2019 wasn’t all bad; here are some bright spots for LGBTQ rights

Year in review: The past year brought encouraging moments for those who care about the human rights of LGBTQ people — celebrities expressing their support, a successful campaign to free three gay prisoners, a successful boycott, a star cricketer who learned a lesson about tolerance, and more.

Nigerian actress Tonto Dikeh: “No one should suffer because they love differently.”

Nigeria has harsh anti-gay laws, but the largely homophobic population is slowly becoming more tolerant. Surveys by the Nigerian LGBTQ advocacy group TIERs revealed growing acceptance of LGBT+ people, including family members who are gay.

Many Nigerian celebrities condemned anti-gay violence and supported LGBTQ people. These included:

In Uganda, popular presidential challenger Bobi Wine spoke up for “guarding the rights of all citizens … those who are like you and those that are not like you.”

In Cameroon, this blog and its supporters waged a successful campaign to free three imprisoned victims of the country’s homophobic laws.

Joe Root: "There is nothing wrong with being gay." (Photo courtesy of WIkipedia)
Joe Root: “There is nothing wrong with being gay.” (Photo courtesy of WIkipedia)

Actor George Clooney, joined by Elton John and Jamie Lee Curtis, called for a boycott of the Beverly Hills Hotel and other luxurious hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. The combination of economic pressure and bad publicity led the Sultan to declare a moratorium on executions of gay men, lesbians and adulterers under Brunei’s harsh new expansion of its sharia law.

American lesbian soccer player Joanna Lohman traveled to Nigeria to train girls on how to combat sex trafficking through sports.

During an international match, star Caribbean cricketer Shannon Gabriel learned that anti-gay slurs are unacceptable. He had taunted England captain Joe Root by asking him, “Do you like boys?” To which Root replied, “Don’t use it as an insult. There is nothing wrong with being gay.” Gabriel made an apology, but was suspended for four matches.


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, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

One Comment

Leave a Reply

    Leave a Reply

    Worldwide struggle for LGBTIQ rights: Latest news from the front lines

    Report: U.S. recalls envoy who opposed prison term for gay Zambians