Coming Out
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Four Nobel Peace laureates declare solidarity with queers

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – "The criminalization of adult, consensual homosexuality in any form is unacceptable," a statement by four Nobel Peace laureates says.

Released June 21 by the Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, the statement is signed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu (South Africa), Dr Shirin Ebadi (Iran), Professor Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh) and Professor Jody Williams (USA), who expressed "grave concern" about the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people across the globe. 

They note the legacy of colonial-era laws that "still make outlaws of LGBTI people," as well as current attempts to crack down on queers in places like Russia and Uganda.

"Collectively we represent a diverse array of countries and cultures," they say in the statement. "Today more than ever, we wish to express that the same cultural values, which have fostered and supported our lifelong quests for peace, also command us to speak out against the violence and discrimination our fellow human beings are enduring every day solely because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex."

"By expressing our solidarity with LGBTI people around the world, we recognize the inherent dignity and human rights of all individuals, without prejudice or intolerance, and we take an important step forward in our collective journey toward peace," the statement concludes. 

RFK Center president Kerry Kennedy says the Nobel winners' concern is a response to those who misappropriate cultural values to justify an attack on human rights.  

Ugandan gay rights activist Frank Mugisha says it's clear the Ugandan government and Christian leaders are escalating their campaign of intimidation and harassment against the country's queers. 

The European Parliament also recently delivered its own condemnation of the violence and discrimination that queers confront, in the face of the proliferating moves to pass anti-gay legislation in the European region. 

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