A major new international gay rights campaign is being launched in the UK today, supported by stars including Elton John and John Barrowman.
The Kaleidoscope Trust campaign, entitled ‘Imagine if it were illegal for you to be you’, is designed to win support for the human rights of LGBT people wherever it’s a crime to be gay.
Singer Elton John said: “Just imagine what it would be like if it were illegal to have blue eyes, or be under 5’10” tall. Just imagine if something you could do nothing about meant you could go to prison, or face attack or even death.
“In no fewer than 78 countries around the world homosexual acts are still illegal. In five of them the maximum penalty is death.
“Until equality is something respected everywhere and there is universal acceptance of human rights for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity I will continue to speak my mind. I have the freedom to do so and nobody can take it away from me. Every other gay person in the world deserves the same,” the performer said.
Torchwood actor John Barrowman will on Wednesday also unveil a video asking people to imagine “What if it were illegal for you to be you?” The video shows people being persecuted and attacked for things they can do nothing about – having blue eyes or being short.
Barrowman said: “It brings home to people how they would feel if some crazy law made it illegal for them simply to be themselves.
“What if it was illegal for me to want to sing? Or to have an American accent? As it happens, I’m gay. When the Kaleidoscope Trust pointed out to me that it’s illegal to be gay in so many countries around the world I was staggered by the figures. People – whether gay or straight – need to wake up to the scale of the injustice that is going on out there.
“We are all human beings and we all deserve the same rights. And that includes the right to love whoever we choose to love,” Barrowman added.