clubs, meetings or societies. Anti-gay violence has increased in the year since it passed.
In a recent report released by the LGBT Coalition in Nigeria, more than 100 cases of abuse against the LGBT community was recorded in 2014 alone. Thirty-nine instances of this abuse were carried out by state actors, including the police and it includes; arbitrary arrest, extortion, unlawful detention and “consensual” outing to family members.
As a presidential candidate, Buhari made no public pronouncement about this controversial law or the abuse of LGBT people. Nor did he comment when the opposition accused him of planning a deal with the countries in the West to repeal the law. So what will he do now?
Of course, at this point, there are really only two options: continue to support the repressive law or repeal it.
Supporting it would be the easier and more popular route. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes and Trends report, 98 percent of Nigerians said they believed homosexuality was not a way of life that society should support. In 2013, NOI, a Nigeria based opinion polling agency, showed 92 percent of Nigerians supported the anti-gay bill, largely because of their religious beliefs. But as more countries approve LGBT rights – with Ireland being the most recent example – and as entities like the World Bank refuse to loan money to countries that have anti-LGBT laws, he risks losing international support.
If Buhari decides to repeal the law, he will have more international support, but he will be swimming against the tide and the wishes of most Nigerian people. On the other hand, a Buhari government that supports and upholds the law will be committing a grave mistake by denying many Nigerians the right to live a safe and full existence. Further, because it’s unsafe for them in Nigeria, LGBT individuals account for one of the highest number of migrants from Nigeria to Europe and America, taking with them years of investment in term of education and expertise. Isn’t it in Nigeria’s best interest for them to be able to stay at home and contribute to the development of the country?
While at least for now, Buhari might be silent on this issue, the global community should not be. His inauguration gives them an open window for new engagement and re-negotiation with Nigeria on the issue of social liberty, justice and LGBT rights. The U.S., UK, Germany and the Nordic countries should see this as a chance to support, mentor and encourage Buhari to take the lead in championing true democracy, not just in Nigeria but across Africa. If he is given the right international support through soft power negotiation and not bullying, through encouragement and not probing, through mentoring and not dictating I hope it can happen.
Fortunately, President Barack Obama is sending a powerful delegation led by Secretary of State John Kerry to Buhari’s inauguration, signaling the important role Nigeria is playing in trade and security in West Africa and Africa as a whole. While I have openly criticized the U.S. LGBT Special Envoy Randy Berry, I acknowledge this is a golden opportunity for the U.S. to make good use of his office and support him in working with Nigerian LGBT and civil society.
Clearly Buhari has a lot of competing interests on his time, like fighting Boko Haram, creating jobs and crushing corruption. And his human rights record has not always been good. Like when he curtailed the freedom of the press and endorsed the flogging of civilians for simple infractions like crossing the road instead using footbridge. However, many of his other actions show him to often be a leader who has at the core of his politics humanity and human rights.
While I will not hold my breath that it will happen immediately, I do have hope that one day he will extend those human rights to all Nigerian citizens, especially if there is pressure from the international community like the U.S., from LGBT Nigerians who live abroad, and from activists within the country.
 Bisi Alimi
Alimi is a lecturer in pre- and post-colonial sexual orientation and gender identity in Africa at Berlin’s Freie Universtat and an alumni of the Aspen Institute’s New Voices Fellowship.

May 17, 2015

PresObama: LGBT ARE Priority Around the World, Calls Gambia,Jamaica,Russia Homophobic


