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Comment: Cameron should apologise for anti-gay laws

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  1. Not going to happen.

    1. Staircase2 4 Nov 2011, 4:36pm

      Actually I would imagine its very likely to happen.
      Its a great idea

  2. Dr Robin Guthrie 4 Nov 2011, 3:13pm

    No he bally well should not.

    1. He’s only apologizing on behalf of the british government, which is only proper. Because as Peter has said, its hard to expect people to change their laws if you don’t recognize that they wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for your country invading them in the first place (and that you also had these laws but have realized that they are morally wrong, otherwise it becomes an us against them war of cultures rather than an issue of justice)! If Britain hadn’t become the super-power that it was we would have a lot less homophobia in the world (again, as Peter said, a lot of these countries accepted or tolerated homosexuality beforehand), take that for what it is. To reiterate, it would be absurd to think david cameron should personally apologize. To apologize on behalf of the state that he represents however? Not so much.

      1. Dr Robin Guthrie 4 Nov 2011, 3:38pm


        Lets keep funding oppressive regimes.

        Good one.

        1. auntie babs 7 Nov 2011, 8:58am

          am awaiting apologies from Sweden and Rome for invading uk before i was born.

    2. Staircase2 4 Nov 2011, 4:38pm

      Yes he bloody well should! Its entirely appropriate; in much the same way that it was entirely appropriate for Britain to apologise for its involvement in the Slave Trade or Australia to apologise for the harm inflicted on the Aboriginal population or America to apologise for its treatment of the Native American population…

      1. It’s not appropriate at all for anyone who hasn’t been directly involved in the slave trade to apologize for it. I have never owned slaves, the people asking me to apologize have never been slaved. What’s to apologize for? To ask me to apologize is mind blowingly ignorant.

        “I’m sorry for what someone who isn’t me done to someone who isn’t you in a time that neither of us lived in.”
        If you can fake sincerity into that you’re a genius.

        1. It reminds me of a quote from Ruby Wax’s standup routine… to paraphrase “when I first came to the UK in the 60’s I was the only American here, seriously… the only one. I used to get congratulated on the moonlandings and blamed for Vietnam. You can check my passport… I’ve been to neither of these places”.

      2. burningworm 10 Nov 2011, 12:44pm

        It must be more than an apology.

        The aussies apologised and then brought in laws to remove the owners of that land to other less profitable land. And this occured right after their former prime minister went on television and apologised. ACTiON

        This nation needs to remain on its knees and allow the nations it made toxic rise from theirs. I don’t completely agree with myself but it needs to be its better half.

  3. I’d like to think this would influence their governments, but in reality I think it would be preaching to the choir. Their revisionist version of history conveniently airbrushes out that the Victorian colonialists and missionaries exported their homophobic values in the first place.
    The genuine account would be dismissed as the fake, due to the cognative bias that’s already firmly ingrained.

    1. Staircase2 4 Nov 2011, 4:41pm

      I doubt it would be that convincing an air-brush job at all if the Prime Minister of Britain stood up and apologised on behalf of historic British Imperial homophobia.

      It would be the first time that an International Head has done that as far as I am aware and so would cause enormous global ripples for LGBT Equality.

  4. I do think it would be an excellent getsure did issue an apology. All of the posturing about cutting off aid to countries which were the recipients of our homophobic laws in the past carries little water or credibility for us as a nation.

    Didn’t we issue an apology for what happened in N. Ireland and hundreds of years of oppression in Ireland as a whole? I see this no differently. Peter Tatchell is absolutely right and it’s the moral thing to do.

    1. I disagree, the world was a lot different years ago, and the world has moved on in leaps and bounds. I think it would be better for the government to encourage all these other countries to update there laws.
      Years ago we didn’t live in a tolerant society but we do now, and I don’t see why our government should have to apologise for living the life it did back then. I think it’s better for other countries to be encouraged by us and other countries that have moved on and accepted and learnt that being gay is normal and that they should start looking to us and our laws that we have now (and other countries laws). Ours aren’t the the best by a long shot but there getting there :)

      1. Staircase2 4 Nov 2011, 4:45pm

        You (like most of the people posting on here (predictably)) are missing the point.

        The British Government as an institution STILL EXISTS. David Cameron is just the CURRENT head.

        It falls on HIM (as the current head) to apologise for historic injustices perpetrated by the UK…

        Its all very well for you living in the land of ‘ooh should I get a civil partnership or wait while making a song and dance about ‘actual’ marriage’! There are people around the rest of the world DYING simply because of who they love or have sex with or are attracted to.

        Since it was the UK that effectively EXPORTED that level of homophobia to them in the first place, we have a collective responsibility to put past wrongdoings right…

        1. @Staircase2

          There is still a board of directors for the firm BASF but I don’t expect them to apologise the actions of the BASF Oppau disaster in 1921 when 600 people were killed.

          There is still a government in Spain, but I don’t expect them to apologise (or their Royal family to apologise) for the atrocities of the Spanish Armada or the Spanish Civil War.

          There is a government in South Africa, I do not expect them to act with contrition and give emotional apologies for Apartheid.

          The Dow Chemical Company still has a board of directors, I do not expect the current board to apologise for the events of the Bhopal disaster which killed up to 20,000 people.

          Apology can only be meaningful if it comes with honesty from someone responsible for the acts that have occurred.

          One can speak regret, and sorrow at what has happened, but if you do not share or have full responsibility for the acts – the apology is merely meaningless words.

          What all these groups of people can do is act to change

  5. I meant to have begun my last comments thus…I do think it would be an excellent gesture if David Cameron were to issue an apology.

    We issued one to the Irish Republic during the Queen’s visit earlier this year for hundreds of years of oppression. I see no difference in issuing yet another for the harsh legal system imposed by our forefathers on former colonies, absolutely none. Peter is right, it doesn’t have to be a grovelling gesture but at least take some responsibility for it. Isn’t that the conservative thing to do anyway?

    1. Actually, the Queen didn’t apologise in so many words. She said “… with the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we wish had been done differently, or not at all.”

      1. @Rehan

        I thought the wording of that speech that the Queen made at Dublin Castle caught the situation perfectly. It didn’t apologise, but expressed regret with the benefit of hindsight.

