It gets LGBT er

It’s been a mixed bag in terms of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) news this week, to say the least.

Which do you want first, the good news or the bad?

Russia was told by the European Court of Human Rights yesterday that its ban on gay marches is illegal. This is a huge victory in a country where homophobia is rife. The few brave individuals who had taken part in the banned public marches had reported verbal and physical abuse as well as unwarranted harassment and arrest by the police. The Independent calls the move, “a landmark ruling greeted with delight by the country's beleaguered homosexuals”.

The repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the US military, was also the culmination of a hard fought battle to allow gay men and women to serve openly in the forces.  On October 12, District Judge Virginia Phillips in California issued a permanent injunction barring the military from enforcing the ban. The Judge had ruled that the ban violated gay military members' rights to free speech and to equal protection under the law. Yet an appeals court has ruled that the policy can be temporarily reinstated whilst a final decision is reached. President Obama has regularly voiced his dislike for the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and this week, he also filmed a video voicing his support for gay teenagers who are bullied for being gay in a video project called ‘It gets better’. The overwhelming message of this series of films by famous figures, and notable politicians, is “hang in there".

In Uganda this week, a tabloid paper published the names and addresses of 100 homosexuals, under the headline, “Hang them”. Such blatant hatred and discrimination as well as incited violence is staggering in this modern age. Uganda is not alone in the public acceptance of brutal discrimination.  However the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on the Russian ban, offers a glimmer of hope. LGBT individuals can have recourse, ultimately, to the international community, where their own state offers inadequate potential. Put simply whilst the local paper might say “Hang them”, the international response is increasingly saying “Hang in there”.

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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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