Nearly one hundred protesters gathered outside Commonwealth Secretariat Headquarters in London to demand that greater equality for LGBTI people is put on the agenda for [past November] summit.
People can still be sent to prison for homosexuality in 41 of the 53 member states. A recent report by the Kaleidoscope Trust declared:
“Across the Commonwealth lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people are denied equal access to rights, education, employment, housing and healthcare. Once again we see Commonwealth leaders gathering at the Heads of Government meeting, pushing aside the urgent need to protect every citizen under the law. Once again the human rights of LGBTI people are the elephant in the room.”
Peter Tatchell explained the purpose of the rally: “Two days before the start of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta, 27-29 November, we are rallying outside the Commonwealth headquarters in London to demand that all Commonwealth members states decriminalise homosexuality and legislate equal rights for their LGBTI citizens, in accordance with the human rights principles of the Commonwealth Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For over 60 years, CHOGM has refused to even discuss LGBTI human rights, let alone support LGBTI equality. This CHOGM is no different. They won’t even allow LGBTI rights on the agenda,”
A few days prior to the protest a report was issued by the Human Dignity Trust and the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association highlighting now the persecution of millions of people in Commonwealth countries where homosexuality is a criminal offence is worsening the AIDS crisis.
If you wish to join the campaign to promote gay rights in the Commonwealth you can check out the following LGBTI groups and organizations:
The Out and Proud Diamond Group
African Rainbow Family
—words and photography by Alisdare Hickson