International activists and human rights campaigners came together to celebrate the launch of the UK’s first alliance to help secure global equality for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.
LGBT activists including Dmitry Spodobaev, from Russia and PJ Samuels, from Jamaica were among the speakers at the event at JP Morgan in London on Wednesday 5 July.
They were joined by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Nick Herbert CBE MP, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT Rights.
The UK Alliance for Global Equality is made up of All Out, Commonwealth HIV & Aids Action Group (CHAAG), Human Dignity Trust, International HIV/Aids Alliance, Kaleidoscope Trust, Stonewall UK, Stop AIDS and UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG). The group is also open to other UK charities and groups working to promote the human rights of LBGT people around the world.
Across the world, LGBT people continue to face discrimination and abuse. In 72 countries sex between same-sex people is criminalised, and it is punishable by death in eight. Most governments do not allow trans people to legally change their name and gender from that assigned at birth.
Recent international emergencies, such as the persecution of gay and bi men in Chechnya, have highlighted the role that UK-based organisations can play in affecting international action on LGBT abuses.
After news broke of the Chechnya crisis, UK-based organisations contacted the UK government to raise concerns. This intervention led to a high-profile debate in the House of Commons and ministers, including the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister, issuing statements of concern and calling for an inquiry by Russian authorities.
Charities and organisations based in the UK can clearly have a positive impact internationally but it is vital that interventions, both in the UK and abroad, are coordinated. The UK Alliance for Global Equality has been formed is to ensure this happens.
Paul Twocock, Chair of the UK Alliance for Global Equality, said: ‘All of the organisations involved are highly effective advocates and campaigners for equality both here and abroad. Now is the time to pool our talent, our expertise and our resources to create a formidable force to support LGBT people internationally.
‘By creating this coalition, not only can we provide cohesive support for international LGBT activists, we can also more effectively advocate on their behalf, ensuring all the diverse issues facing the community are fully represented.
‘We’re also able to draw together our network of supporters in the UK and inspire and empower them to become effective advocates for global LGBT equality.
‘Together, our collective voice will be louder, our unified message clearer and our overall impact greater.
‘This is the start of a long campaign, but one we are determined to play an active and constructive role in until every LGBT person globally is accepted for who they are and can live a free and prosperous life.’