Singer Elton John (Pic: Richard Mushet)
The Kaleidoscope Trust, launched in London this week, has been backed by Elton John and George Michael as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The organisation says that it will work around the world, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, to promote diversity and respect for all regardless of sexual orientation. It will also specifically target anti-gay laws in Commonwealth countries; 38 out of the 54 member countries still criminalise homosexuality.
“Kaleidoscope brings together people with wide experience of politics, diplomacy and campaigning to apply pressure for change on governments, international organisations and those with the power to make change a reality,” said the group.
The director of Kaleidoscope, Lance Price, added: “The scale of the task appears daunting and it is. But wherever there has been progress, where unjust laws have been repealed, and where homophobic attitudes have been successfully challenged, the process was invariably started by a few brave individuals. They felt isolated, they faced abuse and attack, but they knew that they had right on their side.”
The launch, marked by a reception at the House of Commons hosted by the Speaker, John Bercow MP, Kaleidoscope’s Honorary President, was expected to be attended by openly-gay stars Elton John and George Michael.
Prime Minister David Cameron also welcomed the organisation’s launch.
“Our country has made real progress on LGB&T equality and, without forgetting how far we’ve still got to go domestically, it is right that we should now increasingly turn our attention towards bringing about change abroad.
“In some countries, it’s simply appalling how people can be treated – how their rights are trampled on and the prejudices, and even violence, they suffer. So I want Britain to be a global beacon for reform. That’s why I am delighted to send my best wishes to Kaleidoscope, and wish them well in their work,” he said in a statement.
Around 76 countries around the world criminalise homosexuality, with five countries or regions allowing for the death penalty against people convicted of having gay sex.