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© GIVE A DAMN CAMPAIGN 2010. All Rights Reserved.
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Judith Light

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Equality in Every Language

Imagine if you lived in a country where it was a crime simply to be yourself.

Unfortunately, millions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people around the world don’t have to imagine—it’s the horrific reality of their lives. In more than 70 countries, gay and transgender people may be arrested and jailed, or even killed, based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In too many parts of the world, the oppression and mistreatment of gay and transgender people is common, tolerated and accepted. Every single day, gay and transgender people around the world are threatened, arbitrarily detained, blackmailed, forced into psychiatric “treatment,” denied equal employment opportunities, tortured… even murdered.

Imagine having to hide who you are—because you could be imprisoned, even put to death, if you didn’t.

Imagine being afraid to go out and run errands, because you could get attacked—and no one would be coming to your aid, not even the police.

To be treated with equality, dignity and fairness is a fundamental right of all people. It’s time to give a damn about human rights, everywhere.

Basic human rights

The right to equality and non-discrimination… The right to participate in public and cultural life… The right to recognition before the law…

These are just some of the countless basic, inalienable rights of all human beings. Yet gay and transgender people everywhere regularly have their rights denied or violated by fellow citizens as well as by their country’s systems and institutions.

In Bahrain, for example, nearly 200 people were arrested at a so-called “gay party,” and 50 were held in pre-trial detention for almost a month. When no evidence of same-sex activity was found, these citizens were charged—and convicted—on a range of other random offenses.

In Malawi, a gay couple was originally sentenced to 14 years of hard labor after they celebrated their relationship with a traditional engagement ceremony. Only after international pressure was the couple later pardoned.

And in Uganda, a prominent gay rights advocate was found bludgeoned to death—after having won a court injunction against a Ugandan newspaper that urged for gay people to be killed.

No place for bigotry

It’s time to give a damn.

It’s time to give a damn, because it’s the 21st century, and there is no place in today’s world for bigotry and hatred.

It’s time to give a damn, because human rights should be a given for every person, in every corner of the world.

But most of all, it’s time to give a damn… because it’s the right thing to do.

We give a damn. Do you?

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Visit our nonprofit partner’s website; they’re experts on international human rights. They can provide you a ton of additional resources and ways to get involved:

The background material for this page was provided by:

  • International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (www.iglhrc.org)
  • International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (www.iglhrc.org): Fact sheet.
  • International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (www.iglhrc.org): “About Our Work.”
  • International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (www.iglhrc.org): “Our Issues.”
  • International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (www.iglhrc.org): “OutSpoken Newsletter: Winter/Spring 2011.”

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