LGBTQ+ Activists

LGBTQ+ activists can be targeted with prosecution for peaceful protests and expressions of solidarity. Below are some of the trials TrialWatch is monitoring of LGBTQ+ activists around the world.

Shutdown of LGBTQ Rights Group in Uganda

Photo Credit: SMUG

In its latest effort to strip away the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, Uganda has shut down civil society group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). SMUG is a leading organization working to protect and advance the human rights of LGBTQ+ people in Uganda, where consensual same-sex relations are illegal.

The shuttering of SMUG not only leaves LGBTQ+ people more vulnerable to persecution and violence, it diminishes the support available to them when it comes to fighting discrimination. CFJ and Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute condemn the shut-down of SMUG. In Uganda, LGBTQ+ rights need more, not less protection.

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Poland's 'Rainbow Mary' Case

REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

“In that courtroom, it wasn’t just us on one side and the Bishop and conservative politicians on the other, it felt like a battle for Poland, what kind of country Poland is going to be.”

Anna Prus

Three female LGBTQ+ rights activists were charged with “offending religious feelings” for putting up posters showing the Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo. While they were acquitted, their trial was discriminatory and violated their right to freedom of expression. The prosecution has appealed the acquittal so the women still face the possibility of prison time.

Read an interview with Anna here.

Read the statement for more on their trial here.

The Perils of Being an LGBTQ+ Rights Activist in Russia

“It’s especially urgent that the public be permitted to see at least some of the trial given the indictment’s references to ‘erroneous ideas about the sexual sphere of a person,’ which suggest a risk of discrimination at trial.”

In Russia, artist and activist Yulia Tsvetkova is facing pornography charges for posting artistic images of female genitalia in what she has said is an effort to combat the objectification of women’s bodies.  While her trial has been closed to the public, the indictment in the case shows evidence of discrimination, classifying the images as pornography because they create “a stereotype of female sexuality as an isolated phenomenon that exists outside of sexual relations with men.”

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Upcoming Reporting

TrialWatch is also following other similar trials, such as the prosecution of several students in Turkey on charges of ‘provoking hatred based on religion’ after they added rainbow flags to the corners of an image of a Muslim holy site; and some of the many cases against Bart Staszewski, a well-known activist and film director in Poland known for, among other things, leading the first “Equality March” and creating a project on “LGBT-free Zones” in 2019.