100+ in painted-face protest of 76 lands’ anti-LGBT laws

Brighton protest.
An estimated 100 to 140 people took part in protest against anti-LGBT laws. (Photo courtesy of GScene.org)
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Protester in Brighton, England, displays the name of Turkmenistan painted on his forehead, as protest organizer Vince Laws cheers him on. Gay sex in Turkmenistan is punishable by two years in prison. (Photo courtesy of Emma Thomas via Vince Laws)
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A sign for “76crimes.com” is featured in this photo of the protesters, because the Erasing 76 Crimes blog’s list of countries with anti-LGBT laws was the source of the country names painted on protesters’ faces. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Faulkner via Vince Laws)
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Protest organizer Vince Laws addresses the group. (Courtesy of Lez Ingham via Vince Laws)

As many as 140 people took a stand in Brighton, England, on Feb. 1 against the laws of 76-plus countries where same-sex love is a crime.

The protest was organized by poet-artist Vince Laws as part of the B.Right.On Festival at the start of LGBT History Month.

In the protest,  100 people or more had their faces painted with the names of the 76+ countries with laws against homosexual activity.

The list of those countries came from the Erasing 76 Crimes blog, and a sign reading “76crimes.com” is visible in a group photo of the protest.

In his announcement of the protest, Laws stated:

Friends, LGBT people around the world, I salute you.

Friends in the 76 countries where homosexuality is illegal – I will speak out for you.

Friends in the other 6 dubious countries – on the 76crimes.com website, you are not forgotten.

On Friday 1 February 2013 at 8pm I will paint the names of those 76 shameful countries, in blood, on the faces of 76 volunteer activists, in the Jubilee Library in Brighton, England, United Kingdom.

Why? Because we can. Because you cannot.

Much Love.


Vince Laws reading a poem, with his face painted. (Photo courtesy of Gscene.org)
With his face painted, Vince Laws reads one of his poems.  (Photo courtesy of Gscene.org)

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]


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