        1. Jock S. Trap 5 Nov 2011, 4:14pm

          Agreed. I thought it was an excellent speech with emotion and true that did the monarchy and the country (both) good. It leads to a time to move on and progress.

  6. This is something I have mixed feelings on …

    Whilst I can see the sense that some people may respond more readily to UK calls for decriminalization of homosexuality if the government apologised for historic regimes in the UK who imposed criminal laws banning homosexuality … I do wonder how Cameron can seem genuine in apologising for the actions of ancestors from centuries ago.

    I do not believe that our calls for decriminalisation lack any credibility due to actions of the UK hundreds of years ago …

    That said, if it makes a difference, then lets do it …

    1. Staircase2 4 Nov 2011, 4:50pm

      Like Robert said – there has already been historic precedent here with Ireland & Slavery.

      Also Gordon Brown apologised for treatment of Turin – how is this any different?

      1. Firstly, as Rehan has correctly stated the Queen did not apologise in Ireland

        However, I think apologising for something decades ago lacks sincerity, as apologies require by definition some personal involvement in doing something wrong, failing to do something right or making a mistake.

        Gordon Brown appeared to lack sincerity in his apology.

        The Queen did not apologise but her recognition that with hindsight things could have been done differently gave a real sincerity to her words that would not have been there if she had apologised – because she was not responsible for many of the acts that Britain was despised for during the Irish Civil War.

        Maybe Cameron could have a carefully crafted statement to make – but it would have to sound genuine and apologising for events decades or centuries ago sounds false.

  7. More and more i think Tatchell is in a dream land and doesn’t represent us.

    Is it Mugabe’s fault gay people are treated as vermin in Africa?
    No, it’s apparently Cameron’s.

    Tatchell needs to point the finger at the people KEEPING those laws and not the ones telling them to get rid of them and treat everyone equally.

    1. JDA_Glasgow 4 Nov 2011, 3:38pm

      Hear, hear !

      1. Shouldn’t that be HERE HERE? Just a minor point I know.

    2. @Tigra07

      Thats partly why I have mixed feelings about this idea …

      But, if it does make some in Africa take our desires to see human rights reforms more seriously – it shouldnt harm Cameron to do it …

      Despite it being difficult to apologise for something you didnt personally do …

    3. Staircase2 4 Nov 2011, 4:52pm

      @Tigra07 Oh dont talk rubbish!
      Of course its not Cameron’s bloody fault you doughnut! (as well you know!)

      Its like Im reading bloody Melanie Philips articles here! THINK PEOPLE!

      1. Dr Robin Guthrie 4 Nov 2011, 5:15pm

        What. THINK like you. No thank you.

  8. Robert J Brown 4 Nov 2011, 3:36pm

    Can someone post Tatchell’s press release asking the previous Labour government to do the same during their 13 years in office . . .

    I can’t seem to locate it.

    1. Staircase2 4 Nov 2011, 4:53pm

      I dont get your point…

      Thats like denying that the Dyson isnt a valid invention unless they can first prove it was invented in the 60s!

      Grow up

  9. Rudehamster 4 Nov 2011, 3:51pm

    Whilst I have grave reservations about the possible gains when present politicians apologise for past governments, I totally agree with Peter on this issue. Colonial laws were forcibly imposed and the sentences unduly harsh, in an attempt to get the natives to kowtow. Previous apologies have been for issues such as slavery, which we do not do now.
    However, these are laws which were active in our own lifetime. An apology now would show much more of a commitment to the support of gay rights in the future. If the former Colonies still refuse to budge on gay rights, they will be seen as homophobic in their own right, and their subsidies should be stopped immediately.
    On the downside, I’m not so sure Cameron will give an apology. Again, this is because it’s within our lifetime and there are a large number of men who were given a criminal record as a result of the imposition of homophobic laws. Though it is right that these cases should be reconsidered, the police & Courts would refuse.

  10. He’s done more for gay people than any other primeminister in a long time in his short time in office, what’s to apologize for? It’s liking asking modern day people to apologize to black people for the slave trade – utterly stupid.

    It’s a massive non-sequitor to assume that homophobic laws wouldn’t exiwst in other countries had it not been for British imperialism. even if that’s true I don’t remeber David Cameron being the head of the empire???

    Peter’s becoming less and less rlevant in the prescence of a government that don’t seem to see homosexuality as an issue. Which is why he’s starting to grasp at straws.

    1. Staircase2 4 Nov 2011, 4:58pm

      Yes – its EXACTLY like “asking modern day people to apologise to black people for the the Slave Trade” – thats the whole point! But youre taking it off subject…

      (However: if racism had been completely eradicated and not a single corporate organisation was still benefiting financially from their historic part in the Slave Trade then what you’re saying would make sense. But it hasn’t and they are… How do you think organisations like Lloyd’s of London made their historic wealth in the first place? It beggars belief that you could find it so enormously difficult to grasp the idea of corporate/Governmental responsibility for past actions….)

    2. What exactly has Cameron done for gay people?

  11. Jock S. Trap 4 Nov 2011, 4:12pm

    Totally disagree. I don’t see how we should apologise for something that happened decades/centuries ago when we’re moving forward with other countries and we’ve not exactly forced any country to keep such laws.

    As many will state they are their own countries with their own laws and have been for many years. if they wanted to change they would but they instead choose to be nasty and discriminating. This government in this 21st century has nothing to apologise for and to make random irrelevent digs to do so is cheap and makes excuses for dictatorship regimes as if what damage they’re doing isn’t bad enough.

    It is shameful of Peter Tatchell to be so hypocritical of who he choses to support over discrimination and then not to. Maybe he should make his mind up who he supports once and for all.

    1. I agree that it is difficult to apologise for something that happened decades or centuries ago and which we would now deplore …

      That said, if it makes some people take our human rights demands more seriously, it shouldnt harm Cameron to do it

      1. Staircase2 4 Nov 2011, 4:59pm

        Its not Stu – its REALLY REALLY REALLY easy…..

        1. @Staircase2

          Its easy to say the words, its much more difficult to have sincerity about them when you are not responsible for the events that you are apologising for …

          When I have dealt with complaints at work and a member of my staff has made an error of judgement, I can not apologise of the behalf of the employee. I apologise on behalf of the service, but I often ask the employee to accompany me to meet the complainant (if both parties are happy with this) so that the apology is sincere and honest, and from the person responsible. Particularly if the complaint is about attitude.

