Hornet, the world’s premier gay social network, announced the launch of the #DecriminalizeLGBT campaign, in an effort to raise awareness of global LGBT criminalization laws that must be abolished. With this social media campaign, Hornet will give voice to those impacted by these inhumane and unjust laws elevating stories through editorial content, conducting interviews, multli-media visuals and more. This is a major step in holding governments accountable in an ongoing effort to ensure that the rights of LGBT people are protected and the laws and policies that criminalize the community are eliminated.
“The expansion of anti-LGBT policies and government-sanctioned violence has intensified over the past year and we must put an end to this,” said Hornet president and co-founder Sean Howell. “It is our duty to ensure LGBT lives are protected around the world. With the #DecriminalizeLGBT campaign, we are holding public officials accountable and lending a voice to those that have been silenced for too long.”
Hornet is calling on the LGBT community and its allies to use social media to amplify the initiative’s message. Once signed up, participants will have the same automated message posted on their social channels (Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr) simultaneously on March 20, 2018, at 3:00pm ET. To join the social movement, take the three actions below:
- Leverage social media to share the #DecriminalizeLGBT message, with one click
- Learn about the issues LGBT people face around the globe with special reporting on Hornet here
- Take action against the ant-LGBT crackdown in Egypt here
Hornet is joined by NGOs (non-governmental organizations such as, Pan Africa International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (Pan Africa ILGA) and The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) to build a coalition of activists, civil societies and corporations to confront hostile governments and force change.
Homosexuality is criminalized in over 70 countries across the globe and in at least eight countries is punishable by death. As long as homosexuality is criminalized LGBT people will continue to face violence, harassment, and discrimination. LGBT people cannot fully participate in their communities or enjoy access to public services when they are seen as criminals. Action must be taken, and governments must be held accountable. Through grassroots organizing, social media engagement, and leadership from non-profits, governments, and corporations these laws can be done away with.
In Indonesia the police have publicly beaten and humiliated LGBT people. Egypt continues to harass and arrest gay men. In Chechnya gay men have been tortured, imprisoned, and murdered at the hands of the government, the same government that doesn’t acknowledge the existence of gay people. This is but a sample of actions by anti-LGBT governments. The violence and harassment continues, but it is no longer front-page news. This campaign intends to change that.
The criminalization of LGBT people also has a profound impact on the HIV epidemic. Such laws prevent people from accessing testing, treatment and prevention. We can never get an accurate picture of the epidemic and how gay men are impacted if it is illegal for men to admit to having sex with other men. MSMGF has been a critical organization fighting for the rights of LGBT people and supporting access to treatment and prevention. They recently supported a paper that demonstrates how global programs can have an impact on anti-gay laws. Programs and institutions with money and power can influence policy if they decide to prioritize LGBT people.
“Discriminatory laws continue to create barriers for gay and bisexual men in accessing the care and support that they need. We are proud of our partnership with Hornet and their campaign, which calls for an end to the criminalization of LGBT people. There is still much work to be done to ensure the human rights of LGBT people in countries around the world,” said Greg Tartaglione, Senior Communications Officer at MSMGF.
Pan Africa ILGA is on the frontlines building a unified African movement while advocating for the protection of LGBT rights. An anti-LGBT sentiment is sweeping across Africa, and American Christian fundamentalists are often leading the charge. Local African activists have the very difficult task of confronting hostile governments, as well as contending with the influence of powerful outside forces.
“Criminalization of same-sex conduct is not only discrimination of a group of people directly sponsored by the state, but also a license for the rest of society to stigmatize this section of the citizenry that according to most constitutions, ought to be protected by the law. These criminalizing laws do not protect the society at all because everybody deserves equal treatment before the law,” asserted Anthony Oluoch, Program Manager Pan Africa ILGA.
The lives of LGBT people must be invested in and we must defend human rights. Through grassroots organizations, social media engagement, and leadership from non-profits, governments, and corporations we can #DecriminalizeLGBT.