LGBTI advocacy groups and public figures celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights on Monday (10 December).
10 December is also commemorated annually as Human Rights Day
While advocacy groups celebrated the progress made with regard to LGBTI rights, they took the opportunity to point out that a lot of work is still required for LGBTI rights around the world.
As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of #HumanRightsDay, let’s continue to help build a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community. #StandUp4HumanRights https://t.co/oOPQ4vBmlJ pic.twitter.com/ZFlonigzUN
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) December 11, 2018
In a statement, Human Rights Campaign Global Director, Ty Cobb, drew attention to the ongoing struggle for equality.
‘Today on the 70th Human Rights Day, we celebrate the global recognition that every human being is born with basic human rights and dignity that should never be violated,’ said Cobb.
‘Yet, as an LGBTQ community, we still have a long way to go to achieving that goal […] From Chechnya to Egypt to Indonesia, we will not stop until every member of our community, anywhere in the world, is safe, secure, and truly free and equal.’
Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. Support #LGBT+ people & stand up for human rights!
— One Love, All Equal (@OneLoveAllEqual) May 17, 2018
(Some) countries pledge their support for LGBTI equality
US President Donald Trump did not release a statement, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green released statements to mark the anniversary.
However, neither of the US government representatives referenced the LGBTI community.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez made reference to the LGBTI community in a statement, as did Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
On the International Day against #Homophobia and #Transphobia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil honors all people fighting for the human rights of #LGBT people. Brazil has been vocal in promoting and defending these rights in all relevant international fora. pic.twitter.com/vZvo3eSOfE
— Itamaraty Brazil🇧🇷 (@Itamaraty_EN) May 17, 2018
‘At home, we are working hard to build a country where all Canadians are free and safe to be themselves and can go as far as their dreams will take them,’ Trudeau said in his statement.
‘We continue to take concrete measures to fight racism and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.’
The foreign ministries of Demark and Brazil also tweeted in support of LGBTI equality.
Happy #IDAHOT! The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is celebrated across the world, and by Denmark and Danish Embassies, too. Human rights apply to everyone. #LGBT #LGBTI #IDAHOT2018 pic.twitter.com/xJEFUrqZoN
— Denmark.dk (@denmarkdotdk) May 17, 2018
2018: A mixed bag
2018 has seen some major leaps forward for LGBTI rights, but there have also been a number of declines.
One of the biggest developments was in India, where the repeal of Section 377 decriminalized homosexual sex for the most populous country on earth.
The decriminalization of homosexuality in Trinidad and Tobago was also one of the LGBTI community’s greatest achievements this year. That victory was made all the more incredible by activist Jason Jones’ relentless, grassroots campaigning. Jones spent thousands of pounds of his own money to fight the government at the Privy Council and faced years of attacks for his efforts.
His victory has also helped propel forward LGBTI rights in the Caribbean and other Commonwealth countries.
South America also saw progress, with Costa Rica poised to be the first country in Central America to legalize same-sex marriage, and the signing of the Trans Rights Bill in Chile.
However, there were also setbacks for LGBTI rights in other countries.
A referendum in Taiwan saw voters heavily reject amending the constitution to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.
The governor of Tanzania’s economic capital Dar es Salaam received scathing condemnation after he called for alleged homosexuals to be rounded up by special police units.
The LGBTI communities of majority Islamic countries in Southeast Asia have also suffered setbacks.
Indonesia’s LGBTI community has experienced increased persecution during the lead-up to the 2019 presidential elections, while Malaysia has seen a war of words between rights activists and Islamic hardliners.
Singapore also made headlines, after calls for the repeal of the country’s anti-gay law went unheeded by the government.