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30 JUNE 2021

As Pride month comes to an end, it is a time to reflect on the month's activities, how far we have come but also how far we still have left to go. This month we have celebrated prominent LGBTQ activists around the world, had a Livestream event with LGBTQ service users on sexual health and showcased some of the great work being done to protect and promote the rights of the LGBTQ community globally.

It has been over 50 years since Black, LatinX, trans and sex workers started the liberation movement for LGBTQ rights. Huge progress has been made towards equality since the Stonewall Uprising, but there is so much more work that still needs to be done in the fight for LGBTQ rights. We have not all arrived.

The pandemic has laid bare the existing levels of inequality for marginalised communities globally. Shining a light on the inequality being experienced by many, whether it’s the LGBTQ community, the rise in Asian hate or police brutality on Black communities. The rolling back of rights for BAME LGBTQ communities under the name of Covid-19 can be seen around the world.

The outbreak of Covid-19 has hit every continent and every continent has seen a rise in Anti-LGBTQ laws and legislations. Here in the UK, we have seen the number of hate crimes rise under a government that is stalling the progression of the LGBTQ rights agenda. Around the world the story has been bleak with the introduction of gender-based curfews in Peru, Panama and Columbia affecting the ability of trans people to access services and goods, similarly, in the Philippines, there have been reports of village officials humiliating the LGBTQ community when enforcing curfews. The exclusion of same-sex marriage from the constitution and the introduction of Section 33 of the Omnibus Bill removing the right of trans and intersex people to legally change their sex in Hungary. The recent attacks on the LGBTQ community in Ghana and the passing of the Sexual Offences Act 2021 in Uganda, reinforcing existing legislation banning same-sex relationships. This is a sobering reminder of the legacy of colonialism and how when economic and social disruption comes it is those with the least that bear the heaviest burden. Recently, compounded by proposed cuts to the Foreign aid budget in the UK, which threatens LGBTQ rights further.

It has been 40 years since the first recorded cases of HIV/AIDS and yet Black and Brown and minoritised LGBTQ communities are still being ignored and overlooked in the fight against HIV. Safe spaces are disappearing from the landscape.  We must demand to know why? Anti-LGBTQ laws and legislations are a driver for HIV infections. UNAIDS has set its ambitious 2030 target of zero HIV transmissions. To ensure this goal is met the inequalities faced by BAME LGBTQ communities need to be recognised and their rights protected if we are to win the fight to end the HIV epidemic.

NAZ has been working to improve HIV outcomes for BAME communities for nearly 30 years. As part of our work, we strive to promote the rights of LGBTQ communities so that everyone may live their unapologetic truth.

NAZ believes that only when we are all free to live the lives we want, will we experience true equality.

We all must continue to challenge these laws and legislations globally, hold institutions to account to improve the lives of BAME LGBTQ communities all around the world. Living free from stigma, shame and threat of violence and to finally end the HIV crisis that started four decades ago.

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