The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, was the result of the experience of the Second World War. With the end of that war, and the creation of the United Nations, the international community vowed never again to allow atrocities like those of that conflict happen again. World leaders decided to complement the UN Charter with a road map to guarantee the rights of every individual everywhere.
Human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.
As a global community we all share a day in common: Human Rights Day on 10 December, when we remember the creation 63 years ago of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This year Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Human Rights Day speech, delivered in Geneva on 6th December 2011 declared that LGBT rights are human rights and human rights are LGBT rights.
Now, raising this issue, I know, is sensitive for many people and that the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and religious beliefs. So I come here before you with respect, understanding, and humility. Even though progress on this front is not easy, we cannot delay acting. So in that spirit, I want to talk about the difficult and important issues we must address together to reach a global consensus that recognizes the human rights of LGBT citizens everywhere.
The full transcript of the speech can be found on the HUFFPOST Gay Voices site.
Section 28 to be (re)introduced in our schools?
In the same week the Telegraph reported on the free school model funding agreement where:
Headteachers will be told that
“children must be protected from inappropriate teaching materials and learn the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and for bringing up children”.
DIVA magazine was amongst the first of the queer media to pick up on this, highlighting the glaring similarities between these new stipulations and the former Section 28.
“The Academy Trust shall have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State on sex and relationship education to ensure that children at the Academy are protected from inappropriate teaching materials and they learn the nature of marriage and its important for family life and for bringing up children.”
In her report Iman Qureshi says “If it wasn’t so sinister, I’d perhaps be able to appreciate the laughable irony of this directive falling under Clause 28 in the Model Free School Funding Agreement”.
The concept of free schools is bad enough: removing the power of local authorities and allowing for any private organisation or group (be they religious or otherwise prejudiced) to crowbar in whatever biased education, or one lacking in cultural/religious diversity, they feel suits their agenda best. But to insist that these schools promote the institution of marriage, rather than safe responsible sex or the importance of appreciating and accepting alternative family models is absolutely disgraceful.
Not only is it shameful that the government insists on promoting the value of marriage when it isn’t even a right afforded to all its citizens – despite David Cameron’s smarmy pseudo-sincere pledges to LGB people – but it also does disservice to many other family models in the UK.
When will people understand that homosexuality is not the problem – rather it’s homophobia that blights decent people’s lives? It’s only when we stop looking at marriage as a “normal” way of life, that we can begin to wipe out many families’ and peoples’ reservations about same-sex relationships or single parents. It’s about time that we learn that the kids ARE alright. It’s the grown-ups who are all messed up.
Matthew Sephton, Chair of LGBTory, has said “It’s a total non-story” he went on to say:
“But given the fact that the Conservative-led Government is planning to introduce same sex civil marriage, it means that marriage in the context of teaching will be both hetro and homo sexual.”
He seems to miss the point that GAYS CAN NOT MARRY at this time! Even if the Tories do introduce ‘same sex civil marriage’ it is unlikely to be equal we have seen how churches and religious organisations have been exempted from much of the equality legislation that has been introduced.
Section 28 was introduced by the Tories in 1988 and denied yet another generation of a complete and inclusive education schools and teachers were confused as to what they could teach. Most played the ultra safe card and refused to discuss or include homosexuality in any lessons. Teachers found themselves powerless to deal with the increasing homophobic bullying. Young Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or questioning people could not get the support they needed. Local authorities stopped funding help lines and support groups that existed before this piece of hateful knee jerk legislation. Art galleries and museums were threatened with cuts in funding if they put on any exhibition referring to homosexuality. This law was not enforced by the police, but the media any funding of any LGBT support groups became headline news. Young LGBT people were growing up with increased fear and insecurity. Teenage suicide rates soured in this country some can be directly linked to homophobic bullying. Many others had an underlying suspicion that confused feelings about sexuality or gender contributed to the unhappiness. When a Teenager leaves a note “Mum Dad I can’t do it any more” there are few hard facts for the coroner to go on. If bullying was involved the bullies are very good at keeping quiet and covering up their actions.
For more information about Universal Declaration of Human Rights visit: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/history.shtml
Make a wish for Human Right’s Day on the official campaign website CelebrateHumanRights.org.
Also, watch the new music video mashup Celebrate Human Rights. Don’t forget to share them with your friends!