Here's some positive international gay news from Canada over the weekend. Let's hope this important declaration is more than words on paper and provides for much-needed organizing around the globe to protect the human rights of the entire LGBT family:
The Montreal Gazette
by MARISSA LAROUCHE-SMART and MARY LAMEY
Published: Sunday, July 30, 2006
Nearly 60 years ago, the United Nations adopted the universal declaration of human rights, which states in its introduction: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."
Yesterday, a framework to promote gay and lesbian human rights moved a step forward with the adoption of the Declaration of Montreal - the legacy of the three-day international conference affiliated with the First World Outgames.
Human rights advocates plan to present the declaration - a manifesto that sets out guidelines to protect the rights of gays and lesbians - to the United Nations and national governments. The goal is to gain "unequivocal" support of gay rights worldwide. [...]
And what did some of the conference attendees have to say about issues of importance to them? Read this sidebar from the Montreal Gazette for comments overheard at the conference:
"In Russia, when we talk about 'liberal' attitudes towards gays, it means they don't want us imprisoned or hanged."
- Slava Bortnik, Russian gay activist.
"Warsaw wanted to ban its second gay pride parade, but after seeing the footage from Moscow, they decided to let it go ahead. Poles never want to look like Russians."
- German parliamentarian Volker Beck on the violent opposition to Moscow's first gay pride march.
"The gay movement's focus here is so male, white and privileged. Marriage? In India people are struggling for the dignity of two meals a day."
- An Indian delegate overheard during the lunch break.
"No one knows that I am a lesbian. Not at work, not my parents, not even my children. When I hear that there are 400 members of the Lesbian Mothers Association here, I can't believe such a thing is possible."
- A Japanese lesbian who is organizing a mother's group in Osaka.
"It would be wonderful if you could send an email every once in a while to let us know that we aren't alone and haven't been forgotten. If I could share that with my Cameroonians friends, it would mean the world to them."
- Alice Nkom, a Cameroonian human-rights lawyer and the only member of her country's 25-member delegation to receive a visa for the Outgames
"I've heard very little discussion of AIDS here. It has become a medically manageable disease in the developed world, but let's not forget that it continues to kill millions in the rest of the world."
- Edwin Cameron, gay, HIV-positive and a judge on South Africa's Supreme Court, speaking during the plenary on Africa and Asia.
"We've temporarily suspended our activities to focus on humanitarian aid to the thousands who have been internally displaced by the bombing."
- A delegate from the Lebanese LGBT group HELEM, in a videotaped message from Beirut. She was unable to leave Lebanon to attend the human-rights conference.
In my opinion, 2006 would be a very good year for the United Nations and its assorted human rights bureaus to do more for gays around the globe, starting with documenting antigay abuses and also granting consultative status and accreditation to gay human rights groups applying for membership to UN committees.