Come Out & Play 2011 – the UK’s first international summit for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people – starts in Cardiff this Wednesday.
CEO of the social enterprise Federico Podeschi said: “The LGBT human rights summit is an opportunity for policy makers, politicians, business people and organisations across all sectors to connect with experts in the UK and from around the world in order to develop a deeper understanding of, and achieve greater equality for the human rights of people belonging to gender and sexual minorities.”
The summit has received the support of policy makers and celebrities from around the UK who are standing together to call for an end to the inequalities and discrimination that people are facing because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Peter Tatchell, a gay activist and human rights campaigner, said: “It is great that Cardiff is hosting this important conference, bringing together campaigners from around Britain and from overseas. Congratulations to the LGBT Excellence Centre.
“Nearly all of Britain’s anti-gay laws have been repealed in the last decade. But there are still bans on same-sex marriage and on gay blood donors. These discriminations must be repealed to ensure full equal rights.”
Welsh Government Minister Jane Hutt said: “I very much welcome the tremendous opportunity that this conference offers in understanding further the issues and challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“It is heartening that this conference is taking place in Wales and that there are many international guests who will be experiencing a warm Welsh welcome. Over coming months and years we will continue to work with partners to reduce the incidence of domestic and sexual violence and reduce homophobic, transphobic, disability-related and religiously motivated bullying and hate crime.”
The LGBT Excellence Centre will broadcast on its website a live stream of the debates and workshops with professionals and activists from across the world, such as Peter Tatchell, John Horan from Cloister Chambers, and John Fisher from ARC International.
The innovative use of a built-in social network and Twitter technology will enable people from other parts of the world to interact with the conference, putting Wales at the heart of an important international development.
New York Times best-selling author and former NBA basketball player John Amaechi urged policy makers and the media to listen to the LGBT community:
“There are still people living in countries where being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is not only challenging, but is still criminalised and punished, sometimes with the death penalty,” he said.
Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Rt. Hon Theresa May MP, said: “While we celebrate the real progress towards equality in recent years, we must not be complacent and we are working hard to achieve more.
“In March, the government published Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality: Moving Forward’ where we outlined steps to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying, to encourage the reporting of hate crimes and to see how legislation can develop on equal civil marriage and partnerships, to name just a few.”
Welsh writer Sarah Waters said: “Come Out & Play 2011 promises to be a hugely impressive and exciting event. Conferences like this are a wonderful way of building on current successes and enabling further change.”