      2. I’m inclined to agree with Peter Tatchell, and I can see how an apology would initiate a reflection in former colonies who are now so terribly homophobic.

        Also, it would distance the UK from American evangelists who have been fanning the flames of homophobia, particularly in Africa.

        Although I would have preferred to hear Cameron apologize before the Commonwealth Summit took place, it is never too late to do the right thing.

        Homophobic countries need to realize that universal human rights aim at the well-being of all as well as less useless suffering.

    2. Hi Jock . . . good to see you back on PN. Hope you are well?

      1. Jock S. Trap 5 Nov 2011, 7:38am

        Hello JohnK, thank you. Feeling better day by day so hope to be back more, soon. Hope your all well too!! :)

    3. burningworm 10 Nov 2011, 12:51pm

      An apology is a symbol. It is merely the starting juncture to ACTiON.

      Its for the archives, it doesn’t mean anything more than we allow it to mean.

      Nations are in a very specific place due to the shaping of our world. As the worlds oldest living democrarcy we need not only apologise but illustrate our ill ways. And in modern times, this nation should rally around the pink pound and the tax revenues nations can incur from the lgbtqi comm. If you can’t convince someone on priniciple the fianancial tends too.

  12. Why does Peter always have to go that one step further and make an absolute tit of himself?

    He is increasingly becoming a curse than an asset, shame considering the work he has done in the past.

    1. Staircase2 4 Nov 2011, 4:35pm

      This is complete crap

  13. Staircase2 4 Nov 2011, 4:35pm

    Wonderful idea – The British Government SHOULD apologise for imposing homophobic repressive laws on those countries which were former colonies.

    Britain has, in effect, created the very homophobia that exists so virulently in many of the Commonwealth Countries today.

    Well done, Peter! :o)

    How bout setting up a campaign for this & asking people to write to David Cameron via their MPs?

    1. Because developing countries we’ve never had under the wing of British imperialism have a healthy attitude towards homosexuality?

      1. Rayne Van-Dunem 5 Nov 2011, 7:21am

        Many which were not under British rule were or are more legally ambiguous about homosexuality, as in the absence of anti-gay laws. For example, the majority of French- or Portuguese-colonized in Africa – DR Congo, Mali, Chad, Mozambique, for example – do not have sodomy laws and inherited their laws from France, for example, which had already legalized homosexuality in 1791, well before French colonization of Africa began. Mozambique and Mauritius are one of only three countries in Africa besides South Africa to provide legal protections of any kind to LGBT citizens. Islam and Evangelical Protestantism in huge doses are also contributing factors to whether an African country will prohibit homosexuality.

        Outside of Africa, the same is true. The majority of often-former-colony countries which historically prohibited homosexuality in some way are either predominately-Muslim or were colonized by the British and other European powers. China never had a sodomy law, and neither did Japan.

        1. Excellent synopsis…

        2. I agree with Jonpol, it is a great synopsis.

          I agree with most of the content, although I would note a couple of minor things (which may just go to show they are exceptions that make rules).

          Firstly, South Africa (who legislatively has a great LGBT rights record in recent years) was a British colony and is part of the Commonwealth.

          Secondly, Mozambique (who have very good LGBT rights in comparison with most neighbours) whilst not a British colony, has since become a member of the Commonwealth – perhaps it feels a link to the human rights record of the Commonwealth. Rwanda has also been admitted to the Commonwealth despite not being a British colony and has recently stated it regards human rights as being necessary to all people regardless of gender difference and intends to act.

          Angola, a Portuguese colony whilst not specifically outlawing sodomy does give a penalty of hard labour to repeated offences (although how that can work when it is not a specific offence I am not sure)

  14. Apologize? Surely Britain should impose it’s current laws on them! :)

    1. i think the irony may be lost on them ;) i think it’s a hard ask to ever ask a politician to apologise for something they dont absolutely have to, would it win him brownie points? in some ways i suppose yes but equally could just be used by the countries that have no intension of changing any time soon as a way of playing the blame game rather than actually doing anything about it

    2. Staircase2 4 Nov 2011, 4:59pm

      …I cant believe Im reading this rubbish!

  15. I’m not really sure about this whole apologising business, I mean what real difference does it make? It’s just words, and it’s not as though words coming from a politican’s mouth have all that much meaning in the first place.

    1. @Rehan

      Exactly it would just be words … Cameron would not be having to examine his conscience about the appropriateness (or not) of his behaviour, so it would lack any sincerity or meaningfulness …

      He could maybe respond in the manner the Queen did in Ireland and it may appear sincere. He can’t honestly and meaningfully apologise for something in which he was not involved.

  16. If the government issued a statement to say that imposing homophobic laws on other countries was wrong and had caused suffering then I cannot understand how anyone would be opposed to that unless they themselves were homophobic. A statement like that would indeed give greater moral authority to campaigns to eliminate homophobic laws. If it helps improve LGBT human rights then why quibble against it?

    It’s a very good idea and I hope it happens.

    1. @Dromio

      I am not against a statement that was carefully worded that expressed regret for the imposition of legislation that was contrary to human rights.

      I just feel that by apologizing the words would be meaningless as no one alive had any influence on the colonial actions which led to these reprehensible laws.

      We are much more effective if we demonstrate that we have recognised our historic failures by our actions and celebrate human rights

  17. Cameron should apologise to the LGBT people in Saudi Arabia who he has ignored for money

    1. So …what tools would Cameron have had in his tool kit to pressurize the Saudi authorities???

      1. Its about moral authority Stu. don’t bash the weakest cause you can , treat everyone the same or forget it

        1. @James!

          If we were giving the Saudi’s aid, I would be all for diverting it, discontinuing it etc unless and until they responded with appropriate improvements to basic universal human rights.

          I am all for fairness and integrity.

          As it is we can use diplomacy with the Saudis, which I believe the FCO already are both directly and through the UN.

          If we don’t give a country aid – we can’t take it away ….

          1. so it’s ok to trade with anti gay countries?

          2. @James!

