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Tony Blair: It’s very difficult to raise gay rights with anti-gay leaders

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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair says it’s “very difficult” to raise the subject of gay rights with anti-gay leaders.

The ex-Labour leader has spoken of his frustration over the emerging “gulf” between the West, the Middle East and Africa, when it comes to protecting LGBT liberty and freedom.

“It’s just a huge gulf at the moment”, Mr Blair said of places like Liberia, where he has advised President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who last year defended banning “voluntary sodomy”.

“I think it will in time diminish. But it’s a debate that in some parts of the world is literally impossible to have. Now I can do what I can whenever I can.

“There was a moment in time when it looked as if Rwanda was going to pass legislation in their Parliament – and fortunately the President actually intervened, and myself and others gave the case very strongly as to why this legislation was a bad idea.

“You can do what you can, but I’m sure in time this will change. But at the moment it’s very difficult.”

Tony Blair was last week named as one of thirty ‘gay icons’ in this month’s special edition of GT (Gay Times), celebrating the magazine’s thirtieth anniversary.

He believes gay rights will form “a significant part” of his legacy.

In July, the former PM told PinkNews that same-sex marriage “was probably one of the few times” when the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour have “agreed on anything.”

Tony Blair’s full GT interview is available in the latest edition of GT, here.

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