Earlier we reported on the disappointing list of 6 people The Independent published as having made 2015 a landmark year for LGBT rights worldwide.
Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera
“All we need is respect, and protection from violence, and our basic inalienable human rights. Speaking out and bringing attention to the plight of LGBT people is life. I will not be silenced by anyone.”
Casey Conway, an Aboriginal Australian and former national rugby league player for the Sydney Roosters, came out as gay this year. Following a shoulder injury he retired from rugby at the age of 22 and went on to work with vulnerable and homeless youth. In coming out he said the following about his work, “I’ve worked with kids who are homeless because they’ve been kicked out of home when they came out [as gay]. They’re suffering not only because they don’t have a home, but because of their mental health and a raft of other issues.”
Jaime Lopez Vela and Alexi Ali Mendez
It made worldwide headlines when Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages were legal and that previous legislation defining marriage as “something to be celebrated between a man and a woman” was in fact un-constitutional.
This issue however would have never come before the Supreme Court had it not been for the likes of Vela and Mendez, both LGBT activists and lawyers who together fought various game-changing legal battles across the country eventually leading to the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court this year.
When Xavier Bettel decided to declare his undying love for Gauthier Destenay in marriage, he became the second sitting world leader and first in the EU to marry their same-sex partner. This hopefully set an example for LGBT youth across the EU, that it is in fact okay to be gay and that marriage is about love.
This year Russian LGBT activist, Elena Klimnova, faced tough criticism and even fines from the Russian government for her site Deti-404. The site was a treasure trove for LGBT teens in the homophobic state to share their stories of harassment and to offer support. Despite facing repeated prosecution and threats from members of the public, Elena has fought for this brave cause and given LGBT teens a ray of hope in an ever-depressing environment.
Richard Fung is an award winning documentarian who was awarded this year’s Kessler Award for his contributions to LGBT Studies. One of his most notable works was his film entitled “Orientations” which explored the Asian-Canadian gay and lesbian communities that existed underground in the 1980s.
This year the small Asian state became the first in Asia to provide explicit protection for LGBT people from discrimination, violence and abuse as part of its new constitution.
Upon hearing this news, Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global said, “We congratulate LGBT Nepalis and their allies for this historic victory, and hope to see other nations across Asia and the globe take similar steps to ensure full legal equality for their LGBT citizens.”
Israel Gay Youth Organization
This year the Israel Gay Youth Organisation took the first steps in its planned outreach into the LGBT-Arab community with the translation of its site into Arabic and the opening up of online forums wherein Arab youth can discuss their fears and concerns.
In an interview with Haaretz, one of the new Arab counsellors had the following to say, “Arab gay youth have no sources of information about being gay…Until the age of 18, I thought I was the only gay person in the world. I was completely cut off. We didn’t even have sex education at school. I went looking for a boy who had left our school, and I was told he was gay. I met him, he was in an art school and he introduced me to the community. Until 12th grade I never met a gay person or went to a gay party.”
This is the first step in the right direction in offering LGBT education to Arab youth.
by Matthew Hoy