            I believe in free trade, generally, because it benefits all – LGBT and heterosexual

            There are times when sanctions can be appropriate, but they need international backing – unilateral sanctions are unlikely to be effective.

            Unilateral sanctions against South Africa due to apertheid worked, and whilst they can possibly be justified due to the anti-gay regime in Saudi, for us to act and be effective we would need significant other backers and I can not see that China,the US, Russia etc would participate – nor would many African countries, many Middle East countries etc … It would be symbolic because it would not change anything … and that symbolism would not benefit gay people in either Saudi or the UK

        2. You’ve never been to Saudi have you?

          1. I have been to Saudi on 2 or 3 business trips

    2. Peter if only you were so compassionate with the SMM campaign. Many gay people in Jamaica were murdered because of the ham fisted way you handled that campaign.

  18. Why does David need to apologise for something he didn’t do…. The way forward for him, he’s party and the country is to move forward, not think back! He is doing a great job with gay rights, much more than I would have ever guessed. Leave the man alone.

    1. Absolutely.

      Cameron is probably the most gay friendly PM we have ever had in the UK. He’s not without his faults, but he can not and should not be held responsible for events in 1874 (in the case of Ghana) or 1627 (in the case of Barbados).

      1. Why is this negged?
        It’s perfectly reasonable.

  19. A small step in the right direction but just the tip of the iceberg.

    Some of the African leaders are still actively homphobic even if they ALREADY know about their pagan, pre-colonial heritage of acceptance of homosexuality. An apology will not matter to them. They revel in their false machismo and bullying.

    Then, there are the African leaders who are not themselves that homophobic and keep telling you what their problem is- THEIR PEOPLE WILL VEHEMENTLY REVOLT against them if they decriminalize.

    It seems educating, sensitizing the populace is the next logical step. It takes care of both scenarios.

  20. de Villiers 4 Nov 2011, 10:32pm

    The English are obsessed with apologising. The banks collapse, the trains break, children in care are killed but it’s all okay because someone says sorry.

    It’s completely English – you say sorry and then everything is okay.

    1. No one is saying that it makes everything ok. But it is a good start, surely.

      1. Surely rather than an insincere apology, encouraging human rights (like the UK government are trying to do) is a better idea?

      2. de Villiers 6 Nov 2011, 10:07am

        It is not good if it is a proxy for real action. It is too easy to apologise and then do nothing.

  21. I think it would be a very good symbolic gesture. I remember when the Hong Kong government were being taken to court over their anti-gay (former colonial) laws. The BBC were interviewing the Chief Executive, Donald Tsang and asking why the HK government were fighting the court case. He tried to hide behind the fact that it was the UK who imposed these laws on Hong Kong in the first place and as a result the UK had no right to criticise. I realise this is a relatively minor point I am trying to make, but, at least an apology from Cameron would go someway to help stopping a leader from an ex-colony just blaming it all on the UK like Tsang did.

  22. Quite a few people have said that you cant apologise for something if you were not personally involved in it. I disagree with this point of view. I think you can, and should, apologise for the past wrongs committed by a country.

    1. Why? If you are not responsible then why should you apologize? In fact, what should you apologize for?
      “Some else done something in a different time, I had nothing to with it so this means absolutely nothing but sorry.”

    2. GingerlyColors 5 Nov 2011, 6:38am

      I don’t keep demanding that Germany should apologize for the deaths of 25,000+ gays in the Holocaust. When I look at Germany now in the 21st century I see it as a leader in gay rights and tolerance.

      1. Absolutely. Germany continues to express its regret at what happened in the early twentieth century by the manner it tries to uphold human rights both in its own territory and encourages them elsewhere. That is the legacy of a country that is horrified by its history. Angela Merkel does not apologise repeatedly for the crimes in German history. How she leads her nation and the questions it brings to international issues demonstrates that Germany seeks never to repeat those crimes again. That means more than hollow words which don’t mean anything.

        1. I don’t agree that an apology is hollow words. Why, if an apology is issued does it automatically become insincere. I don’t expect Angela Merkel to apologise either – because several of her predecessors have already done that. I also agree with you that it is much more important to show regret through actions. However, I don’t see why that has to exclude an apology also. Thats what you and others seem to be implying – that it is one or the other. It can and should be both, in my opinion. But clearly as I am getting lots of negative votes, i am in the minority on this one!

          1. To be sorry and really mean it, you have to both recognise the error that has occurred and be responsible for it.

            As I have said before, I have investigated complaints at work. If it is an attitude complaint and we decide that there is some element of fault by our staff then one action we prefer to use is to ensure the member of staff at fault has an opportunity to personally apologise. This allows the person who made the error to demonstrate personal contrition. If I as a manager apologise on their behalf, it sounds a cold apology, that lacks genuine meaning and emotion – coming from a cold public organisation. Whereas, the member of staff can mean what they say and relate to the incident.

            An apology is not insincere if the person or people apologising are the ones who have done something wrong, it is insincere if the people apologising were not involved at all in the issues.

            I have no problem in a carefully worded expression of regret – and this may be tenuous – but not ….

          2. … an apology.

            For example, when dealing with a complaint at work – I can express regret on behalf of my organisation that the events occurred – I can not say (as I would do if I was the person to blame) that I will make sure I never act in a similar way again. I can say the organisation regrets the event and will do everything possible to ensure that staff do not act in that way, and that we do not tolerate that sort of behaviour etc etc but I can not put the meaning into the apology that the person responsible can.

          3. I follow you,Guidecca.

            Perhaps an apology from Cameron would be more credible if it were accompanied by the construction of a monument to the memory of all the innocent men and women who were persecuted and murdered as a result of homophobic colonial laws.

      2. I agree GingerlyColors. I dont keep demanding that Germany apologise for the atrocities during WW2. That’s because they have apologised on multiple occasions. I’m not saying that an apology is the be-all-and-end-all. However, it is a good start in my humble opinion and must hen be backed up by actions.

    3. Jock S. Trap 5 Nov 2011, 2:04pm

      Don’t see what is to be achieved by apologising in the 21st century for something that happened in the 19th century (for example). It doesn’t change what happened and never will so surely the best way is to take a stance by moving forward not back and showing how things should be as well as encouraging human rights for all.

