Twenty-one years ago the World Health Organization excluded homosexuality from its list of officially recognized mental illnesses. Today, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is marked around the world to commemorate that landmark decision, and to raise awareness about the continued rights abuses -- in the form, among others, of bias-motivated violence and criminalization -- still faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals.
Human Rights First (HRF) stands together with advocates for the rights of LGBTI individuals in their quest for equality. We continue to urge governments around the world to decriminalize consensual same-sex relations, to respond to homophobic violence against LGBTI persons and to ensure their right to freedom of assembly. We urge public officials to refrain from feeding popular homophobic attitudes and call out those that do.
The challenges remain daunting, but it is worth remembering, too, where there has been progress and where the rights community has come together to confront homophobia and transphobia. A few noteworthy moments from the past year include:
Watch our Youtube Video for Julius Kaggwa, the Ugandan activist who received HRF's Human Rights Award in 2010, explain the negative role of influential U.S. pastors in this fight.
Follow Paul LeGendre on Twitter: www.twitter.com/humanrights1st