Peter Tatchell: David Cameron should speak out about homophobia before Commonwealth Games
Peter Tatchell has called on David Cameron to speak out about homophobia in the Commonwealth, ahead of the Commonwealth Games next week.
A rally will be held outside Downing Street on Wednesday, organised by African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group, and supported by the Peter Tatchell Foundation, to protest continuing anti-gay laws.
42 of the 53 Commonwealth member countries currently criminalise homosexuality, with penalties up to life imprisonment in at least seven member states.
Tatchell said: “We are appealing to Prime Minister David Cameron to speak out against homophobia and transphobia in the Commonwealth in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games.
“We also want him to express his public support for Article 7 of the Commonwealth Games Federation constitution, which prohibits any form of discrimination – including discrimination in athlete selection for the national teams.
“Given the extreme homophobia and transphobia in most Commonwealth countries, it is very unlikely that most national selection committees would allow a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or inter-sex (LGBTI) athlete to compete at Glasgow.
“David Cameron can help by making clear that such discrimination is incompatible with Commonwealth Games values and rules.
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“We want the Prime Minister to give a lead and set a positive tone by publicly declaring that anti-LGBT persecution is a violation of the Commonwealth Charter and that LGBTI athletes will be welcome in Glasgow.
“He should make clear that the UK government is willing to give asylum to LGBTI athletes who are at risk of victimisation in their county of origin.”
Edwin Sesange of the Diamond Group said: “Far from moving towards equality, we have seen many Commonwealth countries witch-hunt their LGBTI citizens and even tougher anti-gay laws have been recently legislated in countries like Uganda, Brunei and Nigeria.
“Britain imposed most of the existing anti-gay laws in Commonwealth nations when it was the colonial power in the nineteenth century. Homosexuality was not illegal in these countries prior to British colonisation.
“Britain has been part of the problem. Therefore it should be part of the solution by challenging homophobia and transphobia in the Commonwealth. David Cameron should show leadership by taking a stand against the victimisation of LGBTI people and promoting the universal human rights values of the Commonwealth Charter.”
The Commonwealth Games begin next Wednesday, July 23.