      To apologise is to make excuses and make blame when the only people guilty of that are those that enforced and those that have chosen to follow and create their own barbaric laws.

      On this Mr. Tatchell is wrong. Nothing will be solved by all this pandering to apologise when everything is to gain by taking a lead on the best way forward.

  23. Okay so Dr. Frankenstein is confronted by the monster he helped create and apologizes for his arrogance, presumption and lack of forethought about the consequences.

    Then what?

    Without offering some real assistance in rehabilitation and proper assimilation into rational, Western, civilized, tolerant ideals, the apology is still meaningless.

    1. Absolutely!

      Which (in my opinion) is the sort of actions the UK government is doing by supporting Kaleidoscope, redistributing aid and encouraging more appropriate behaviour by themselves and other governments with regards human rights

  24. Any population emboldened enough by historical and scientific knowledge and the ability to rationally assess it and come to the conclusion that homosexuality is natural would also have the intellectual capacity to IMMEDIATELY challenge and throw out some of those corrupt, African leaders.

    You think the Presidents and Prime Ministers of places like Ghana, Zambia and Uganda do not KNOW that?

    Have you ever witnessed elections in those places? How highly emotional? Banal? Tantamount to tribal pissing contests and vapid displays of machismo and piety? There is no debate about the issues! No objective assessment of performance. Whoever makes the most noise and gives away the most free stuff wins!

    They need the people to remain ignorant and enslaved to religion and cultural fears. That is the ONLY thing keeping them in a position of power so they can siphon off wealth and hide it in offshore accounts while their people starve and suffer.

    So David Cameron can apologize all he likes. Unless he is also prepared to pave the way for a new Enlightenment for the grassroots of those countries…nothing will change.

    1. Rayne Van-Dunem 5 Nov 2011, 8:03am

      Agreed. An apology and ownership of past policy is more than just saying “As Prime Minister, I’m sorry for what the previous Prime Ministers foisted upon your ancestors. Now can you drop these rubbish laws already?”

      It calls for action and movement towards engaging the LGBT people and their families in these countries. Not in the name of Britain, but in the spirit of better governance.

      1. @Rayne

        Absolutely. The point is that the words of the apology are insincere because Cameron can not possibly mean HE is sorry, because he was not around when the wrong decisions were made and had no influence on their impact on millions of people.

        What he can do is engage with local LGBT people – which he is thorugh both diplomatic contact with governments and grass roots organisations and through supporting Kaleidoscope.

        He can also seek to urge human rights be respected in countries where he can have influence eg seeking decriminalisation of homosexuality. Surely, that is what he is doing by linking universal human rights with aid?

  25. GingerlyColors 5 Nov 2011, 6:35am

    Why should David Cameron apologize for something that happened in 1885? Should we also go grovelling to other countries for other wrongs that the British Empire committed? Should we apologize for slavery in 18th Century America or the Irish Potato Famine? People should not be forced to answer for the crimes of their anscestors – it only prolongs conflicts.

    1. Rayne Van-Dunem 5 Nov 2011, 7:33am

      It would at least reclaim ownership over British colonial governments’ treatments of gay residents and citizens in these areas when they were ruled by the British. The desire to see it get better for LGBT citizens incorporates not only disassociating the government from those policies, but both flat out rejecting that legacy to its face in full view of those who most need to see it and openly declaring and financing support for a newer status quo.

      It takes more than just mouth. It takes sincerity, conciseness and methodical application of power. Otherwise, it will ring hollow.

      And yes, it needs to be heard not just from Cameron, but also the party leaders. The apology and acceptance-rejection of legacy needs to be heard from not only those who possess the position of those who enforced the sodomy laws in the UK and the Empire (now Commonwealth), but also those who love modern Britain and its people – all its people, present, past and future – more than bankrupt ideology and Empire.

      1. I completely disagree, any comment would be pure spin – it can have no sincerity because they are not apologising for acts they have done, been involved in or could influence.

        What they can do is demonstrate that human rights are crucial – I think all three major parties (and most of the minority parties) in the UK are profoundly in support of human rights.

        The UK is doing more than most nations in linking aid to human rights … Which other nation has taken such a principled and brave stance?

        1. RayneVanDunem 5 Nov 2011, 4:31pm

          And these countries are going to hear out the current government how? They’re already dismissing Cameron and the UK out of hand as confused about which century its in and daring the UK to withdraw foreign aid.

          Zim already dismisses and wantonly blames the UK frequently for every damn thing under the sun, and its not part of the Commonwealth since 2003.

          So sticking to human rights only wins plaudits at home and among the choir. For those who already make a show of dismissing the UK, the EU, NATO, etc., because of (1) history and (2) the belief that Europeans can never, ever possibly relate to the “Global South” or “Third World”, “human rights” and “democracy” will only mean more political points to score with their hard-right nationalists.

          Now why would I want gay rights in these countries stuck in that confusion? In that gratuitous chauvinist posturing? That’s not fair to the LGBT people in these countries, and the UK should not accede those points to the far-right abroad.

          1. As Cameron said at the CHOGM , this change in attitude to aid may take some time to work…

            It may take other governments to come on board in terms of linking human rights to aid

            Cameron should not be the one teaching the people on the ground what to do – that is what aid should enable – giving opportunity for people on the ground to express themselves, support themselves and (where they wish to) challenge the existing regime

            Aid is a two way street and occurs at a micro and macro level …

            Cameron is recognising this

  26. Christine Beckett 5 Nov 2011, 10:45am

    Gesture politics.

    I’ve read Peter’s argument and it’s specious. The “morality” of the civilised world back then was very different than it is today, and as far as I am aware, pretty much every nation had quite fierce anti-homosexuality laws.

    If there was a difference between the UK ‘s home laws and those it imposed on its colonies, then maybe Peter would have a point. But to the best of my knowledge there was no difference.

    And as someone else pointed out, the empire is long gone, and the leaders of those nations have had every chance to introduce more liberal laws. They have not taken it.

    Peter is playing the politically correct stroke here because, as so often with many of my fellow socialists, he is afraid to place the blame where it really lies.


