The International Fight for Gay Rights

On May 17 the world--largely without the United States--commemorates the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

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"That's why we are asking religious leaders not to approve of homosexuality but to disapprove of homophobia," says Tin, referring to the campaign's current theme: "Religions, Homophobia, Transphobia." "We don't want to discuss theology, which is not our concern, but we are asking theologians to discuss human rights, which is a concern for all."

There is little chance that the Vatican will hear the message. In response to the pedophilia scandal within the Catholic Church, top cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said in April, "Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and pedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relation between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true. ... That is the problem."

If Tin expresses no surprise at the statement, referring to it as "an ordinary device of homophobic rhetoric," he sees reasons for hope. "In the whole world, people said how shocked they were. The French ministry of foreign affairs clearly criticized the Vatican for this declaration. A few years ago, who would have been shocked, apart from a few militants? Now such a declaration creates an international scandal. For homophobic people, this is bad news!"

Habibou Bangré is a writer living in France.

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