Gay and Lesbian Humanist

Winter 1997-1998

Promoting Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Rights as Human Rights

by Brett Humphreys

As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption in December 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the use of the Web to promote lesbian, gay and bisexual rights as human rights is proceeding well.

To find out why the direct action group OutRage! would like to attach a plethysmograph to Robert Mugabe, try visiting their website. The core of the site is a collection of some 40 press releases, open letters and articles detailing the group’s campaigns and actions over the last couple of years, with new items being added regularly. A number of them relate to homophobia in the Church of England, and the photo gallery includes a picture of the notorious Bishops’ Outing of 1994. A forthright and colourful site in keeping with OutRage!’s image.

The lobbying group Stonewall devotes its site largely to the newsletter and activities of its Immigration Group and also includes details of the campaign leading up to the 1997 General Election. The reminder on these latter pages to “register to vote in time for the General Election” highlights the need for those responsible for websites to monitor them regularly for obsolescence. Unfortunately, the overall design of the site is somewhat uncoordinated, and some of the links are obscured by being coloured black (the same as plain text) or hidden in graphics.

The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) has only relatively recently set up its own site, although various member organisations have hosted ILGA material for some time. Parts of the ILGA site are still “under construction” – like much else on the Web – but already there is a reasonable amount of information covering ILGA’s organisation, publications and activities, all presented in a sedate and professional format.

The US-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission was founded in 1990 to monitor and respond to abuses throughout the world. Theirs is a major site providing much detailed and useful information, including press releases, action alerts, and the content of the Commission’s twice-yearly newsletter, OUTSpoken. Some of the material is provided in French and Spanish as well as English, a welcome exception to the trend of anglicisation on the Web. The site’s policy of making visited and unvisited links indistinguishable, however, can only be described as perverse.

Amnesty International, having finally come to recognise human rights violations based on sexual orientation after many years of lobbying by ILGA, GALHA and others, now has its own thriving Amnesty International UK (AIUK) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Network (see Derek Lennard’s review later in this issue). Visit AIUK’s website but be prepared to have to hunt around a bit to find any reference to lesbian and gay issues.

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Created : Sunday, 1999-01-31 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
Brett Humphreys :