LGBT Rights

The GFF Tracks Global LGBT Rights

By: Tom Galloway

The Galloway Family Foundation charts the increasing anti-LGBT legislation around the globe. 76 countries currently classify homosexuality as a crime, and five of those apply the death penalty.

The Foundation focuses attention on LGBT rights violations by highlighting the recent President Obama directive mandating that US agencies work to support LGBT rights abroad.  In his Presidential Memorandum Obama directed “all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.”

The work of the Foundation examines how these policy ideas will be translated into action on these fundamental rights issues. Using the directive as a lens, the GFF’s reporting and analysis will shed new light on severe violations against LBGT people, raising public awareness of the problem. In addition, on its website GFF collects the best media coverage on LGBT issues from around the world, whether it is about human rights abuses towards LGBTs, discriminatory laws, or the secondary effects of anti-gay legislation. The slow progression towards equal rights for LGBTs is also highlighted, whether it is U.S. states that support same-sex marriage legislation or brave activists and organizations in developing nations that speak out for equal rights for LGBTs.

Over fifty representatives from different nations walked out of a recent UN meeting on LGBT violence, rejecting the idea that LGBTs have the same rights as other citizens, stating, “We note with concern the attempts to create controversial ‘new notions’ or ‘new standards’ by misinterpreting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” When it comes to this extreme violence against the LGBT, some world leaders deny the most fundamental human rights of those who happen to be gay, lesbian or transgender.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon countered, stating, “where there is tension between cultural attitudes and universal human rights, universal human rights must carry the day.”

Equally disturbing is the shallow media coverage of LGBT issues. The U.S. media rarely examines the complexity of LGBT struggles in developing nations. For example,  it ignores the legacies of western colonialism that often lead poor countries to reject attempts by the international community to interfere with what they see as their sovereign rights to cultural differences. American anti-gay organizations that have tremendous influence on hatred in homophobic countries are also frequently overlooked. Such complexities can explain in part the difficulties in attempting to universalize human rights standards surrounding gays and lesbians.