Gays to mark Intn’l Day of Protest for their rights

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender people and allies around the world will join in united protests on “I.D.A.H.O.” – International Day Against HOmophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia


People around the world who oppose discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity will join together on all inhabited continents Tuesday, May 17th in a united day of protests to mark International Day Against HOmophobia (I.D.A.H.O.).

In Chicago, people opposed to discrimination based upon sexual orientation and identity will gather in front of Millennium Park, corner of Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street at 5:30 PM, Tuesday, May 17th, in a protest sponsored by the Gay Liberation Network (

The purpose of the worldwide protests is to make the general public aware of the serious situations facing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people around the globe.

For example:
South Africa
Despite being one of the few countries in the world whose constitution guarantees full legal equality for Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals, men frequently perform “corrective rape” on women alleged to have same-sex desires, in an effort to make them “straight.” The government only recently acknowledged that HIV causes AIDS – letting the disease spread like wildfire while severely stigmatizing those women and men who have caught it.

With encouragement from far-right U.S. evangelicals, the foremost leader in the country’s parliament has repeatedly flirted with legislation that would prescribe the death penalty for gays, and make it an imprisonable offense for those who know of gays’ sexual activities not to inform the authorities. A local newspaper ran the pictures and names of many alleged gays on its front page under the caption, “Hang them.”  One of the country’s most prominent gay activists pictured in the paper, David Kato, was subsequently murdered in an apparent hate crime.
Since 2006, LGBTs have attempted to demonstrate in the streets, in accordance with rights supposedly guaranteed all Russians under their constitution. But the authorities have repeatedly banned most protests by LGBTs and have allowed neo-fascist thugs to physically attack peaceful demonstrators in broad daylight.  Despite their differences, the most prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders of Moscow are united in calling for the physical suppression of gay rights demonstrators.

Leading performers of the country’s most popular music genre, “dance hall,” frequently call for murdering lesbians and gays in the lyrics of their songs. The country’s most prominent LGBT activist, Brian Williamson, was murdered in his home in 2004 in an apparent hate crime.  A Human Rights Watch staffer who visited Williamson’s home shortly after the murder reported a crowd gathered outside singing the chorus to one of dance hall’s most infamous kill-the-gays anthems, Buju Banton’s “Boom Bye Bye,” which talks about shooting and burning gays.
Last year 260 LGBT people were murdered in Brazil – one every 36 hours, more than seven times the rate in the U.S., making it the world’s capital of anti-LGBT hate murders. As in the United States, Transgender people suffered by far the highest proportion of hate murders. And the trend is all in the wrong direction. Over the past five years Brazil has seen a 113% increase in the number of LGBT murders. 

United States
Even in the most liberal states of this country, LGBT people still lack full legal equality thanks to federal laws passed largely during the Clinton administration. Few major religious denominations embrace full equality for LGBTs such as their full acceptance as worshippers and access to religious offices. LGBT youth endure far greater rates of homelessness and suicide attempts than their straight peers, and few schools embrace affirming education the way they do for other minority groups. Even fewer schools treat gay or lesbian sexuality with the frankness and respect they pay heterosexual sex. In most areas of the country, local laws still fall short of endorsing equal access to jobs, housing and public accommodations, and offenses based on sexual orientation are the second leading type of hate crime.

Chicago’s I.D.A.H.O. protest is sponsored by the Gay Liberation Network, an LGBT direct action organization founded in 1998.   For more information, email or telephone 773.209.1187

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