No Pride in Turkey (or about 45% of the rest of the world)
Stonewall’s decision to have its Pride T-shirts printed in Turkey – where the Gay Pride march is banned and marchers are met with rubber bullets and tear gas – seems odd, but no odder perhaps, than asking a bakery run by evangelical Christians to make a gay wedding cake with the message ‘support gay marriage’ neatly iced on it. (A number of interestingly inappropriate possibilities come to mind.)
But the real story is that homosexuality is still illegal in 72 out of the world’s 195 countries – that’s over a third – and actively discriminated against in a number of others, including Turkey and Russia – where, to be fair, pretty well everything except staying very quiet, is actively discriminated against.
This means, for the dweller, that if you are gay, or even if you just think it’s possible the gay community might contribute something to the intellectual, cultural and political life of a society, then roughly 40% – 45% of the world’s available destinations are not places you are likely to want to settle in.
Still, that leaves maybe 60% of the world where Stonewall could have got its Pride T-shirts printed without any hint of hypocrisy, so why did they choose Turkey?
Well, fortunately, Louise Smith, Stonewall director of fundraising was on-hand to explain:
“In Turkey, we are working directly with LGBT rights campaigners to upskill them in practical ways to push forward LGBT equality, including ways to engage positively with local police forces and the broader legal system.”
A better example of George Orwellian ‘doublespeak’ would be hard to find. The definition of ‘upskill’ is ‘teach’ but this would obviously be far too condescending a word for Stonewall. And what exactly are these ‘practical ways’ they are teaching LGBT rights campaigners? How do you ‘engage positively’ with the local police forces who are hitting you with batons? (My advice would be to run away and hide.) And how is Stonewall helping these campaigners?
Part of the answer is through ‘soft diplomacy’ and what might be described as a deliberately moderate approach – working with corporations and legal institutions rather than against them. But if that is the case, why this gobbledegook, why not not just say so and explain that they think this is the most productive approach?
Is it perhaps because part of Stonewall’s deal with Primark, who print the T-shirts in Turkey, is that 20% of the profits go to Stonewall?
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