  27. Australia apologised to the aborigines for its cruel treatment of them in years gone by. I see no difference in Cameron issuing an apology. True, he wasn’t around when those vile laws were imposed on those forrmer colonies, but just the gesture alone would address the hypocrisy on the UK’s part. It does seem a bit rich urging other countries to abandon discrimination based on sexuality when it was we who first imposed it on them. Yes, they could easily do as we did and “get with the programme”, but its not as easy as one would think. Don’t forget, not only was it colonialism that brought about all of this but we also inflicted christianity on them mostly by C of E missionaries and later the roman cult, among others.

    1. The UK has apologised for things in the past – doesnt mean that the PM giving that apology has been sincere. In fact when Brown apologised, he look as if he couldnt really care whether he was apologising or not. Apologising is a personal expression. You need to feel a connection to the events you are seeking to express real contrition for.

      Words often help communicate events but sometimes are meaningless. The establish far more meaning if you have a connection and influence to the events under discussion. If you don’t you communicate far more effectively through your actiions.

      1. In this case, I’m not sure I agree.

        Cameron’s public apology would effectively admit to Africa (and to the world) that the British Empire brought homophobia, not homosexuality, to the colonies.

        I wouldn’t expect an Academy performance from Cameron, just a swell thought out sentence or two delivered in his habitual style.

        1. @Jonpol

          I can see that a statement that recognised all the wrongs that had been done in the name of the British Empire by colonialism might be cathartic and also give expression to regret of the spread of homophobia and other forms of arrogance and disequality. I recognise that this may help acknowledge that Britain has some historic responsibility for acting inappropriately, and that this may build some bridges which could help constructively with ground level LGBT groups.

          I may be dealing in semantics here, but I think if we then apologise for these events, then it is a hollow message. There are no Britains alive today who can be held responsible for events in the 16-1800’s.

          We can be honest and regret what has happened, demonstrate that we have learned from our errors by ensuring equality in Britain, and seek to both be agents of change and support those at ground level in nations such as Rwanda, Ghana, Barbados etc through redirected aid, Kaleidoscope, diplomacy etc.

  28. The fact that we are still removing the barriers of homophobia is better than an apology peter.
    An apology or equal marriage? I’d rather have equal marriage to be honest

  29. Dis forum writes nothing but propaganda, it is not true dat africa tolerated homosexuality before de british cheats invaded our lands. Africa has always been against homosexuality. In fact you people should know dat after gayvid cameron’s threat african commonwealth countries are proposing stricter, clear, unambiguous laws against homosexuality. In nigeria de law is already in motion, ghana will follow suit. De west is loosing its superpower status and instead of improving your ties with africa you go about issuing useless gay-aid threats. China will happily jump in if you move out.

    1. Woo Flung Dung 6 Nov 2011, 4:48am


      哦,严重制约倾向乘以超越的手段来养活自己… …当然,也不会有任何地方你的上帝在我们的民主制度的胡言乱语。

    2. Kwei Quartey 6 Nov 2011, 5:06am

      Actually, although you won’t want to believe it, studies have shown that homosexuality was alive and well in Africa before the Europeans came, and what’s more, it was not always stigmatized. The problem is that the word “homosexuality” does not have a translation in African languages, but there is plenty of homoerotic behavior in Africa that people do not see as abnormal

      1. I agree, Kwei.

        Although I do not have the references at my fingertips, I do remember reading that same-sex activity in pre-colonial Africa was a healthy tradition and that it did have a role to play in the societies.

        Similarly when American whaling ships discovered the native populations of the Pacific Islands, they were amazed to see two men walking casually hand-in-hand.

        Cortez also found homosexuality quite acceptable in the civilizations of Mexico.

        It wouldn’t surprise me if we were there among the cavemen too.

        We are everywhere and always.

        1. Though often ignored or suppressed by European explorers and colonialists, homosexual expression in native Africa was present and took a variety of forms. Anthropologists Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe reported that women in Lesotho engaged in socially sanctioned “long term, erotic relationships” called motsoalle. E. E. Evans-Pritchard also recorded that male Azande warriors in the northern Congo routinely took on young male lovers between the ages of twelve and twenty, who helped with household tasks and participated in intercrural sex with their older husbands. The practice had died out by the early 20th century, after Europeans had gained control of African countries, but was recounted to Evans-Pritchard by the elders to whom he spoke.
          The first record of possible homosexual couple in history is commonly regarded as Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, an Egyptian male couple, who lived around the 2400 BCE. The pair are portrayed in a nose-kissing position, the most intimate pose in …

          1. … art, surrounded by what appear to be their heirs.

            Murray, Stephen (ed.); Roscoe, Will (ed.) (1998). Boy Wives and Female Husbands: Studies of African Homosexualities. New York: St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 0312238290.

            Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (December, 1970). Sexual Inversion among the Azande. American Anthropologist, New Series, 72(6), 1428–1434.

          2. Other reports that demonstrate evidence of homosexuality in Africa prior to colonialism, which may be worth considering include:



            This article is very moving about the picture that African gay people have to encounter:


          3. Will Roscoe… right on, Stu!

            Also, the Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, an Egyptian male couple who were poised to spend eternity together according to the hieroglyphs and rock sculptures in their common tomb, is said to have impressed Alexander the Great so much that he wanted to be buried in Egypt.

            Louis Crompton: Homosexuality and Civilization, Harvard University Press, 2003

            We are everywhere and always.

    3. de Villiers 6 Nov 2011, 10:10am

      I do not know if you have written in a form of English slang (similar to the style of French largot) but is not easy to understand and it places the author and reduces the value of the words.

    4. How naive …

      Whilst China is a growing economic force she is far from a supporter of the attitudes in your nations …

      Her interest in your economies is to exploit them – and whilst you may think western nations have already done this, you have seen nothing till you see the exploitation China will wreak – you reap what you sow

      1. Yea… I can just imagine how Chinese supervisors would deal with Evangelical missionaries, human rights activists and over population..

    5. You need to learn a bit more about your African history. Contrary to Afrocentrists’ homophobic assertions, analysis of the old colonial court records shows intense prosecutions of homosexual behaviors among the indigenous peoples of the Shona, Ndebele, Xhosa, Basotho and Zulu by early colonialist courts.

