‘I am no longer afraid’- global LGBTI+ campaigners recognised in Dublin ceremony

‘Our sexual orientation is just one aspect that defines us as human beings’

Front Line Defenders executive director Andrew Anderson said that work of transgender human rights defenders in particular should be recognised ‘in light of the targeted violence and backlash they face’.

Front Line Defenders executive director Andrew Anderson said that work of transgender human rights defenders in particular should be recognised ‘in light of the targeted violence and backlash they face’.

 

Five LGBTI+ campaigners facing “severe threats for their peaceful activism” have been awarded the 2019 Front Line Defenders Award by the Dublin-based human rights organisation.

The campaigners hail from Tunisia, the Dominican Republic, Russia, Indonesia and Malawi. They were presented with the honours by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone at an awards ceremony held on Friday by Front Line Defenders in Dublin.

The organisation this year decided to focus on LGBTI+ activisim in honour of the 50th anniversary of the “Stonewall uprising”, a series of disturbances stemming from a police raid in a gay club in New York City, which is widely seen as spurring on the modern movement for civil rights for LGBTI+ people.

Front Line Defenders executive director Andrew Anderson said that work of transgender human rights defenders in particular should be recognised “in light of the targeted violence and backlash they face”.

“The work of queer-identifying activists and collectives continues to shape and reshape how we understand personal, political and contested struggles for freedom. There is no human rights fight that has not been strengthened by the intersectional analyses brought to the front lines by queer defenders,” he said.

The awards are presented to five regional laureates, with one winner also receiving a global award. The winner of the global award this year is Badr Baabou from the DAMJ organisation in Tunisia, which works for equality and justice in the country. He is also involved with M-Coalition, a regional network focused on the rights of Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), and HIV-relate rights in the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) region.

In a statement, Mr Baabou said: “I am no longer afraid. Our sexual orientation is just one aspect that defines us as human beings. Sooner or later, homophobia will become obsolete as a social issue.”

Awards were also given to Rosanna Marzán, executive director of Diversidad Dominicana in the Dominican Republic, Veronika Lapina of the Russian LGBT Network, Shinta Ratri of Pondok Pesantren Waria al-Fatah in Indonesia and the Nyasa Rainbow Alliance in Malawi.