The battle isn’t over in the United States, but LGBT people have been able in recent years to exult in the growing success of their campaign to legalize same-sex marriage. In influential political and business circles, anything that reeks of homophobia is pretty much verboten. Even nervous leaders like President Barack Obama have come out of their political closets and announced their support for same-sex marriage.
But as the LGBT rights movement has made progress in the United States, even basic rights — such as that to remain alive — are being eroded in Africa, the Middle East and Russia. The Sultan of Brunei plans next year to implement a Sharia law that calls for stoning to death gay people. The Russian parliament has passed laws punishing people for advocating for gay rights. And even harsher laws have been passed or are under consideration in Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Uganda.
Those international issues will be the focus of “Sexuality and Human Rights on the Global Stage,” a forum to be held Wednesday as part of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series and the city’s One City One Pride series of events.
The forum brings together a wide range of speakers. They include Guo (Joe) Ziyang, a young man who is an gay rights activist in China; Sonia Correa, an AIDS researcher and the founder of SOS-Corpo-Instituto Feminista para Democracia, a Brazilian feminist organization; Jessica Stern, who is executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Organization, the world’s leading LGBT rights advocacy group. It will be moderated by West Hollywood City Councilmember John Heilman.
The forum begins at 7 p.m. at the City Council Chamber at 625 N. Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. It will be followed by a reception at 9 p.m.