Monday, 11 July 2011

Looking back at IDAHO 2011: interview with Louis-Georges Tin

IMG_2593Louis-Georges Tin image by yXeLLe ~@rtBrut~ via Flickr

Source: Tetu

An interview with the President of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), renowned French activist Louis-Georges Tin [Via Google Translate].

Tetu: What can we learn from IDAHO 2011, a month later, in terms of its actions?

Louis-Georges Tin: The international campaign launched around May 17 reached more than 200 million people in over 70 countries around the world. The mobilisation is increasing year by year, with the field work of activists.

In addition, the IDAHO Committee received two major advances at the institutional level: first, the Director General of Unesco, Bokova, make a statement on May 17, supporting the fight against homophobia and transphobia. This is a historic first. These are strong words, which should be followed by actions - we will be vigilant. Second major breakthrough, the IDAHO Committee received May 17, the French government asked the International Labour Organisation to take action against discrimination faced by LGBT people in the world of work, and to conduct an international investigation into the subject. It will push until the ILO accepts, but for the subject to be raised at this level is already a big step, because these surveys are important tools in the fight against discrimination.

Tetu: Can we say that the French government is mobilised against homophobia?

IDAHO in Beijing
Louis-Georges Tin: The government, on the whole, no. Moreover, the prime minister is languishing in the depths of the ranking of IDAHOmètre we published with TÊTU on May 17. Same for the Overseas Territories, Justice, Culture and Education ministries. However, on the occasion of IDAHO 2011, more than ten departments are committed to our side by taking effective measures. And in some cases, they're very important advances.

This is the case of the Quai d'Orsay ministries, the Ministry of Sports, Department of the City and the Ministry of the Interior, for example. The latter has committed to launch a national survey of homophobic and transphobic violence in France, to set up a training program for police officers, to ensure the presence of police officers in all police referrals to the filing of complaint done in better conditions, and to form a cell of cyber-police to fight against incitement to violence against LGBT people on the internet. We have started working on this. If [interior minister Claude] Guéant had the same positions on racism and immigration as he has on homophobia, he would be a very charming man ...

Tetu: As for the IDAHOmètre, you mentioned, what impact do you believe it has had and how do you pursue this initiative?

IDAHO in Kenya
Louis-Georges Tin: Yes, absolutely. I think theIDAHOomètre worked very well. At first, in the departments, some of our interlocutors were surprised and sometimes embarrassed, if not anxious, but at the same time, they often wanted to know how they were classified, and how they could do to be ranked ... We need men and women in public positions accustomed to the logic of public evaluation.

Citizenship is a requirement. It is a citizen requirement that contributes to strengthening civil society in particular and democracy in general. So, we continue the operation, and we will amplify it. On November 17, 2011, six months to the day after IDAHO, we will publish a second wave of IDAHOmètre, to tell the public (and voters) the degree of progress of projects initiated by individual departments, to avoid that the promises made in the spring are already dead and wilted when the autumn comes. Moreover, to May 17, 2012, we intend to launch a IDAHOmètre for local authorities, as if we assess the government must also sift through the local, regions, departments, and key cities.

Tetu: The fact that the Assembly has rejected marriage for homosexuals is that for you about homophobia?

Louis-Georges Tin: Yes, absolutely. We should argue against those who say, as Nicolas Sarkozy does: "I'm not homophobic, but I am against the opening of marriage to same-sex couples." Restrictions on the right to marry have previously been imposed on blacks (who could not marry whites), Jews (who could not marry non-Jewish Germans), and even today many women (who cannot marry who they want). It's all racism, antisemitism, sexism, right? Today, they still forbid gays to marry freely. What is it if not homophobia? Denying equal rights for gay and straight is the very definition of homophobia!

Tetu: A resolution has been passed to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. What is your reaction?

Louis-Georges Tin: This is an important resolution, which calls the High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate the violence and discrimination against LGBT people. But beyond this report, we believe we need an effective resolution condemning all violence. It has been our goal for several years, and we urge the French government to present a resolution on this subject in December 2011.

Tetu: After two years in a row on the topic of religion, what is the topic for IDAHO 2012?

IDAHO in Kampala
Louis-Georges Tin: For 2012 and 2013, our campaigns will focus on AIDS. Because AIDS reinforces homophobia, and homophobia reinforces AIDS. And as for transphobia. It is a subject guide, as usual, nothing is imposed on anyone. But we want to work on this subject with all the goodwill, because the international situation is very worrying. For every one person starting treatment, there are two people infected. Treatments are advancing, but the epidemic is even faster ahead. You really have to sound the alarm!
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