Private IDAHO?

Today is IDAHO, the International Day Against HOmophobia and transphobia. Those of you versed in queer politics can doubtless already see where I am going with this. A day that should be spent fighting for human rights for all sorts of people is, to a large extent, being spent instead on arguments between various parts of the Queer community as to who is actually included and whether they should have a letter in the acronym. There should be a T, because otherwise transphobia is not properly covered. There should be a B, because otherwise bisexuals are being made invisible. There should be an I, because intersex people resent being included under the trans umbrella. And so on. Sometimes I think that if we expended half as much energy on fighting external bigotry that we expended on fighting each other then there would be no need for things like IDAHO.

Still, as we have a day to celebrate, here are a few things to note.

Firstly ILGA Europe has produced a Rainbow Europe Index that shows how different European countries are doing in passing LGBT-friendly legislation. The good news is that the UK comes out top of the heap, with 12.5 out of 17 points, and it loses 2 for not having a constitution, which I suspect some people will see as unfair.

Digging deeper, however, I discover that the UK was awarded 2 points for having legislation about supply of goods & services discrimination on the grounds of gender identity. Well it does. It has legislation that specifically makes is legal to discriminate on the grounds of gender identity. That’s the infamous “Equality” Act, of course, which human rights lawyers are itching for an opportunity to challenge as it may well be contradicting other UK legislation such as the Gender Recognition Act. I’m not sure that the 2 points is warranted here.

And that half point? Hate crimes legislation for gender identity protection — a half point because it is Scotland only.

Unfortunately, while the UK is leading Europe in LGBT protection, it is setting a very bad example elsewhere. There is this thing called the Commonwealth (the political institution formerly known as the British Empire), and it is a festering bastion of homophobia and transphobia. Over at The Guardian, Peter Tatchell explains all. You would think that an organization headed by someone called “The Queen” could do better in this regard.

And finally, I am delighted to report that my beloved World Champion San Francisco Giants are to become the first sports team to record an “It Gets Better” video. Details from the San Francisco Chronicle.

5 thoughts on “Private IDAHO?

    1. Yeah, I saw Gabby RT it. As far as I can see, Ben is working with gay rugby teams (though sadly not the Bristol Bisons). Presumably he’ll be getting support from Alfie and Steve Davies, but it would be nice to see other high profile sportsmen pitch in and help, particularly those still playing.

  1. Looking at the map it seems that there is a correlation between membership in the European Union and better legislation for LGBT’s. I think that improving the laws regarding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation should be a part of the accession process.

  2. The Rainbow Europe index is a bit confusing. Sweden gets a point for having a law against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, even though it is a regular law and not in (our equivalent of) a constitution. However, the very same law also prohibits discrimination against gender identity (“transgender identity or expression” is the actual words, I think), but there is no point for that.

    We used to have registered partnerships for same-sex couples, but the law was recently explicitly changed to make this marriage equality instead, so the “registered partnership” bit was removed. Fair enough, the table states that “in case a country has various forms of recognition, we award the country points according to the highest form of recognition”. So how come Belgium and the Netherlands gets points for both marriage equality and registered partnerships? Huh.

    Oh, and same-sex couples has the right to joint adoption. Sweden gets a point for that. Yay. Of course, since the law was passed in 2003, not a single adoption has been approved for a same-sex couple, despite many applications, both for international and step-parent adoptions. Strange coincidence, that.

    1. Yeah, these things are much more complicated than they first appear. I suspect that the index has a general use, but that fine distinctions between countries should not be taken very seriously.

      And while I am pleased to know that Sweden has legal protections (as I will be visiting Stockholm in June), I also note that laws can’t prevent discrimination, witness what happened in Malmo last year. All laws can do, in any country, is give signals to the population, and occasionally punish those who break them. Only changes in social attitudes can stop discrimination.

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