Public events for the sixth International Day Against Homophobia have been taking place around the world. The backdrop to the many awareness campaigns is literally a life struggle for countless individuals.
People who are not heterosexual can be punished by law in 80 countries; this can mean the death penalty in some states, if a person is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersexual (LGBTI).
Juris Lavrikovs, with ILGA-Europe (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association), in Brussels said: “One of the main problems — pan European problems — is hate crime based on homophobia and transphobia. LGBTI people are facing serious issues in terms of violence and hatred. There is a hate speech almost on a daily basis across the EU countries — not only coming from radical organisations but sometimes even from politicians.”
Human rights defenders point out that nearly all the central and eastern European countries and those of south-eastern Europe lack legislation against hate crimes.
“The European Parliament,” its Polish president said, “should continue to affirm its strong opposition to homophobia,” both inside and outside the EU.
Brussels already hosted a celebration of differences on Saturday, with a gay pride march bringing thousands of people into the streets.
Havana also held a gay pride parade at the weekend. Here, too, the political and social fabrics intertwine. Cuba is one of 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries where Europe is insisting on formal non-discrimination commitments before a new trade agreement is struck. ACP countries refused. Efforts continue in search of a compromise.
Homophobia hatred and right to non-discrimination a life and death struggle