The White House said Saturday that LGBT rights around the world are a “government priority” and slammed the president of Gambia for threats made against gays in his country.
Yahya Jammeh told a crowd in the Gambian town of Farafeni last week, “If you do it I will slit your throat — if you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it.” 
“The recent unconscionable comments by Gambian President Yahya Jammeh underscore why we must continue to seek a world in which no one lives in fear of violence or persecution because of who they are or whom they love,” National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in a statement. “We condemn his comments, and note these threats come amid an alarming deterioration of the broader human rights situation in The Gambia. We are deeply concerned about credible reports of torture, suspicious disappearances – including of two American citizens – and arbitrary detention at the government’s hands.”
Late last year, the U.S. stopped trade preferences with Gambia because of its “crackdown against its LGBT community and wider human rights violations,” Rice noted, and “we are reviewing what additional actions are appropriate to respond to this worsening situation.”
“We repeat our call for the Gambian government, and all governments, to lead inclusively, repudiate intolerance, and promote respect for the universal rights and fundamental freedoms of all people,” she added.
Tomorrow is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
President Obama issued a statement today stressing “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights are human rights, to celebrate the dignity of every person, and to underscore that all people deserve to live free from fear, violence, and discrimination, regardless of who they are or whom they love.”
“We work toward this goal every day. Here at home, we are working to end bias-motivated violence, combat discrimination in the workplace, and address the specific needs of transgender persons. Overseas, I am proud of the steps that the United States has taken to prioritize the protection and promotion of LGBT rights in our diplomacy and global outreach,” the president said.
“There is much more to do, and this fight for equality will not be won in a day. But we will keep working, at home and abroad, and we will keep fighting, for however long it takes until we are all able to live free and equal in dignity and rights.”
The administration also released a fact sheet detailing what it’s done to promote LGBT rights, including reviewing passport rules so couples in states with same-sex marriage can use married names on international travel documents and diplomats marching in gay pride parades. This past February, Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Randy Berry as the first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons, and there are six openly gay U.S. ambassadors.
“The U.S. Government has pushed back publicly and privately against discriminatory legislation, including in Uganda and The Gambia,” the White House said. “And senior U.S. officials continue to speak in support of LGBT persons around the world, as President Obama has done in trips to Russia, Senegal and, most recently, Jamaica.                        

November 24, 2013

Uganda a Piece of Hell for Young Gays

Bernard Randall
Bernard Randall in the Entebbe chief magistrates court. Photograph: Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images
Bernard Randall, the British gay man charged with homosexuality-related offences in a Ugandan court, glances up sceptically when I walk into his lawyer's chambers. His Ugandan partner, Albert Cheptoyek, sits protectively in front of him, closer to the door, on a rickety wooden bench. Cheptoyek's white shirt illuminates his dark sweaty skin, while Randall's oversize dull-coloured clothes match his face, making him almost invisible.
And that perhaps may just be the effect he needs to get through the ordeal of having the content of a sex tape of him and his 30-year-old partner splashed over newspapers and across the media here. And not just any media, but the media of a country that has declared homosexuality to be an evil practice, a cancer imported from the west that must be stamped out no matter what the cost.
In 2009, Ugandan MPs proposed the death penalty for certain homosexual acts. The anti-homosexuality bill was shelved after international pressure, but it remains on parliament's order paper and could be debated and passed at any time.
In Uganda the media routinely out gay people in an attempt to "protect" the moral fabric of society. In 2010 a tabloid called the Rolling Stoneprinted the names and addresses of people perceived to be gay and called on the public to hang them.
Randall, 65, says that he became a victim of such an outing after his computer was stolen, a video of him and his partner leaked and pictures from it published in a tabloid. He faces the possibility of two years in prison. His partner faces the more serious charge of carrying out acts of gross indecency that carries a seven-year prison sentence.
