‘Tis the season to be proud!

The sun shone brightly in London last Saturday as thousands of Londoners and visitors took to the streets to celebrate Pride. The parade was fun and very colourful, and Amnesty’s ‘Love is a Human Right’ float drew a great crowd as always.It is certainly the season of Pride across the UK as in a couple of weeks Amnesty supporters in Bristol and elsewhere will take part in their local gay pride parade. Generally these celebrations which pass off with few hiccups and much celebration here in the UK.  But, as Amnesty pointed out from its float last Saturday in many other countries being gay is a crime and harassment is rife.  In India, homosexuality isn’t criminalised and the Guardian reports how in the last ten years there’s been greater acceptance of gay people, and large gay pride parades have taken place in New Delhi and other big cities such as Mumbai and Calcutta. It’s astonishing then to read today of India’s Health Minister describing homosexuality as a ‘disease’ which is ‘spreading fast’.  Ghulam Nabi Azad made these comments at a conference on HIV/Aids in the Indian capital, New Delhi where – as The Daily Telegraph reports – the Prime Minister and other government ministers were in attendance.   So far India’s Prime Minister has refused to make any comment about these remarks. Worryingly, similar opinions have been coming out of Islamabad in recent days, from Jamaat-e-Islami – Pakistan’s largest Islamic political party which condemned a recent event hosted by the US embassy in Islamabad in support of gay rights. The party described gay people as “the curse of society and social garbage".  Despite the celebrations we’re so accustomed to here in the UK, homophobia is still an ever present and damaging issue globally.   LGBT rights is an area central to Amnesty’s campaigning work, and will continue to be so until we see significant progress.  Unfortunately this seems to be a long way off.  We’re still campaigning for the release of Mr Mbede in Cameroon and another priority action for Amnesty this week is the call on Turkey to stop discriminating against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.  It may be the time of year to shout loudly and proudly for gay rights here in the UK, but in several countries elsewhere in the world, it just ain’t so.  So before you head out to join the next Pride parade, take a moment to take action for those whose basic rights are being denied in countries around the world.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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