This week read about activists risking their lives fighting for LGBT rights in Ghana, and Stephen Jones making a plea for equality rights in Australia.

Activists Risk Their Lives For Equality Rights

On February 28, 2014, when Ugandan LGBT activist Clare Byarugaba got up and checked on her phone, she was confronted by the same frightening message: "Have you seen the newspaper?"

Yoweri Museveni, Uganda's president, had passed into law a statute that sentenced certain sexual acts between two individuals of the same gender to life in jail and threatened anyone who offered services and support to the LGBT community with incarceration.

In response, Byarugaba's name and photo appeared on the main page of a prominent tabloid newspaper that day with the headline "Top Ugandan Gays Speak Out: How We Became Homos."

Byarugaba is part of a new generation of proud and out African LGBT activists who refuse to remain silent in nations where being gay is not only hazardous, but also lethal. According to Essence, LGBT marriage equality is gaining traction in Western countries, where it is now legal in 22 countries, including Brazil and, most recently, Mexico.



Lawmaker Delivers Heartfelt Speech Against Religious Discrimination Bill


 Stephen Jones. Photo via Facebook.

Stephen Jones, an opposition legislator, made an emotional plea for LGBT rights, citing his own anxieties as a father and a family tragedy. It attracted praise on social media and came just as the Australian government dropped the religious discrimination law he was protesting. Proponents of the law contended that it would empower religious institutions to discriminate against LGBT pupils.

The Labor Party MP stated in Parliament on Tuesday that the measure may cause emotional harm to LGBT youth, citing his son, Paddy Quilter-Jones, and nephew, Ollie.

He highlighted Ollie's battle with his gender identification.

“He was just 15 when he took his own life. He was a beautiful, creative, courageous young man ... His mum and dad are in anguish. We all are. He was gay. He was uncertain about his gender and struggled with his mental health,” Jones said, according to NBC News.


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