The charges are visibly weighing down on them. Randall's eyes, fatigued and bloodshot, have big bags under them. He involuntarily sits on the edge of the seat, as far from me as possible, protecting himself subtly with his arms. He seems to age before my eyes.
Certainly it is easy to see that Cheptoyek, perhaps more familiar with Uganda's anti-homosexuality outbursts, is his protector. He declares there will be no interview, even though I have an appointment.
"How do I know you are who you say you are? How do I know that you are not from NTV?" he says, referring to one of the TV stations that he feels covered their story unfairly.
Their eyes are pleading. Cheptoyek asks me firmly to leave them alone. And then out of nowhere, almost weeping, he says: "We have been through so much. Those people put my photos all over the place. We do not know what to do."
They are lost. Life after this ordeal will be almost impossible. They know that the Ugandan public, an estimated 90% of whom support the anti-homosexuality bill, will not welcome them back. Like other outed Ugandans before them, they risk threats, evictions, even death. As a result, Cheptoyek and Randall will trust only foreign journalists. Their only hope lies in the west after the country they call home – in Randall's case, chose to call home – has become hostile beyond their imagination.
Uganda has been called the worst nation in which to be gay. It was its anti-homosexuality bill that first brought its homophobic attitudes to the attention of the world, attracting powerful criticism from Europe and America, where it was dubbed barbaric and a violation of fundamental human rights. Britain and the US both threatened to cut aid to Uganda if it passed the bill. Uganda interpreted this reaction as evidence that the west was imposing a "gay agenda" on Africa.
Yoweri Museveni, Uganda's president for the last 27 years, described homosexuality as a decadent culture from the west and a threat to African values and Christianity. He showed open support for the bill but later backed down in the face of widespread international pressure. However, his ministers have continued to preach anti-gay rhetoric, urging gays to leave the country.
But Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, thinks that the accusation that the west is promoting homosexuality is misguided. "People are exaggerating the influence of foreigners in the gay rightscampaign in Uganda. The same people who fund other activities fund gay rights organisations. We do not have special donors," he says. "When we started our campaigns in 2007, we did not have any foreign funders. It was a naive gamble rather than a foreign-aided campaign."
In fact, the greatest foreign influence in the gay rights debate in Uganda comes from the western evangelical movement that is spreading radical ideas rejected in their own countries, Mugisha says. His organisation is suing evangelist Scott Lively in a US court for his involvement in what Mugisha calls persecution of gays and abuse of their fundamental rights.
Homosexuality is a common theme in churches in Uganda, with religious leaders castigating gay people at every opportunity. The country has held national prayers against homosexuality. In 2010 a pastor, Martin Ssempa, showed videos in his church of gay people having sex in a bid to convince his congregation of the dangers and to try to trigger disgust about gays.
Funded by evangelical movements from America, anti-gay churches have linked the high prevalence of HIV and Aids in the country to homosexuality. They have accused homosexuals of going to school and "recruiting" underage children.
Mugisha says evangelists have played on the psyche of many Ugandans. "They come here with their own agenda. It is like colonialism."
But to the ordinary Ugandan the Randall trial is yet more proof that there are foreigners who come to Uganda with one mission – to spread homosexuality. Mugisha argues that the socio-legal regime that sanctions homophobia and the idea that homosexuality is foreign has made foreigners an easy target for extortionists.
"We have seen this before. Many people blackmail white men and even rich black people known to be gay. Randall is unfortunate that his story reached the public."
Frederick Juuko, a Ugandan law professor and critic of foreign influence in Ugandan politics, agrees that homosexuality is a pawn for many in times of desperation, including government. He says Uganda is a failed state and that blaming foreigners for homosexuality is a handy distraction.
My encounter with Randall and Cheptoyek comes to a rapid end; it is soon time for them to make their daily trip to the police station – a condition of their bail.
"We have to go and deal with this," Cheptoyek says. They drive off, stopping after a few metros to let a guard slither into the back seat, just in case.

