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Lord Michael Cashman.
Labour leader Ed Miliband says Lord Michael Cashman will serve as the party’s LGBT rights envoy – at a time when LGBT rights “are going backwards” abroad.
Mr Miliband made the announcement this afternoon in his speech to the Labour Party Conference in Manchester.
“We’ve made extraordinary progress on lesbian and gay rights over the last 20 years. When I think about the transformations, growing up into adulthood? It’s the biggest transformation,” Mr Miliband said.
“We’ve made such progress on equality. But we have to face the fact that internationally things, if anything, are going backwards.
“We can’t just let that happen. We can’t just say that’s okay. The next Labour government will fight to make sure that we fight for our values and human rights all around the world.”
The Labour leader said Lord Cashman would stand up for LGBT rights abroad.
“So today I can announce that I am appointing Michael Cashmann, Lord Cashmann, as our envoy on LGBT rights all around the world.”
It would mean that the gay peer would become a diplomat to the UK Government – if Labour wins next year’s general election.
In August, he was elevated to the House of Lords.
At the time, Lord Cashman told PinkNews.co.uk: “It’s a huge and humbling honour, and if anything it just brings me closer to my roots, closer to where I began. I just wish my old Mum and Dad were alive to witness it.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair personally congratulated Lord Cashman for his long service to politics and LGBT rights at a central London reception earlier this summer.
The peer is a highly-regarded figure in the Labour Party.
A video tribute from all four surviving Labour leaders, Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Neil Kinnock, was played out in front of the former MEP who was visibly moved by the testimony.
Lord Cashman co-founded gay rights charity Stonewall in 1989.
Before going into politics Michael Cashman had long been a household name.
As a child actor he was cast in the role of Oliver Twist in the original run of Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver!
However, he is possibly best known for his role as Colin Russell in the BBC’s long-running soap Eastenders.
His character is best remembered for taking part in the first ever same-sex kiss in a British soap.
Kremlin puppet issues chilling threats to gay community in occupied Crimea #Homophobia #LGBT #Crimea
Homophobia in Occupied Crimea
Occupied Crimea’s pro-Russian leader has claimed that gays ‘have no chance‘ of living a normal life on the Black Sea peninsula. Sergei Aksyonov said that Crimea ‘did not need such people’ and that police would ‘react’ within minutes to tell them the ‘sexual orientation they should stick to’. 1
- A message to Russia & other bigoted nations: If you do not want gays in your countries, you should stop procreating, The LGBT community ALL came from ‘straight’ parents! Science has shown that the more children you have the higher chance that one or two may be gay. So Mr Putin, Mr Aksyonov and all the rest of you bigots do us all a favour and stop procreating now!!! ↩
A blogger in the Khabarovsk region in Russia’s Far East says the Federal Security Service (FSB) has accused him of creating a “gay terrorist underworld” in a bid to bring about regime change, regional news website Amurburg.ru reported.
Unidentified investigators came to Andrei Marchenko’s home Thursday and “turned the apartment inside out” searching for U.S. dollars, extremist materials and drugs, Marchenko told Amurburg.ru.
“They were very aggressive, and one investigator said immediately that I’d have to go with them after the raid; he was apparently very confident that they’d find something. Judging by the two video cameras [they had with them], they were expecting to find millions of dollars, banned books and a bunch of underage boys,” Marchenko was cited as saying.
The blogger, who has expressed support on his LiveJournal blog for both gay rights and the Kiev government currently battling a pro-Russian insurgency, said he was first summoned to the FSB’s offices a week ago and accused of creating a “gay terrorist underworld” with a local LGBT activist, Alexander Yermoshkin, with the aim of fomenting an “Orange Revolution” in Khabarovsk.
The Orange Revolution was a series of massive public rallies protesting election rigging in Ukraine in 2004 that brought about new elections and a different, pro-Western president.
Investigators also told Marchenko that it was his posts on social networks in support of Kiev against the separatists that had attracted their attention, he said.
On Thursday, he posted several photos of benches painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag in Khabarovsk, with the caption: “Politically incorrect benches in a courtyard in Khabarovsk. I’m curious, is the anti-extremism department already searching for those who painted them?”
Shortly after that post, a new message appeared: “This is Andrei’s friend writing at his request. A search of his apartment was conducted this evening. They’re accusing him of extremism and of supporting Ukraine,” the message read.
During the search at his home, four computers were confiscated, along with five phones, several USB drives, hard drives and a modem, leaving him without means of communication at home, the blogger told Amurburg.ru.
Marchenko said he was told to return for questioning on Friday, and that investigators were seeking to charge him with public incitement of hatred. The charge carries a maximum punishment of four years behind bars.
There has been no confirmation from the FSB on any case against Marchenko.
Evgeniy Isaev / Flickr:
In the year that has passed since Russia adopted a law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors,” the country’s LGBT community has witnessed the erosion of its rights and freedoms, human rights activists said.
Since President Vladimir Putin approved the so-called “gay propaganda” law on June 29, 2013, only four individuals have been fined for violating it, according to Tanya Lokshina, program director and senior researcher at Human Rights Watch Russia. But, Lokshina added, the rarity of the law’s formal enforcement inadequately reflects its broader consequences for Russia’s LGBT community.
“Only a few people were fined throughout the year and this might not seem to be much of a problem,” Lokshina said. “But the fines are not what this law is about. This law is not only contrary to Russia’s international obligations but has also contributed to anti-gay violence and to creating a hostile environment for LGBT people in the country. It has contributed to stigmatizing LGBT individuals as unnatural, perverse and as acceptable targets.”
Putin has distanced himself from the issue of LGBT rights in the country. In January, he said that he was “not prejudiced in any way” and that he even had gay friends. He has also said publicly that gays face no discrimination in Russia.
Since the adoption of the country’s “gay propaganda” law, Human Rights Watch has observed an increase in violent attacks carried out against LGBT people in Russia.
U.S. advocacy group Human Rights Campaign reported that at least two men were killed because of their sexual orientation in Russia in the summer of 2013 alone and that others had been assaulted, pelted with eggs and blinded in air gun attacks in the past year. (more…)