Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights

Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights is an international research and documentary project, working to advance social justice and equality for LGBT people.

A scene from 'No Easy Walk to Freedom'

A scene from ‘No Easy Walk to Freedom’

With the ongoing decriminalisation of LGBT people and the legalisation of gay marriage in Europe and America, it is easy to become complacent in thinking that LGBT people do not face the same struggles they used to.

However, countless countries still terrorise, torture and imprison LGBT individuals, and although many countries in Europe are working in the right direction, with the most recent legalisation of gay marriage in Ireland in 2015, we are in reality far from achieving global LGBT human rights.

In Russia, even tourists who are thought to be gay or “pro-gay” face criminalisation, and in Africa, further anti-gay laws are leading to an increase in violence and hate crime against the homosexual population. The laws surrounding these practices are often contradictory and ambiguous.

Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights is an international research and documentary project, which aims to breakdown the discrimation towards LGBT and educate people towards LGBT culture in countries where these individuals face a raft of anti-homosexual legislation. The project aims to use real-life documentary footage to document LGBTIQ histories and advance societal change.

For example, founder, project leader, and filmmaker Nancy Nicol’s ‘No Easy Walk to Freedom’ (2014) documents the story of contemporary India’s struggle for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, particularly in relation to section 337 of the Indian penal code. This section criminalises “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”. Contrary to modern belief, it was British colonisers who introduced the law in 1861. However, many Indian defenders argued that homosexuality is a Western value, and its decriminalisation is inconsistent with Indian culture.

Another of Nicol’s films for the Envisioning project, ‘And Still We Rise’ (2015) documents the struggle led bySexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and follows the conflict over the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda in 2009. The bill attacks the freedom of expression and forbids the “promotion of homosexuality”, for example publishing information or providing funds for activities, the conviction for which would result in 7 years in prison. David Kato of Sexual Minorities Uganda accused the bill of being a setback to democratic progress in Uganda.

Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights’ documentary films accurately capture and represent the ongoing struggle to remove anti-homosexual and old-fashioned colonial laws worldwide, and reminds us how drastically perceptions can change over 150 years. Could it be possible that 150 years’ from now we may live in a world free of hate crime? Maybe. But what is clear is that education and acceptance are the way to get there.


This was also published on the Manchester Metropolitan University website.

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