November 16, 2013

Kuwait is Planning to Check Homosexuality at Its Border-Anal Tests in the Arab World?

  • How does Kuwait plan to test for homosexuality at its border?
  • October was a difficult month to be gay in the Arab world.
  • On Oct 13, Egyptian police detained 14 people in Cairo pending investigations into allegations that they committed “homosexual acts” inside a medical centre in a middle-class neighbourhood in Cairo. The Egyptian prosecutor also ordered that they be sent to a pathologist for forensic reports and that the centre be shut down, the Arabic Ahram news site reported.
  • Rather than addressing its country’s problems — the current political struggle and the terrorism growing in the country — the Egyptian government is spending time and effort harassing gay people.
  • Egypt is infamous for its acts against gay people. In 2001, 52 Egyptian men stood trial on charges of “sexual immorality.”
  • Meanwhile the Kuwaiti government is spending time and money on finding the best ways to detect gay people in airports to prevent them from entering the country.
  • The proposal, put forth earlier in October by Kuwait’s director of public health, would ban anyone found to be homosexual, transgender or a crossdresser from entering the country. If adopted, it would add a new test to the medical assessments already required for migrants attempting to enter the Arab country.
  • And how exactly do they propose to test for homosexuality? Both the Kuwaitis and the Cairo police casually refer to "anal tests" as a means to detect homosexuality.
  • In April 2013, I stood outside the Ministry of Justice in Beirut, Lebanon with about 60 other people to protest the use of “anal tests” on Syrian gay people who were arrested in an underground nightclub famous for being gay-friendly.
  • “I was asked to take off my pants,” one of the men arrested said in an interview on a local TV station. “I was held in a public office, people were coming in and out, while some doctor was standing there casually having a conversation with someone that I couldn’t see, while I was standing naked in a corner, trying to hide my private parts.”
  • In the interview, the man’s face was hidden, his voice was altered. He was too shy to explain the exact test that he went through before his release.
  • Some rumours circulated around the time claimed that the test is a simple one: the authorities bring a doctor who uses a chicken’s egg and tries to insert it up the anus of the person suspected of being gay. According to how easily this operation goes, the doctor decides if the person is gay or not. This rumour was never documented or authenticated, naturally.
  • We call these tests in the gay society in the Arab world the “Shame Tests” — we all shiver under the possibility that one day we might go through it ourselves.
  • “Anal tests are not a medical practice, they are not scientific, and they do not indicate any form of finding the true sexuality, or gender identity of any person,” Ahmed Saleh, a spokesperson of Helem — the only LGBT non-governmental organization in the Arab World — tells
  • “These tests are done in a barbaric way, and they are an invasion of privacy and personal dignity of any person that is subjected to it.”
  • Helem used the incident to push for legal recognition that anal tests should not be performed by any licensed doctor in Lebanon. In response, The Lebanese Medical Association (LMA), in what is considered a healthcare milestone, listened.
  • On Aug 7, the LMA issued a memo demanding that doctors cease to conduct the anal probes. They have warned that any doctor who attempts to conduct them will face disciplinary action.
  • Speaking with the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, Dr Sharaf Abu Sharaf, the head of the LMA, said the procedure is ineffective, constitutes a gross violation of human rights, is humiliating, forced upon people without their consent, and in breach of the international convention against torture.
  • The country's public prosecutor, Judge Saeed Mirza, has argued for the tests to continue. He has stated that if police need ‘proof’ of homosexuality only the suspect can ‘consent to undergo the exam.’ However, if the detainee refuses to give his consent it can be used as ‘evidence’ against him.
  • This can still be considered a triumph in Lebanon, but it is also shadowed by the mentality of the rest of the Arab world, which is far yet from following Lebanon’s lead in this matter.
  • We are still wondering what kind of anal tests the 14 Egyptian detainees are going to face, and what kind of medical requirement migrants to Kuwait might have to endure.
  • Maybe they plan to test how firm your handshake is? Or how stylish your outfit is... although most Kuwaitis are known for overspending on designer clothing. Jokes aside, anal tests are still practiced across the Arab World, and the young men who have gone through them are still suffering in silence.
  • BY 

November 8, 2013

What’s Happening at the Commonwealth Colonial Nations in Homophobia?


Homophobia in the Commonwealth isn’t just a relic of colonialism. Image from
The Kaleidoscope Trust this week released a report on LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual/transgender and intersex) rights in Commonwealth countries. It found that 41 of the 53 member states still criminalise homosexual sex. This equates to almost 80% of the Commonwealth members, and over half of the 78 states globally in which gay sex is illegal.
But contrary to the report’s explanation, homophobia in the Commonwealth isn’t just a relic of colonialism.

CHOGM and human rights

The report was timed to influence the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, which starts tomorrow and follows on from previous attempts to address discrimination at the forum. In March 2013, a new Commonwealth Charter was adopted which states that:
We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.
The charter failed, however, to include LGBTI identities in the list of protected attributes.
Human rights have already become a major theme in the lead-up to CHOGM. Several heads of government have signalled they will not be attending in protest against Sri Lanka’s human rights record. Media attention has so-far focused on alleged war crimes perpetuated in Sri Lanka’s recent brutal civil war.
The Kaleidoscope report draws attention to other rights violations, including the criminalisation of homosexual sex and the harassment of LGBTI activists.
Other Commonwealth nations have also made global headlines recently for persecuting homosexuals. In 2009, the Ugandan parliament debated a bill that would have introduced the death penalty for serial offenders, HIV-positive people who engage in homosexual activity, and people having homosexual sex with a disabled partner. A revised version of the bill was debated in 2012.

Colonial legacy

The Kaleidoscope Trust report offers a fairly simple explanation for why LGBTI discrimination so prevalent in the Commonwealth: homophobic legislation is a relic of British Imperial rule.
When the British invaded and took possession of their various colonies around the world, “the unreformed law of England was transported through criminal codes by imperial masters to far flung outposts of empire”. This included legislation against “sodomy”, “attempted sodomy”, and, after 1885, “gross indecency” between men.
Uganda considered imposing the death penalty for homosexual activity. Image from
The British Empire began to be dismantled following World War Two. Decolonisation was largely accomplished by 1967 when gay law reform first passed in England and Wales.
Crudely speaking then, legislation banning gay sex in the Commonwealth is a legacy of colonisation. Homophobic law and “the attitudes that had followed the law” were imposed on colonised societies, and largely remained after decolonisation.

