Commonwealth Games 2014: Speak out against homophobia, Mr Salmond

The sad reality is that homophobic states are more likely to jail LGBTI athletes than allow them to participate in Glasgow


Dear Alex Salmond,

We are immensely proud, honoured and grateful to your government for its commitment to equal human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people - most recently its support for same-sex marriage.

Now we ask you to continue and extend your support. 

I appeal to you to speak out - during the Commonwealth Games - in defence of the human rights of LGBTI people who suffer grave persecution in 42 out of 53 Commonwealth member states - and, given this persecution, to offer a specific, warm Scottish welcome to LGBTI athletes arriving in Glasgow. 

Article 7 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth Games Federation states: “There shall be no discrimination against any country or person on any grounds whatsoever, including race, colour, gender, religion or politics.”

Despite this ban on any and all discrimination, which is also enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter, 80 per cent of Commonwealth countries discriminate against LGBTI people.

These nations have laws that criminalise homosexuality, even between consenting adults in private. Seven of these nations stipulate a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. In parts of two Commonwealth countries - Nigeria and Pakistan -  LGBTI people can face execution under Sharia law.


Prejudice, discrimination, hate crime and legal victimisation against LBGTI people is widespread and draconian in 4 out of 5 Commonwealth countries. This homophobic hatred is so great that it is likely to prevent LGBTI athletes securing access to top class sports facilities and training camps. It is also likely to inhibit their equal, open and fair selection for the Commonwealth Games. This needs to be challenged.

The sad reality is that homophobic Commonwealth states such as Cameroon, Uganda, Brunei and Nigeria are more likely to jail LGBTI athletes than allow them to participate at the Glasgow games. 

Already, we've heard that a world class Indian 100 metre sprinter, Dutee Chand, has been barred by her country's Commonwealth Games selectors because she is intersex.

While all participating countries agree to accept the Commonwealth Games constitution, which includes Article 7, this is a mere formality. They have never been specifically asked to agree to non-discrimination. Most play lip-service to this fundamental principle: that discrimination has no place in sport. 

Although the Glasgow 2014 organisers cannot be held responsible for the anti-gay laws in of 4 out of 5 Commonwealth member states, it does have a responsibility to ensure that there is no discrimination by participating nations in the selection of their national teams.

It is not unreasonable to say that countries that refuse to support Article 7 - or that perpetuate discrimination in access to sports facilities, training camps or team selection - should be barred from participating in the Commonwealth Games.

If they are not prepared to abide by the rules of Article 7 they have no right to come to Glasgow or future Commonwealth Games.

A commitment to non-discrimination needs to come from the top and be publicly visible at both national and international levels. That is why I am appealing to Mr Salmond as First Minister of the host nation. Your support can set an equality bench mark, to the credit of yourself and Scotland. 

A public statement by you would not only reinforce Scotland’s commitment to uphold universal human rights and Commonwealth values; it would also represent a specific and notable step forward in the defence of the human rights of LGBTI athletes and citizens across the Commonwealth. 

Yours sincerely,

Peter Tatchell
Peter Tatchell Foundation

The intensity of the adulation for Blair ought to concern Labour’s ‘new’ man
Text-driving has become as unacceptable as drink-driving
Don't censor the victims of Gaza and MH17

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Supply Teachers needed in Bolton!

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

English Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIREDWe are ...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Science Teacher

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently recr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger  

Will Cuddlr do for hugging what Tinder and Grindr did for sex?

Jessica Brown Jessica Brown
Retail store Joy has sparked a social media backlash with its response to a customer who said one of its cards is offensive to people with bipolar  

Hey Joy, mocking people with bipolar isn't funny — it's offensive

Ellabell Risbridger
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments