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Commonwealth secretary general speaks out against homophobia following Tatchell’s criticisms

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  1. It’s a bit trite to blame the present attitude of a significant proportion of the Commonwealth on UK rule.
    They have had long enough to adjust and change – after all we did!

    1. Exactly – two Commonwealth countries have full Marriage Equality now!

      1. That’d be two of the richest, wouldn’t it James? Where perhaps the bulk of the nation’s wealth historically went to the forebears of those who continue to live there (as opposed to being extracted by and for foreigners)?

        1. You consider South Africa rich?

          1. OK, fair point – though it’s possibly the richest African Commonwealth country?
            SA’s surprisingly advanced laws seem to be of little use to the bulk of its population though, judging from recent reports.

    2. Don’t forget that, as little as 20 years ago, as a gay man you could risk imprisonment in the UK for having sex with a man under 21. The changes in the UK have been magnificent and surprisingly speedy, but do let’s try not to get too smug about them.

      1. Yes that’s a bad part of our history and I’m sure we can accept it. However we really can’t sit by while countries like Uganda actually want to kill LGBT people.

        1. I wasn’t saying that we should, just that advances we clearly already take for granted here are in fact very recent and perhaps we should be conscious that other countries don’t always move forward with such speed.
          Uganda, of course, is a basket case and one can only despair.

          1. Jock S. Trap 4 Jun 2011, 12:00pm

            Yes and if we can do it, then why not them?

    3. It doesn’t really matter. does it?

      The fact is the Commonwealth is a bastion of homophobia, and that stands as a contradiction to the very essence of the Commonwealth.

      Sharma’s answer is a beginning, and it was triggered by PT’s activism.

    4. Staircase2 2 Jun 2011, 5:51pm

      Not true
      – what you’re saying demonstrates a basic lack of understanding about the longterm effects of oppression. What exactly did ‘we’ adjust and change after UK rule then?

    5. Jock S. Trap 4 Jun 2011, 11:58am

      I agree Paul.
      I think blaming something from 200 years ago is more making excuses not to do anything.
      It’s blind and foolish as it lets off those said homphobic countries.

  2. It sounds all a little defensive to me …

    The Commonwealth may stand against discrimination in all its forms, but it doesnt shout very loudly …

    1. A rather restrained and muffled voice, it appears

    2. Staircase2 2 Jun 2011, 6:00pm

      Its called ‘diplomacy’ – and it may seem very quiet to you – but its deliberately so – and that quiet voice is far more powerful in changing international governmental opinion than shouting it at someone (ironically enough).
      Anyone who wants to be a part of that global political community listens very loudly to the things that others say quietly. (its a way of saying something without putting anyone directly in the firing line and creating a defensive response – and it works!) Idiots like Gaddaffi dont care about quietly spoken stuff simply because they don’t wish to be part of that political group (Mugabe is another idiot who is the same) Most other Commonwealth countries DO care very much as it goes – because most of them still espouse ridiculously outmoded colonial British ideas about the way the world should work. Including large scale oppression of minorities whilst holding a publicly ‘caring’ and benevolent face – where do you think those countries learnt and honed those skills?

      1. @Staircase2

        It is a form of diplomacy which is effective in some areas – but arguably results in inequality being prolonged …

        Other more direct forms of diplomacy such as sanctions and direct communication have also had tangible results.

        The attitude of Commonwealth countries such as Kenya and Soloman Islands towards homosexuality is appalling

        Its time the Commonwealth sat up took notice and banged some tables

  3. Right on, PT…we’ve heard the words, now let’s see some action.

    1. Exactly, action speaks louder than words, so to speak.

  4. The Nairobi Star, that influential barometer of public opinion … !
    Come on Mr Sharma, now have the same article published in papers the rest of the world will see.

  5. Islamic Relief is advertising jobs at the head of this page. The job pack attached – requiring details of pre-existing medical conditions – seems to breach disability legislation. Could PinkNews kindly review this advertiser and remove them in fairness to disabled people.

    1. Thank you pink news better sort it out

    2. Staircase2 2 Jun 2011, 6:04pm

      Is this relevant?
      Pink News has an email address for reporting stuff – these message boards are not moderated (which is why so much complete drivel gets spouted on such a regular basis in here)

      1. Unfortunately they dont always receive emails (I have had 3 failed)

  6. jamestoronto 2 Jun 2011, 4:44am

    … And Canada would be the second country. However, the last time I checked, I am quite sure we didn’t have a colonial empire. I don’t understand what your comment about “two of the richest” means. What does a country’s wealth – or non-wealth – have to do with
    equal marriage? Australia, New Zealand and the UK for that matter do not have equal marriage despite the wealth.

    1. No, but obviously – since that’s the basis of the Commonwealth – Canada was part of a colonial empire, and is one of the countries where the colonisers’ descendants make up the bulk of the present population.
      Don’t you think that liberalism tends to go hand-in-hand with general prosperity (ie the size and influence of the educated middle classes)? Wouldn’t you say that’s the difference between Scandinavia and the Netherlands on the one hand and, say, Greece on the other? The association seems pretty clear to me. Admittedly, in this respect Australia and New Zealand (not to mention the US of course) are rather lagging behind.

    2. Staircase2 2 Jun 2011, 6:08pm

      It may have escaped your notice but all the countries youre talking about are English speaking (even if Canada also has French speaking parts).

      That homophobic nonsense which has gripped the world has largely been fuelled by uptight historic British attitudes towards sex and sexuality. Thats why the commonwealth is largely so homophobic in the first place – to the point where most of those countries have adopted homophobia as ‘African’ (for example) and Sexual Equality as ‘non African’ – when it was in fact legislation introduced by the British during Colonial rule that CREATED that notion in those places.

      1. Im not convinced re the English language element

        There is profound homophobia in Arabic and Afrikaans speaking countries, for example

        1. China and India a s well…

          but homophobia must be challenged now, today..regardless of it’s origins..

  7. Jock S. Trap 4 Jun 2011, 11:53am

    Mere words but we need action.
    I think the Commonwealth and Untied Nations should work together to push for better treatment of the LGBTQI community in countries that are homophobic.
    Ending the torture of how people live according to who they are against those who have chosen beliefs.

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