But it’s not so simple

While I unequivocally support the decriminalisation of same-sex acts, the explanation of Commonwealth homophobia presented in the report disturbs me. And for a number of reasons.
Ironically, the campaign for LGBTI rights in the Commonwealth repeats the narrative of colonisation that it is ostensibly attempting to remedy. In this case, it is sexual liberation - rather than repression - that is being exported to the former colonial world from the former colonial center.
The Kaleidoscope Trust is based in the United Kingdom, and its report explicitly locates its agenda in the legacy of British decriminalisation. The report’s preface commends the wisdom of Sir John Wolfenden, whose 1957 report recommended decriminalisation in Britain.
That wisdom must now inspire us in the countries of the Commonwealth to rid ourselves of this archaic legal inheritance.
The majority of countries in which gay sex is illegal are the poorer and less developed states in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Carribean. But the focus on non-white former colonies sidelines rights abuses in countries where gay sex is legal. The continued exemptions from anti-discrimination legislation given to religious organisations in Britain and Australia are one obvious example (although, to be fair, they are also mentioned in the report).
And it is also easy to forget how late decriminalisation came in these places too. Scotland did not reform its law till 1980, Northern Ireland until 1982, and the last Australian decriminalisation legislation did not pass until 1997.
Furthermore, the neocolonial narrative implicit in the report presents acceptance of homosexual rights as a marker of Western modernity. This may not be an attractive conjunction in countries still struggling with the legacy of colonialisation. It lends itself to the (not unfounded) critique that homosexuality is being imposed in a neocolonial manner on former colonial possessions.
Bangladesh now recognises a third gender. Image from
Framing the debate in terms of LGBTI rights also obscures the diversity of non-western sexual orientations and gender identities. “LGBTI” are remarkably recent ways for sexually and gender diverse people to self identify. Even in the west, men didn’t start to refer to themselves as “gay” until the 1970s.
It is illustrative that on the very same day that Kaleidoscope released its report, the Bangladesh government recognised Hijras as a third gender. Traditional transgendered people have been able to be legally recognised in a society in which gay sex has not yet been able to be made legal.
Finally, and most importantly, the colonial explanation of Commonwealth homophobia ignores non-Western sources of opposition to sexual freedom. Why have places like Sri Lanka and Uganda criminilised sex between women when that was never illegal in colonising Britain? What about non-Christian religious opposition to LGBTI rights?
Locating homophobia (and LGBTI activism) in the colonial domain fails to recognize or engage with either the agency of postcolonial activists or that of postcolonial homophobes.



Timothy Jones receives funding from the Australian Research Council.

October 16, 2013

Dance Choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov “Persecution of Gays in Russia is Unacceptable” and the Endowment of Nureyev

Dancer, choreographer, actor and eternal hottie Mikhail Baryshnikov told the No More Fear Foundation that he finds the persecution of LGBT people in his native Russia “unacceptable”:
My life has been immensely enriched by gay mentors, colleagues and friends and any discrimination and persecution of gay people is unacceptable. Equal treatment of people is a basic right and it is sad that we still have to even speak about this in [the] 21st century.
I salute the No More Fear Foundation for stepping in so quickly to provide the much necessary assistance to gay and lesbian people who are fleeing prosecution and help them lead a proud life in their new country.”
No More Fear works to help LGBT emigres find asylum in the U.S.

Reports ‘gay’ men were taken to police station naked after the raid and are facing anal probe torture tests. Total arrests may be greater than 14

