Less than a year ago, the White House was lit up in all colors of the rainbow to celebrate the historic Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the US. It was a milestone in the fight for equal rights and (legal) equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. This weekend, the world was shocked by the horrifying murder of some fifty people at a club in Orlando popular amongst LGBTs. Hivos abhors all forms of violence and sympathizes deeply with the victims and their families.
At present, we can only speculate what the perpetrator’s exact motive was, but it seems clear that hatred of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people was behind this barbaric act, which represents yet another attack on free and open societies.
These murders show once more that legal protection for LGBT people is very important, but not enough. In more and more countries, the human rights of LGBTs are recognized, but at the same time, there are many countries still adopting new discriminatory legislation.
In short, it will still take a long time before sexual diversity is socially accepted. Hivos continues to pursue that goal with determination, strengthened by our humanistic values of freedom, self-determination, self-development and pluralism. We believe that people are free to choose their partner and decide on their own how they experience and give expression to their gender identity.
This is why Hivos cooperates globally with defenders of equal rights to break taboos and to fight prejudice, discrimination and stigma through dialogue. There is still a world to conquer, also in the United States, and Hivos will continue to work for an open and free society where everyone can love who they want and be who they are until the day we overcome.