The British Humanist Association (BHA) and the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) have come together to back a new initiative in support of the seventh annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). The organisations worked with Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert in tabling an ‘Early Day Motion’ (EDM) in support of IDAHO, which has co-sponsoring MPs from across the political parties.
IDAHO, held annually on 17 May, is a day to promote anti-homophobic and anti-transphobic messages on a global level. The aim of IDAHO is to increase awareness of the problem of world-wide homophobia and transphobia, and to provide a platform for activity at all levels in the fight against discrimination and persecution.
EDM 1780 states: That this House welcomes the annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on 17 May 2011; supports those local authorities, police, health authorities and voluntary organisations who will mark this day with events, campaigns and statements of support; further supports the raising of the rainbow flag to reaffirm that homophobia and transphobia are unacceptable wherever they occur, whether in the UK or around the world; and calls on the Government to bring full equality to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the UK and to actively encourage equality for LGBT people around the world.
Stephen Gilbert MP stated, ‘Around the world gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people continue to experience discrimination and prejudice at home, at school, in the office and in the street and it’s time this changed. Equality for the LGBT community isn’t an optional extra for Governments around the world – it’s time that the community was treated with the same respect and enjoyed the same rights and opportunities as the straight community.’
BHA Head of Public Affairs Naomi Phillips commented, ‘We just need to look at the serious moves to impose prison sentences and even the death penalty for gay people in Uganda, the position of Anglican churches in Africa towards gay people, the Vatican’s refusal to sign a UN resolution calling for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, or the execution of gay teenagers in Iran, to see that religiously-inspired hatred against people because of who they are or who they sleep with remains a deep problem in many parts of the world. It is ever-more important to join together with others to tackle the rise in homophobic and transphobic violence and hate throughout the world.
‘Discrimination and persecution of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered continues to exist, so we urge people to show support for IDAHO, and to ask their MPs to sign this EDM in order to demonstrate recognition of this important day at all levels.’
Derek Lennard from the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association said, ‘GALHA has been very pleased to coordinate IDAHO activities in the UK since its formation in 2005. We very much appreciate the support of the BHA in doing this and look forward to the day when LGBT people from around the world have full and equal rights.’
For over 30 years GALHA has promoted Humanism as a free-thinking, rational, ethical worldview. It campaigns for equality and diversity, particularly relating to sexual orientation and identity – both in the UK and internationally. It is an independent voluntary organisation funded by supporter donations.
The BHA works with religious and non-religious people to promote LGBT equality and rights throughout society and to tackle discrimination wherever it occurs.
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.