Foreign Office human rights minister praises ‘Illegal to be you’ video campaign

Stephen Gray July 5, 2012
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Jeremy Browne, the Foreign Office minister for human rights has praised a new viral video imagining a world in personal traits like hair colour or height were criminalised in the same way as homosexuality.

Mr Browne welcomed the Kaleidoscope Trust’s ‘Imagine if it were illegal for you to be you’ campaign ahead of World Pride 2012 this weekend.

The video imagines a society where blond people, people with blue eyes, bald people, short people and older people faced discrimination or persecution by society and the state to highlight the difficulties faced by people persecuted because of their sexual orientation.

Speaking today, Mr Browne, said: “I am delighted to welcome Kaleidoscope’s ‘Imagine if it were illegal for you to be you’ campaign. This video brings home very vividly how it must feel to be singled out and abused just for being who you are. And the statistics are chilling. Many people will be shocked to hear that 78 countries around the world still criminalise homosexuality and that in five cases the maximum penalty is death.

“Over a million LGBT people will be in London this weekend to celebrate ‘World Pride’. But it is especially gratifying that, thanks to campaigns like this, the many millions more around the world who do not have the freedom to express their sexuality are not being forgotten.”

In a description of the video Kaleidoscope asks viewers to: “Imagine if it were illegal to have blue eyes or be under 5ft 10ins and if breaking this law meant you could go to prison or face attack or even death. In many countries around the world, gay people don’t have to imagine it. They already face the very real prospect of being criminalised for their sexuality. In no fewer than 78 countries around the world homosexual acts are still illegal. In five of them the maximum penalty is death.”

More: Africa, foreign office, Gay, Iran, Kaleidoscope, Kaleidoscope Trust, Middle East

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