When the European Parliament meets in Strasbourg for one week every month, the last session which takes place on Thursday afternoon is always devoted to debates on human rights issues in different parts of the world. Although most MEPs will have already left to get their transport connections to often far flung corners of Europe, this session is usually very purposeful in illuminating the suffering of different opposition groups, vulnerable individuals or minorities at the hands of brutal political or military regimes.
On 26 June, a gay couple were violently assaulted in Shipquay Street, Derry. Just a month previously, two men were found guilty of the homophobic murder of Shaun Fitzpatrick in Dungannon in 2008. These brutal attacks must be met with a firm response from the LGBT community and by workers and young people everywhere.
Being an LGBT person means facing discrimination in the workplace, bullying at school and in many cases from family members, not being able to marry your loved one legally, and being faced with higher rates of suicide and homelessness (between 20 and 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT).
Pop sensation of the moment, Lady Gaga, has recently topped one billion views of her videos on Youtube. Her new 10-minute music video Telephone is creating quite a stir. The video has been praised as exemplifying “liberated” female sexuality and Lady Gaga herself has been held up in the media, including by feminists, as a “feminist icon and a gender revolutionary” and “a strong symbolic figure… for the openly and secretly flamboyant of all genders and sexualities.”
To the editor, The Impartial Reporter,
I’m sure I wasn’t the only reader of your paper to be disgusted by the homophobic content in the letter from Patrick Maguire in last week’s paper.
It is estimated widely that approximately one in ten people are born homosexual and that this ratio is similar pretty much around the world. As a result of widespread hostility and prejudice, many homosexual people suffer from unremitting bullying, isolation and rejection from their families and communities. The situation in Fermanagh is known to be particularly grave in this regard.