      The “San” people, a tribe indigenous to what is now Zimbabwe did rock paintings that date back many thousands of years which depict sexual acts between men. The Bantu-speaking peoples of the plateau country have also admitted to ethnographers that homosexuality has been traditionally present in their culture. In Nigeria, another place where advocacy for tolerance is dismissed as “European meddling”, the native Hausa people of northern Nigeria and the surrounding countries offer interesting examples of homosexuality among their people for thousands of years before British colonialism. They speak of, ‘yan dauda, which is usually translated as “homosexual” or “transvestite” and ‘dan dauda, which translates as a “homosexual wife.” There are many stories among the Pangwe of Camaroon of men within their tribe who even when offered a large bride price, still prefer to court other men. The indigenous Igbo people of Nigeria allow “female husbands”, women who display more masculine tendencies are treated as men and allowed to hunt and to marry other women. On the Swahili coast and among many tribes in Lesotho romantic love or intimacy between women was allowed because the perception was that two women could not have sex and such interaction was non-threatening.

      Homosexuality is just one of the many NATURAL, BEAUTIFUL examples of diversity in human sexuality and gender. It is present in EVERY part of the world, since the beginning of recorded history. To suggest that somehow Africa is the exception is laughable.

  30. FRIENDS OF MUAMMER GADAFFI 5 Nov 2011, 9:23pm

    If you guys really concern about equality and kicks against descrimination of Homosexuals, as well as anybody`s sexual orientation, Why wouldn`t you first of all petition Downing Street and Wesminster to decriminilize polygamy in the UK so as to undo the unfairness and descrimination given out to Africans and Asians who would sincerely like to practice thier polygamy. That`s thier sexual orientation and rights too. They have been bullied into agreeing that polygamy is criminal in the UK against thier sexual orientation and rights. Untill you are able to do this, I don`t think anybody has any right going into Africa to dictate to them what sexual rights they should ligalize and respect. That will be absolutely absurd and hypocrisy.

    1. You have as much authority as the Pope, you just don’t have as many people who believe it.

      1. FRIENDS OF MUAMMER GADAFFI 6 Nov 2011, 2:26pm

        @Jonpol, you see the same goes to gays! You have as much authority as the pope in Africa, but it is not so many people in Africa who believe it.

        1. Just what I needed —- a parrot named Gaddafi !

    2. de Villiers 6 Nov 2011, 10:14am

      That is an absurd cultural relativism. The day when polygamy is considered to be compatible with individual flourishing may yet come – but society is nowhere close to holding such a view and/or admitting it.

      There is nothing inconsistent in promoting the primacy of the inherent culture in a given country. One can say that the failure to do so has led to difficulties in the European Union. Such an inherent culture need not, however, remain frozen.

      The filtration into English culture of the acceptance and equality of homosexuality has taken place as a form of respect for individualism and individual flourishing. I would have thought that any suggestion of polygamy would be thought to undermine individuality, particularly in relation to women who would might be seen to be relegated to the role of chattels.

      1. FRIENDS OF MUAMMER GADAFFI 6 Nov 2011, 12:24pm

        @de Villiers! There is a well established fact that polygamy is campatible with individual flourishing. There is well known fact that there are hetrosexual men and women with high sexual drives that one man or woman could not satisfy. Criminalizing polygamy has led to mordern day illegitimate Promiscuity, and the result is rampant bastardization of our children and 50,000 waiting on adoption list for years without homes and not knowing whereabout of thier biological fathers in the UK. Refering to women as chattels in polygamy, don`t you think so many women will be much better to be recognised and registered in numbers to one man even if you think they are chattels in polygamy, than to be unrecognised and and nregistered in our monogamy practice where we have multiple SEX partners as boy and girlfriends, despite married, use and dump them without respect or recognition. It is irony how you guys want to force your rights on other people but trying to deny the rights of polygamist in UK.

        1. Your evidence to prove this theory is where …

          Oh, thats a shame … there is none …

          1. FRIENDS OF MUAMMER GADAFFI 6 Nov 2011, 2:34pm

            I am the evidence, I will like to marry to as many women as possible, it is due to my sexual orientation and desires

          2. How is it your sexual orientation and desires bring you onto a gay site?

          3. Jock S. Trap 7 Nov 2011, 7:20am

            Indeed Jonpol… curious isn’t it?

        2. muddled thinking.. I don’t believe a word of it. In fact I think you are a closet gay.

          1. Certainly the vehemence of denials are those of a closet ….

          2. FRIENDS OF MUAMMER GADAFFI 6 Nov 2011, 8:35pm

            I am here on the gay site to confront and expose the bigotry and hypocricy of gay people towards Africans and polygamy. You don’t believe a word from me about my sexual desires and orientation to marry as many women as I want and to have my rights respected in the UK to practice polygamy, because you assume many people don’t believe in it in UK. Yet you want to coreced me AID to surrender to your sexual orientation that many Africans don’t believe in. Is that not pure hypocricy and bullish attitude.

          3. Yes, yes, I’m sure you do, my dear.

            *pats hand*

            And I’m sure LOTS and LOTS of women would be DELIGHTED to marry you too.

  31. Of course, because we all know David Cameron and many other current British politicians are actually the ones directly guilty for the homophobic laws imposed by the British Empire in its colonies centuries ago.

    Aff !! Honey, I think we should concentrate on the present. The past is horrible, I know, but it’s past. We don’t feel the need anymore to, for example, obligate Germany to apologize for the crimes of the World War II or France for the violent colonization of Algeria. Too much effort being spent on useless tasks.

    And besides, if anyone should be held responsible for the decadent Victorian morality of the 19th century that plagued the world where the British imperialism touched with its claws it would be Queen Victoria herself and the Royal Family, not some modern prime minister (she should also be held responsible for the creation of the Torchwood Institute, but that’s another story).

  32. Peter isn’t it time you retired… oh I forgot you don’t actually WORK do you, you just sponge off people who are gullible enough to donate to your dodgy little set up.

    1. …and everything in the Bible is an historical fact.

    2. Jock S. Trap 6 Nov 2011, 8:00am

      Oh dear, sounds like envy and jealousy to me.

      1. Doesn’t it just?!

    3. de Villiers 6 Nov 2011, 10:16am

      There’s nothing wrong with a multiplicity of different voices. I disagree with much of what Peter Tatchell says. Nevertheless, his comments are insightful and he has earned the right not to be so viciously attacked by other gay people – whether on the right or the left.

