Activists from all over the globe have called on the UK to help end anti-gay laws in 36 countries today (19 April).
In front of London’s HQ of the Commonwealth, campaigners from countries like Uganda, Jamaica and Sri Lanka stood together to fight for their freedom.
It followed British Prime Minister Theresa May issuing an apology for harmful laws imposed in the colonial era and a call for reform.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have also added aiding LGBTI issues to their list of commitments.
This month, Trinidad and Tobago decriminalized homosexuality.
Jason Jones, the lawyer who launched the campaign to end the homophobic legislation in his homeland, was at the protest.
‘The sense of elation to my fellow LGBTI citizens was beyond description. Everywhere I would walk into venues that night, it was this roar of people. It was shouts of freedom,’ he told Gay Star News.
‘People don’t understand that living under those dark laws, even if they’re not being used to prosecute people, having them hanging over your head like a noose in an imprisonment.
‘Imprisonment of the mind is as equally offensive to put us behind bars.’
Jones hoped that his victory has sparked decriminalization into the public consciousness.
‘It’s important all of our communities,no matter what passport you carry, come together for this moment,’ he said. .
‘This is the moment for 75 million for us who are still criminalized. It’s about rallying together to say, enough is enough.’
UK must ‘stand up’ against homophobic laws in 36 countries
Baroness Liz Barker said the UK has a ‘duty’ to stand up against homophobic laws.
‘We recognize in the UK we are extremely lucky,’ she told GSN.
‘It is our duty to stand up for all those people around the Commonwealth who suffer day in day out because of the horrible colonial legacy we left behind.’
Peter Tatchell, veteran human rights campaigner, helped to organize the protest.
‘The LGBTI people from across the Commonwealth here today want… leaders to legislate protection in law for LGBTI people against discrimination,’ he said.
‘Very importantly, they want these leaders to dialogue with them as the representatives of the LGBTI communities.
‘It’s shocking that so many leaders slam the door in the face of so many people fighting for freedom.’
S Chelvan, a representative of UK Black Pride, said: ‘We are here to support our brothers and sisters across the 36 countries that continue to criminalize same-sex love. We are here as one voice to tell the leaders of Commonwealth countries that the UK has expressed regret for these colonial laws so they can no longer rely on the exploitation of homophobia.
‘They need to start listening to their grassroots activists and ensure all LGBTI+ people in their countries can live freely and openly.’
Aderonke Apata is a lesbian Nigerian woman who fled her country to seek asylum in the UK.
‘Going forward, Britain should work with other countries to decriminalize homosexuality so people can be free,’ she said.
Britain caused this problem and they need to fix it. Until they rights the wrongs they have done, they have to live with the fact people will come this country for asylum and refuge.