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.
- "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is Repealed in the U.S. HRF's Dixon Osborn, who founded the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network in 1993, said it best: "the repeal of DADT and implementation of nondiscrimination policies by the Pentagon will be judged among the pantheon of civil rights advances in our country."
- Eighty-five countries call for an end to violence and human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Advancing gay rights at the U.N. has been extremely difficult, but the number of countries who have recognized fundamental principles has grown significantly. And senior UN leaders have been unequivocal and firm in recognizing gay rights as fundamental human rights.
- Uganda: the Struggle Continues. The tragic murder of David Kato shocked the world in January, and members of parliament tried to advance the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Yet courageous Ugandan rights activists stood up to homophobia and discriminatory legislation in Uganda and led an international campaign against the bill, which was shelved again.