Government ministers, candidates for Mayor of London and more than 100 LGBT activists from across the world came together at the University of the Arts in London last week for the UK launch of the International Day Against Homophobia.
Students on the Design for Graphic Communication course at the University of Arts designed double sided broadsheet posters to encourage UK campaigners to arrange events for the IDAHO on May 17th, and the winning posters were displayed at the event.
IDAHO founder Louis-Georges Tin was in attendance.
He called on the UN to adopt a motion calling for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality and celebrated the fact that IDAHO, now in its fourth year, is marked in 50 countries.
Barbara Follett, the minister for equality, said:
“The people that are here tonight are a testament to what we can be when people from different backgrounds, with different experiences of life, come together and work together on a project.
“This is about alerting people to what is going to happen on May 17th.”
Brian Paddick and Sian Berry, the Lib Dem and Green candidates for Mayor of London, both attended the launch.
Tory candidate Boris Johnson and incumbent Mayor and Labour candidate Ken Livingstone sent representatives who spoke of their support for IDAHO.
Mr Paddick said:
“Many people, even in this country, do not move in the social circles we move in, the educated, the enlightened.
“They do suffer discrimination but in other countries things are much worse, where you can lose your life at the hands of the state, rather than at the hands of criminals, simply for being gay.”
Sian Berry called for a free registry office weddings for all couples gay and straight, an end to deportation of gay people to countries where their lives are in danger
She said London’s police should not co-operate with deportations.
Pastor Kiyimba Brown spoke about his experience he set up an IDAHO Chapter in Uganda, Ali Hilli founder of Iraqi LGBT presented a report on the situation for LGBT activists in Iraq and Bill Schiller of the International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network highlighted plight of the LGBT community in Belarus.
IDAHO will be marked by events across the UK. Click here for more information.