Gay groups aim to silence homophobia

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Supporters of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) are asking LGBT groups and their supporters to observe a minute’s silence to mark the second International Day Against Homophobia today.

Gay activists are hoping the UK will join a silences taking place in France, Peru, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Brazil.

IDAHO UK coordinator, Derek Lennard, said: “This is a day when our brothers and sisters all around the world will be taking a stand for LGBT rights as Human Rights.

“Some countries will not be able to join in these activities for fear of retribution, others will take risks and will even in some cases be coming out to their own countries for the first time, others such as the UK will be more confident, but will not want to take the progress that has been made for granted and will want to reflect about those who have died or been injured through homophobia.

“The point is we are a world community and we are stronger when we realise this. In order to mark this special day, we believe that a minute’s silence, is a way of concentrating and reflecting on world LGBT rights.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights pledged its support for the event, Labour MEP, Michael Cashman, president of the group, called it “a bold step.”

Former EastEnder, Mr Cashman, who celebrated his civil partnership last month, said: “Many Gay men and Lesbians live with discrimination every single day of their lives. It’s not a myth it’s a reality. And this is happening not in other parts of the world but here in the European Union.

“In particular there is a worrying trend in some of the new Member States where politicians encourage discrimination and persecution of homosexuals and where, in some cases, they actually endorse and call for violence. Even today, there are demands to ban gay pride marches – as is happening in Poland at the moment – and in some of our near neighbourhood countries, where there is a call from the Mayor of Moscow to ban the first gay pride march.

“Human Rights are non-negotiable. Everyone should be able to live their life free from persecution and discrimination. A celebration of the IDAHO is a bold step on the road to equality.”

Green MEP, Jean Lambert, also a member of the group, said: “IDAHO gives us all a chance to make a stand against homophobia and show our support for all LGBT Communities across the UK and Europe.

“Everyone is equal regardless of their sexuality, gender or race and even though the UK has made significant progress to stamp out homophobia, at least 80 countries around the world still forbid homosexual acts by law. Some are killed, many attacked and even more are ostracized for simply being who they are.

“This cannot be seen as acceptable and the events held today and across the weekend really will demonstrate that these attitudes will no longer be tolerated. Standing together we can celebrate diversity and ensure LGBT communities have the rights they deserve.”