Prince William has pledged his support for LGBTI equality in the Commonwealth.
Royals attended an event, hosted by Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland, to meet with LGBTI representatives.
The Duke of Cambridge and third in line to the throne said he is a supporter for LGBTI rights.
Prince WIlliam said he raises LGBTI rights when he is traveling. He also vowed to do more so in the future.
37 of 53 countries in the Commonwealth criminalize homosexuality or gay sex. These derive from laws imposed by them by the British during the colonial era.
Countries which criminalize gay sex include Uganda, Nigeria, Barbados and Kenya.
Young royal pledges support of Commonwealth reform
A group of 80 LGBTI defenders, coordinated by The Peter Tatchell Foundation, protested at Westminster Abbey as the Queen, Prime Minister Theresa May and more officials celebrated Commonwealth Day.
JOIN US today. 53 countries in the Commonwealth. 37 criminalise homosexuality. #Commonwealth leaders refuse to end this persecution. LGBTs & allies are holding a vigil for equality outside Westminster Abbey today, Commonwealth Day, from 1.30 to 4.30pm. #commonequality pic.twitter.com/zumH4RtrpC
— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) March 12, 2018
Royal endorsement could help put LGBT rights on the Commonwealth agenda’
LGBTI activist Peter Tatchell told Gay Star News a royal acknowledgment is a step in the right direction.
He said this ensures fluidity is present across all Commonwealth member states.
‘It is great that Prince William has expressed his support for LGBT human rights,’ said Peter.
‘I hope that he and the other young royals – Catherine, Harry and Meghan – will speak out for LGBT equality during the Commonwealth summit in April.
‘Their public endorsement could help put LGBT rights on the agenda,’ he said, adding a positive outlook to the campaign.
‘Prince William should address the fact that Britain was wrong to introduce such laws’
Long-term activist and Ugandan Edwin Sesange fled his home country for fear of of his life. Uganda has some of the strictest anti-gay laws in the world.
‘It was a life-threatening experience growing up in Uganda under colonial sodomy laws, but it so depressing to come to terms with the reality of not being able to go back to your country of origin due to the fear for your life because of your sexuality and existence of colonial sodomy laws,’ Sesange said of his experiences.
But while he welcomes Prince Williams’ pledge of support, Sesange points out that the ‘sodomy laws’ were introduced through British rule and colonization.
‘Prince William’s support is welcome, however the fact is these laws did not exist in those countries prior to British colonialism, therefore Prince William should address the fact that Britain was wrong to introduce such laws in those countries,’ he continued.
‘Therefore an apology on behalf of the monarch will do much as a starting a point. We do not want Prince William’s genuine effort to be misinterpreted as promotional of homosexuality.’
‘We stand in solidarity and protest with our LGBTQI siblings’
‘Commonwealth Day should be a day where we stand in solidarity and protest with our LGBTQI siblings in 37 Commonwealth countries who are fighting for their lives every day because of criminal laws exported by the United Kingdom during her colonial past,’ UK Black Pride’s International Rights Officer, S Chelvan, told Gay Star News.
‘We are proud of our friends at Kaleidoscope Trust who are doing a great deal of effective on-the-ground work supporting LGBTQI activists in changing these inherited laws and social attitude.’
‘The UK Black Pride movement aims this year to continue to provide a strong voice to our marginalized queer siblings.’
‘There is a very special value in the insights we gain through the Commonwealth connection; shared inheritances help us overcome difference so that diversity is a cause for celebration rather than division,’ said the Queen in her 2018 Commonwealth speech.
Over the last few years, activists have made concerted efforts to push the Commonwealth to address LGBT issues.
They have been met with resistance from individual governments. It is hoped intervention and support from the future king can help to curb the Commonwealth trend.
Hopefully we won’t have to wait until Commonwealth Day rolls out again next year to find out.
Sign and share petition to urge Commonwealth summit 2018 #CHOGM2018 to lead the way in raising awareness of LGBTI rights as human rights and to act to remedy LGBTI rights abuses in the Commonwealth. Sign the petition here.