Mrs May nearly did

Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, told the Commonwealth that she “deeply regrets” Britain’s historical legacy of anti-gay laws across the Commonwealth as its 53 leaders gathered in London for their annual summit, urging Commonwealth nations to overhaul “outdated”, colonial-era legislation that treats more than 100 million lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people across the member countries as criminals.

May drew cheers from some in the audience on Tuesday when she said: “Nobody should face persecution or discrimination because of who they are or who they love.” However she addressed her remarks to an audience of NGO people, not the leaders of the Commonwealth Countries.


Mrs May might…

Jason Jones and friends celebrate their victory in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, on 12 April | Andrea de Silva/Reuters | r

Peter Tatchell urged Prime Minister Theresa May to apologise for Britain’s historical legacy of anti-gay laws across the Commonwealth. Leaders of the 53 member states are gathering in London for a summit.

The colonial-era laws treat more than 100 million lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people across the Commonwealth as criminals.

Mrs May acknowledged last year that Britain had a “special responsibility” to help change hearts and minds on anti-gay laws. The government may make an announcement on the issue at the heads of government summit later this week.

David Buckel

David Buckel | Jose F. Moreno/Associated Press | r

American lawyer David S. Buckel, 60, a champion of gay rights, died after setting himself on fire in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday morning. He left a note exhorting people to lead less selfish lives as a way to protect the planet. His remains were found in a field near baseball diamonds and the main loop used by joggers and bikers.

Mr. Buckel was the lead attorney in Brandon v. County of Richardson, in which a Nebraska county sheriff was found liable for failing to protect Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was murdered in Falls City, Neb. The case was used as the basis for the 1999 film “Boys don’t cry”.

While serving as senior counsel at Lambda Legal, Mr. Buckel was the strategist behind important same-sex marriage cases in New Jersey and Iowa.

G-H sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.

Colonial gay sex law unconstitutional, says Trinidad and Tobago Court

Ishmael Slandy | 9 April 2018 | r

A court in the Caribbean island of Trinidad & Tobago has ruled that colonial-era laws banning same-sex intimacy between consenting adults were in contravention of the constitutional rights and freedoms of gays by criminalising sexual relations between persons of the same sex.

Celebrations broke out outside the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain by members of the gay community when Justice Devindra Rampersad ruled in favour of Trinidad-born gay rights activist Jason Jones, who filed a constitutional motion challenging Sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act.

The law remains on the statute books, pending a future hearing in July. Attorneys for both Jones and the Office of the Attorney General are to file written submissions on the issue prior to the hearing date.

Marking 50 years of legality



National Archives | 14993

It was in 1967 the UK law was changed to legalise homosexuality between two consenting males. The 1967 act amended the law of England and Wales regarding homosexual activity, with Scotland following suit in 1980, and Northern Ireland in 1982.

The British Museum’s new exhibition will highlight the previously-hidden gay histories within its collection, and creates a treasure map of historic LGBTQ moments and objects held by the museum.

The Museum has a coin featuring the Roman emperor Hadrian on one side, and his male lover Antinous on the reverse. Antinous, who would have been part of a harem of the emperor’s lovers, drowned in the Nile river during a lion hunt, leaving the emperor distraught.

Other events will be taking place across the UK at the British Museum, the Red House, the Walker in Liverpool, the Russell-Cotes museum and gallery, and more.


Islington gets a gay archive



Highbury Fields, 1971. Picture: Islington Local History Centre | 17191gh

A new LGBT archive is being created in Islington, London, a borough steeped with LGBT history. Today Islington council launched an appeal for people to scour their homes for LGBT memorabilia – photos, posters, flyers etc – to build the archive, which is likely to be housed at Islington Museum in St John Street.

150 brave campaigners held Britain’s first ever gay rights protest in November 1970 in Highbury Fields. A torchlight rally was organised by the Gay Liberation Front in response to the arrest of Louis Eakes in the Fields. Mr Eakes, of the Young Liberals, was detained for cruising several men in a police entrapment operation. Mr Eakes claimed he was asking them for a light.


German victims of Paragraph 175 to get compensation at last



Gay prisoners in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen with pink triangles. Germany, December 1938 | Unknown photographer | Socialist Worker | 16448gh

Germany is set to compensate up to 50,000 men convicted under a historic law which was still in effect until the late 1960s. “Paragraph 175” was part of Germany’s criminal code from 1871 to 1994, and made homosexual acts between men a criminal offence.

Thousands of gay and bisexual men were arrested and incarcerated in NZI concentration camps. Those who managed to escape the camps were often arrested again under Paragraph 175. The persecution continued well after the end of World War II. Gay men were often socially ostracised as well as losing their homes and jobs.

Since the end of World War II, a total of over 140,000 men were convicted, and 50,000 were prosecuted under Paragraph 175.

€30m will be made available in compensation to survivors, depending on individual cases, and taking the length of sentence into consideration.


Heiko Maas | Heiko Maas | 16449gh

Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the draft law, which will be formally announced later in October, will offer “relatively uncomplicated” individual claims, as well as allowing for collective claims.