Theresa May

A number of European leaders have come out against homophobia on the International Day Against Homophobia, which was marked around the world yesterday.

The new UK coalition government took a stand on the issue through a statement issued by Theresa May, the recently appointed Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities.

“This Government is committed to creating a society that is fair for everyone and supports equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGB&T) people,” said May.

“This means supporting civil partnerships, tackling homophobic bullying wherever it occurs, changing the law regarding historic convictions for consensual gay sex and using our international influence to put pressure on countries where LGB&T people are persecuted. These commitments show our determination to tear down the barriers that continue to hold people back.”

May has been criticised for her previous voting record on LGBT rights issues and there have been calls for her to be removed from her position.

Meanwhile, the French government affirmed its role as a world leader in supporting LGBT equality by calling on the World Health Organisation to remove transsexuality from its official list of mental illnesses.

The French ministers of foreign affairs and health, Bernard Kouchner and Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, said: “France remains steadfast in its battle against stigmatisation and human rights violations. Many victims of these all around the world are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.”

In a video statement, Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament also committed the EU to LGBT rights, saying: “Homophobia is a clear breach of human dignity that questions fundamental rights; and thus, it must be strongly condemned.”

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is marked every year on May 17 to honour the day that homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organisation in 1990.

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