Theres no place like homophobia

Where in the world is the worst place to be gay? This is the hefty question a Radio One DJ will tackle on BBC3 this coming Monday. 

Uganda has got to be up there in the running. Presenter Scott Mills had a personal taste of the violent intimidation gay men face when he is threatened and perused by a Ugandan MP, no less, after he revealed his sexuality. He only managed to throw armed security guards off the trail  by lying about which hotel he was staying in. 

Talking about homophobia in Uganda is a poignant subject at the moment, as it comes just weeks after the brutal murder of a campaigner for lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, David Kato, who was pictured on the front page of tabloid paper The Rolling Stone last year, under the headline: “Uganda’s top 100 homos- Hang them”. 

The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there and here in the UK all LGBT people feel safe and happy and enjoy equal treatment in every aspect of their lives. Don’t they?

No. According to the Evening Standard, reported incidents of violent anti-gay attacks in London rose by 28 per cent in the last four years. Just last month two young people were convicted of the manslaughter of a gay man, Ian Baynham in Trafalgar Square who they attacked whilst shouting homophobic abuse.

This increase in homophobic violence is a frightening relapse and a great shame for London’s reputation. With estimates indicating that only a fraction of attacks are reported, the actual incidence of persecution could be much higher.

The UK government went someway to addressing inequalities in the law today in announcing that men with historical convictions for consensual gay sex, are to have the conviction removed from their criminal records. The worst place to be gay in the world? It seems absurd to deal in superlatives when there are so many flaws to address in so many countries.

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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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