Wednesday 25 June 2014

Dear Mr Putin,

Thank you for not killing my fellow LGBT brothers, sisters and anyone in between. However, the fact that your state allows them to live and exist is not the same as being anti-gay.

Like your nation I come from a socially conservative part of the world, but here in Northern Ireland which only decriminalised homosexuality 10 years before Russia there are other protections to LGBT people which are lacking in your nation.

Firstly there are laws in place that prevent discrimination against LGBT folk in any area of live whether education, access to health service, their employment or accommodation. While I know that not everyone's experience in these areas in Northern Ireland is universally one of acceptance there is at least a fall back unto the rule of law. Indeed sexual orientation is one of the many areas that our public authorities have to promote equality of opportunity within:

75 Statutory duty on public authorities.

(1)A public authority shall in carrying out its functions relating to Northern Ireland have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity—
(a)between persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation;
(b)between men and women generally;
(c)between persons with a disability and persons without;
(d)between persons with dependants and persons without.
By doing something like this you could eradicate the "fiction" and indeed the fact that LGBT people are being discriminated against, attacked and even killed with little action, protection or reaction from your police officers.

That equality of opportunity should allow them the right to meet in peace in a place they feel safe. Such as a night club or bar that caters for them and where they are not judged by other patrons. Such places exist near your Presidential Palace or your favourite resort town of Sochi.

That equality of opportunity also should allow those who are discovering their sexual orientation should be able to seek out advise on how to deal with this. Without the threat of those offering the counsel and advise of being arrested for providing that service. You call this propaganda to minors, I call that protection, advise and safety in how to live before the possibility of ruining it through lack of education.

That equality of opportunity also means that political leaders while talking about stereotypes on one hand talk about LGBT people as "other types of unconventional sexual behaviour" or "non-traditional sexual relations". That is something that I am still working on with one or two of the larger parties here in Northern Ireland as well as individuals within other major parties across Northern Ireland, USA and elsewhere. However, if you are genuine in how you have to "think of the future and improve our legislation" then the language that you use is a good place to start, so that those LGBT people do not feel that you are anti-gay, or associate them with pedophilia or beastiality.