Today is the International Day against homophobia.
The openly gay Liberal Democrat MP Steven Williams will be welcoming organisers of International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) events and their supporters at a meeting in the House of Commons.
The MP for Bristol West, who has already tabled a House of Commons Early Day Motion in support of IDAHO, will speak, along with Jason Pollock, executive director of Pride London who will explain the links with Riga Pride.
Other speakers include Maeve McGoldrick of the British Youth Council who will talk about threat to LGBT rights in Poland, and Joseph Healy of the Green Party who will talk about campaigns in Eastern Europe.
It is expected that several MPs will attend the meeting, indeed there is a rumour that a very prominent MP may look in, although Derek Lennard, IDAHO-UK organiser explained that in the event of this happening, he would presume it was Rory Bremner the impressionist.
Certainly the UK government has shown great interest in IDAHO this year. The joint statement of support by Ian McCartney and Meg Munn issued in April has boosted the IDAHO campaign worldwide with Louis-Georges Tin, IDAHO’s founder stating to IDAHO organisers that “it will bring hope and light in the world for all who support human rights”.
Support has also been strong from other political parties.
“There is much to celebrate this year on IDAHO,” said Eleanor Laing, Tory Shadow Minister for Women and Equality.
Eleanor Laing, Tory Shadow Minister for Women and Equality said “There is much to celebrate this year on IDAHO.
The passing of the Equality Act with its provisions to stop discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation is a vast step forward. Regardless of party political persuasion, attitudes are changing and I have every confidence that we are progressing towards a day when homophobia will be a thing of the past”.
The Liberal Democrat spokesperson for women and equality, Lorely Burt, said that homophobia and transphobia “ruined the lives of gay, bisexual and transgender people in the UK and around the world”.
“These prejudices can ruin a teenager’s education, lead to grotesque bullying at work, and are the source of discriminatory Government policies worldwide which ignore the problems LGBT people face or make these problems worse. It is imperative that these prejudices are urgently and proactively tackled, therefore the Liberal Democrats warmly and fully support the International Day Against Homophobia, she said.
Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MEP called for the United Nations to address the situation.
“It is time the UN condemned such injustice and set a signal to the governments of the world that the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is a violation of fundamental human rights”.
The main point of this evening’s meeting is for campaigners to take stock of the highly successful national campaign which IDAHO-UK has become, with more than 80 events covering all of the country, and with support still growing, UK coordinator Derek Lennard said.
“Organisers of events in London, Surrey and Brighton will describe their IDAH0 events and why they organised them. One of the latest developments in the campaign was the news that the Queer Action Network special poster to celebrate IDAHO has been distributed to 2,500 schools and youth projects.