In an increasingly challenging global landscape for LGBTQ+ rights, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, the executive director of the queer nonprofit organization Kaleidoscope Trust, is spearheading efforts to implore the UK government to take a more proactive stance in protecting LGBTQ+ individuals worldwide. As countries across the world backtrack on LGBTQ+ rights, Opoku-Gyimah and her colleagues from Kaleidoscope Trust are making their voices heard at both the Conservative and Labour party conferences, engaging with MPs and decision-makers from across the political spectrum.
Manifesto for Change
At the heart of their advocacy is the unveiling of Kaleidoscope Trust’s new Policy Manifesto, a comprehensive document that outlines their five clear priorities for the UK government regarding global LGBTI+ rights. These priorities encompass sustainable funding, multilateral leadership on LGBTI+ human rights, addressing violence and discrimination, raising global standards through domestic action, and advocating for economic inclusion. Kaleidoscope Trust is calling on every MP and prospective MP to pledge their commitment to implementing these priorities.
The Urgent Need for Action
While the world faces numerous global challenges, including the aftermath of a pandemic, natural disasters, geopolitical conflicts, and political instability, Opoku-Gyimah stresses the importance of not overlooking the crucial issue of LGBTI+ rights. Recent years have shown disturbing signs of regression in LGBTQ+ rights in some countries, with the President of Uganda signing the Anti-Homosexuality Act earlier this year, further criminalizing same-sex activity and any advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights. Similar laws are being proposed in other nations, raising alarm about the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ individuals.
A Call to Uphold Human Rights
The UK government, having been one of the first to publicly prioritize the human rights of LGBTI+ people and the decriminalization of same-sex relationships in its foreign policy, is in a unique position to lead on this critical global issue. By addressing past wrongs stemming from colonial-era laws and building on recent leadership, the UK can play a pivotal role in advancing global LGBTQ+ rights.
Time for Immediate Action
As Opoku-Gyimah aptly points out, while progress has been made in decriminalizing same-sex relationships in 49 countries over the last thirty years, 66 countries still criminalize such relationships. LGBTQ+ individuals in many regions live in constant fear, lacking protection from violence and discrimination. The urgency for change cannot be overstated, and the time for action is now.
In a world where LGBTQ+ rights remain under threat, Kaleidoscope Trust’s call for the UK government to champion global LGBTI+ rights serves as a vital rallying cry. As the UK stands at the forefront of this ongoing battle for equality, the hope for a more inclusive and accepting world remains strong.