Plight of gay asylum seekers to be highlighted on IDAHO

PinkNews Staff Writer May 12, 2008
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Details of more events marking the International Day Against Homophobia have been announced.

IDAHO is held every year on May 17th, the day in 1990 that homosexuality was removed from the list of mental illnesses by the World Health Organisation.

There are 77 countries where being gay is against the law, and gay, bisexual and lesbian people face discrimination across the globe. IDAHO calls for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) will host a panel discussion on gay asylum seekers on Friday 16th May.

The discussion aims to find ways for politicians, campaigners and supporters to support these victims of persecution.

This public event will take place at the Amnesty International Human Rights Centre in London.

Members of the panel include gay rights activist Peter Tatchell and representatives of Amnesty and the International Lesbian and Gay Association along with a barrister from the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group and a gay asylum seeker.

The secretary of GALHA, David Christmas, said that his members are very concerned that gay people should be sent back to countries where the death penalty is in force for homosexuality.

“We must stand with them,” he said.

“Their plight could one day be our plight, and I’m sure none of us would want to be left alone and unsupported in such a frightening situation.

“This terrible persecution is often justified by religious teachings and dogma, and we hope the discussion at this meeting will clarify some of the issues, and point to ways in which change can occur.”

On 17th May singers, comedians and cabaret performers will hold concert at The Marlborough in Brighton to mark IDAHO.

The event will also raise money for Brighton and Hove Pride and the Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard.

“This is a beautiful way to celebrate the freedoms that have been won for the gay community in this country over the past decade,” says Cliff James, one of the concert’s organisers.

“But it is also reminds us that we could be facing imprisonment, flogging or even execution if we were born in one of 77 countries where being gay is still illegal.

“The struggle to save gay and lesbian people internationally still goes on, and we hope that the music raised at The Marlborough will be heard across the world.”

There are IDAHO events taking place across the UK and the world. Visit the UK website for more information. 

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