The El Marg district of Cairo where the raid took place.
Neighbors have broken into a gym and sauna in Egypt and ‘destroyed it’ after a police raid against gay sex, according to unconfirmed reports GSN has received.
A scene from “Steam: The Turkish Bath
Some reports are suggesting the 14 were paraded to the police station either naked or only partly clothed after the raid on Friday (11 October).
A prosecutor ordered they should be held for ‘forensic reports’. Again unconfirmed reports suggest this may include ‘anal probe’ tests to examine if they have engaged in gay anal sex.
These tests, often used in the Middle East and North Africa have been discredited as scientifically meaningless and are considered a form of torture by international human rights bodies.
The men who may undergo this range in age from just 18 to 57.
Egyptian media and GSN reported the number of arrests at 14 but it has now emerged that may just be the number of ‘clients’ rounded up in the raid. Workers and the ‘health club’ manager have also apparently been detained.
With the manager and staff away, locals are alleged to have broken into the center and vandalized it. However, this report from a GSN Egyptian contact has not been independently verified.
It may be the same people were the ones who tipped off the police about ‘fahesha’ or ‘immorality’ on the premises, sparking the police investigation and raid.
The prosecutor also ordered the premises should be shut down.
Of the raided ‘health center’ he says: ‘I have at least one friend who has visited. It was a small gym and sauna, converted from a private apartment and operating as a business for years.
‘It’s well known in the surrounding streets; when my friend went there about three years ago – before the Revolution – and asked directions, the neighbors said “Oh, the hammam!”, or baths, and pointed the way.’
Egyptian media reported the clients had paid E£50 to E£200 (Egyptian pounds) ($7 €5 to $29 €21) but Long disputes this.
He writes: ‘The entry fee was E£25 [$3.50 €2.70] back then [when his friend visited]. It’s unlikely the price has gone up eightfold in the interim, so the figures the police gave (with the strong suggestion of prostitution) are probably nonsense.
‘There is a good chance that the “pills and sexual stimulants” the police found are vitamins, or even steroids.’
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Rudolph Nureyev

Rudolph Nureyev born 17 March 1938 (d. 1993)

Rudolph Nureyev was the greatest male ballet dancer of his generation - and one of the two most significant of the 20th Century - the other beingNijinsky.

Born on a train somewhere in Siberia in 1938, he was a small, sensitive, somewhat deprived boy, bullied and tormented by the other children. But he had a flair for folk-dancing, and was discovered, taught and encouraged by two exiled ballerinas living in Ufa. His father was less than pleased on his return from the Second World War to discover his son studying ballet - picture a Russian Billy Elliot. His natural ability and an unshakeable self-belief gave him his escape.

Aged 17, he found himself enrolled at the Leningrad Ballet School, where he was brilliant and difficult. In 1958, following graduation he became a soloist with the Kirov Ballet. Having always struggled with the confining rules of the Soviet way of life, he fell foul of the Soviet security regulations while on tour with the Kirov Ballet in Paris in 1961, and rather than be sent back to the USSR, slipped his minders at the airport in Paris and sought political asylum in France - his 'great leap to freedom'.

Tried and convicted of treason in his absence, he spent the rest of his life fearing kidnap or assassination, for his defection had made headlines around the world and a superstar of the young Nureyev. His family, friends and teachers back home paid the price for his freedom.

His physical beauty, extraordinarily athletic and sexual dance persona, and bags of Russian charm, made him a leading light in the glittering world of international cafe society. But his passport to lasting success was the way he transformed the role of the male ballet dancer, much as Nijinsky had done years before - the solo male again became electric and thrilling.

He became a soloist with the London Royal Ballet, the Chicago Opera Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet, as well as forming his own touring companies and achieving great success as an artistic director and choreographer - particularly re-energising the established classics such as GiselleSwan LakeThe Nutcracker and Romeo & Juliet.

His partnership with Margot Fonteyn [pictured] made both their stars burn brighter. His dancing career was long and he toured the world extensively, raising the profile of ballet and his own central role as its most shining star.

Nureyev's other significance was his openness about his own sexuality - ballet was ironically very closeted because of its effeminate image. Because he made no effort to appear heterosexual and yet was an incredibly athletic and male performer, he was able to explore and express roles without restrictions, which gave a depth not only to his performances but to the range of artistic expression for other male dancers. This openness however, may have had much to do with his extreme arrogance and super-sized ego.

Famously well-endowed, his sexual life was the stuff of legend - the gay playboy of the western world. But he also enjoyed several long-term relationships - he spent the early 60s involved with an older Danish dancer named Eric Bruhn (1928-1986) but their relationship had suffered from something of a 'Star Is Born' nature as Nureyev's career rocketed and Bruhn became an alcoholic. In the 1970s, he had a long relationship with Wallace Potts, a director and archivist; and in 1978 he met a young dancer named Robert Tracy, who moved into his New York apartment and stayed for fourteen years until he was evicted, complaining that he had been treated `like a lackey'.

In 1983, Nureyev was diagnosed with HIV. Rudolph Nureyev died of an Aids-related illness in Paris in April, 1993.

Leaving nothing to Robert Tracy (who took legal action and won), he left the bulk of his fortune to establish foundations to promote dance and medical research.

Rudolph Nureyev Foundation
Rudolph Nureyev - The Life


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