Scotland politics

Tatchell calls on Salmond to condemn homophobia in the Commonwealth

Peter Tatchell
Image caption Political campaigner Peter Tatchell has called on leading politicians to speak out against homophobia

Campaigner Peter Tatchell has called on First Minister Alex Salmond to condemn homophobia in some Commonwealth countries ahead of the Glasgow Games.

Mr Tatchell argued that gay people are persecuted in 42 out of 53 Commonwealth member states.

He also called for countries that "refuse to support equality" to be barred from the Games.

Meanwhile, the Scottish government is to open Pride House, hosting events to "celebrate diversity" during the Games.

The Peter Tatchell Foundation made the appeal to Mr Salmond following an earlier appeal to Prime Minister David Cameron to speak out against homophobia ahead of Glasgow 2014.

Mr Tatchell called on Mr Salmond to condemn "persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) people in 42 of the 53 Commonwealth member states".

He added: "We urge him to appeal to all participating countries to adhere to Article 7 of the Commonwealth Games Federation constitution, which prohibits all discrimination."

Mr Tatchell has also written to Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg, calling for a tougher line against countries that do not uphold Article 7.

Image copyright SNS
Image caption Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison is a patron of Pride House

Article 7 states: "There shall be no discrimination against any country or person on any grounds whatsoever, including race, colour, gender, religion or politics."

The campaigner said: "Eighty per cent of Commonwealth countries discriminate against LGBTI people.

"The intensity of homophobia in these countries is so great that it is very unlikely that they would select an LGBTI athlete to compete in Glasgow.

"I can't imagine homophobic states like Uganda, Brunei or Nigeria selecting an LGBTI athlete.

"They are more likely to jail them than send them to Glasgow.

"Although the Glasgow 2014 administrators are commendably committed to equality and diversity, they have disappointingly not agreed to the Peter Tatchell Foundation's request to require all participating nations to sign a pledge to uphold Article 7."

Pride House

Mr Tatchell's call came on the same day that the Scottish government's Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison, is to open Pride House in Glasgow.

The initiative is led by Leap Sports Scotland, an organisation which aims to encourage LGBTI people to partake in sport, and will feature discussions as well as arts and cultural events.

The Scottish government said the programme of more than 70 events was "a demonstration of commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality on the international stage".

Ms Robison said: "By increasing the visibility of LGBTI people in sport, either through LGBTI-specific sports groups or addressing discrimination where it exists in mainstream sports, we are working towards making sport more inclusive to all.

"I'm confident that equality and human rights initiatives around the Games, such as Pride House, will provide a warm welcome to members of the LGBTI community and will create a legacy for the future."

Ms Robison is to make a speech at Pride House to an audience including Mr Tatchell, who has been appointed a "champion" of the project.

Later, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visited Pride House.

He said: "We've come a long way in this country towards achieving the genuine equality that LGBT people have always wanted and deserved. This includes last year's landmark equal marriage reform. Yet there's still a huge amount to be done across the world.

"As we celebrate the bravery of Olympians who have come out - Tom Daley, Ian Thorpe or Nicola Adams for example - some countries are taking backward steps; putting their LGBT Olympians so far back in the closet that they can't ever imagine their day in the open.

"We can't dictate how other nations behave but we can promote the principles we believe in - of a fair and open society both in the UK and abroad."

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