All across London on Monday (16 April) night, messages calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality in the Commonwealth went up for everyone to see.
The projections came courtesy of All Out, a non-profit LGBT+ rights group. They put them up on major buildings within Central London. It coincided with the first day of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
A crowdfunding campaign paid for the projections.
There are 53 countries in the Commonwealth, an intergovernmental organization that’s mostly made up by former British territories. Currently, 37 of them have laws criminalizing homosexuality. Most of their laws stem from colonial days and have gone unchanged since the countries gained independence.
This was the case of Trinidad and Tobago, which recently overturned their law criminalizing gay sex.
‘Many Commonwealth leaders shamelessly scapegoat LGBT+ people for domestic political advantage,’ said Ifeatu Nnaobi, All Out’s Campaigns Manager in Nigeria.
‘They often exploit the false narrative that homosexuality is a “Western import” and argue that for this reason it must be eradicated.’
Creating a better future
The project aims to influence leaders at CHOGM to discuss LGBT+ rights.
‘Heads of Government of the Commonwealth claim they will be in London to agree on how to create a better future for all our citizens,’ said All Out Executive Director Matt Beard.
‘But this commitment to a better future rings hollow to the millions of LGBT+ people who live in the Commonwealth countries where homosexuality is illegal.’
All Out’s campaign hopes UK authorities will acknowledge the pain these laws have caused and apologize for them.
Beard said there is no plan to discuss LGBT+ rights at the meeting currently.
He concluded: ‘But if the leaders gathering in London and Windsor want the Commonwealth to be recognised as a credible twenty-first century global body, they must include an open and frank discussion of LGBT decriminalisation on their agenda.’