  33. Kwei Quartey 6 Nov 2011, 4:28am

    Maybe not apologize, but it would be an eye-opener if Cameron would acknowledge that some of the ancient anti-gay laws on the books of some countries originated with the British in their role as colonizers of those nations. Homophobia not a good thing, but it is also one of those things that needs “working through,” and is unlikely to be abolished by whacking people over the head with scolding lectures.

    1. As I said above, since we in the First world are so fond of erecting monuments to remember glorious historical deeds, perhaps we should consider erecting a monument to commemorate some of the blunders we have made, notably, a monument in memory of the innocent men and women who were (are) persecuted and murdered because of homophobic colonial laws.

      In the same way, Germany has erected monuments to the victims of the Holocaust, and that includes a monument to the memory of homosexuals who were slaughtered or worked to death in the prison camps.

      1. de Villiers 6 Nov 2011, 10:20am

        I do not disagree with this – but it is an English obsession always to be obsessed with the past and apologising. Nearly all elements of English culture refer back to the war, to the empire, to the greatness of England.

        France, at least, realises that its best days are behind it, which is why it tries to do everything through Europe – another institution which the English want to master and from which yet be self-detatched.

        The looking back to apologies displays a continual obsession with the past history, past glories and an unrealistic view of how important England, and therefore English apologies, are today

      2. Melanoma Phillips 6 Nov 2011, 5:05pm

        How about a statue to David Kato, the murdered Ugandan gay activist, on the fourth pedestal in Trafalgar Square?

    2. @Kwei

      I think you have a very valid point.

      It requires carefully considered language and appropriate policies that both encourage and reward behaviour compatible with human rights, penalise policies that are inhumane and working with local organisations that are supportive of human rights …

  34. FRIENDS OF MUAMMER GADAFFI 6 Nov 2011, 12:22pm

    @de Villiers! There is a well established fact that polygamy is campatible with individual flourishing. There is well known fact that there are hetrosexual men and women with high sexual drives that one man or woman could not satisfy. Criminalizing polygamy has led to mordern day illegitimate Promiscuity, and the result is rampant bastardization of our children and 50,000 waiting on adoption list for years without homes and not knowing whereabout of thier biological fathers in the UK. Refering to women as chattels in polygamy, don`t you think so many women will be much better to be recognised and registered in numbers to one man even if you think they are chattels in polygamy, than to be unrecognised and and nregistered in our monogamy practice where we have multiple SEX partners as boy and girlfriends, despite married, use and dump them without respect or recognition. It is irony how you guys want to force your rights on other people but trying to deny the rights of polygamist in UK.

  35. Melanoma Phillips 6 Nov 2011, 5:02pm

    He should apologise to the gay people of the commonwealth, but not to the governments that still think criminalising gay people is a good thing.

  36. I think that Peter Tatchell, as an Australian should be taking a look at anti gay laws in his homeland before claiming the British Government should apologise for old laws.

  37. Here is an apology that would resonate with any gay or lesbian living in a Commonwealth country where homosexuality is illegal:

    “The British Government would like to apologize to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered community living now in our former colonies and subject to laws and attitudes that our ancestors, in their ignorance, racial, religious and cultural arrogance imposed. Your gold, diamonds, oil, sugar, cocoa, bauxite, iron, copper, manganese helped build Britain, empower an educated, enlightened middle class who helped lift our nation out of religious superstitions and primitive thinking and bring greater equality, first for women and later, sexual minorities.
    Meanwhile, back in your societies, we maintained a legalized or cultural form of apartheid and economic slavery that prevented a parallel enlightenment. We forced your men to be migrant workers and live in cramped barracks away from their wives and we imprisoned your people for the pettiest of infractions. Both led to a legacy of non-consensual homosexual activity and a rabid fear of it. Even many of our esteemed colonial forefathers were known to be homosexual and the combination of their racism and the classist double-standard of being excused despite being under the SAME law, left a bad taste in your cultural palette. Now we realize this has led to the vast majority of your populations holding a grudge and seeing us as having no moral authority on this matter. Although we have not been honorable as an Empire in the past, we intend to be honorable now. Aid once given directly to your Government will now only be given directly to NGOs that aid women, children and sexual minorities, the three most vulnerable groups, left unsheltered by the unequal foundation we laid and the faulty structure you have erected on it after your Independence. Safe-houses, medical facilities and schools will be built. Scholarships will be offered. Start-up funds for women-owned and gay-owned businesses will be provided. We will send experts to educate you and provide support and information. Anyone who wishes to benefit from this aid must first sign on to a commitment of tolerance. If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and living in a former UK colony with anti-gay laws, your life is about to get better. Gay rights are human rights no matter where you are born and the UK and the rest of the developed world, stands with you.”

    1. That is certainly a statement that Cameron will not make …

      and it should not include the word apology in any case …

      1. Well that’s too bad.

        After assessing my target audience and the objectives of the communication, this approach seemed to be the most effective on five levels:

        1. Silencing the cries of “Imperialism Again!” from the Afrocentrists (just today I saw an article in my home country’s newspaper The Express: by showing contrition for ALL the ills of colonialism, not just the Victorian homophobic laws
        2. Setting the example of what humanity looks like and shaming those who do not do it by demonstrating it yourself
        3. Getting indigenous gay and lesbian communities up, empowered and esteemed.
        4. Linking gay rights to human rights by including women and children as well and recognizing they are oppressed too and unless we lift them out, we cannot end homophobia.
        5. Linking tolerance to chance at an improved life.

        Hey, this is what I do for a living, use words to trigger people to do what clients want them to do. And the Caribbean, black, Afrocentrist market is one with which I am very familiar.

  38. Har Davids 8 Nov 2011, 8:17pm

    I think there are more important issues right now. I, for one, would never accept the apologies of the descendants of the Germans who weren’t always nice to my dad, and other people, during WW II, not even if they were Himmler’s kids. And if I were to accept, I might feel obliged to apologize for my ancestors’ trespasses.

  39. Why should he apologeize for bringing in a law not brought in in his term of office – the law is ancient and reflects the view of society at the time, not now. Cameron is encouraging other countries to abolish such laws – unlike Tony Blair who was a warmongerer

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