Conference “When Identity Becomes a Crime – Criminalization of Homosexuality Globally” (Rome, 11 October 2014)

In about 80 countries of the world, homosexuality is criminalized, and imprisonment or corporeal punishment are the penalties. Seven countries have even instituteted the death penalty as a sentence for homosexual “offences”. Uganda and Nigeria were forerunners of a new wave in African countries in threatening with life sentences. With Gambia and the Tchad, only in the last week two further countries have decided to follow this same path. The legal situation forces LGBT people into a life in fear and desperation, very often leaving no other option than fleeing and becoming a refugee.

The European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Christian Groups – in co-operation with Nuova Proposta, one of the most important LGBT Christian Groups from Italy,, the major Italian website dealing with faith and homosexuality, as well as Certi Diritti, an association specialized in human and civil rights – wants to bring attention to this issue at the public conference “When Identity Becomes a Crime – Criminalization of Homosexuality Globally“. The conference will take place in Rome during the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the pastoral for the family. It will specifically focus on the political role that the Christian churches have played in making the criminalization laws possible.

The panel of speakers consists of Dr. Frank Mugisha and Jules Eloundou, two human rights activists from Uganda and Cameroon, André du Plessis from the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and Francis DeBernardo from New Ways Ministry (USA).

Michael Brinkschröder, Co-President of the European Forum said: “When the bishops of the Catholic Church meet in Rome for their Extraordinary Synod on the family, they also have the extraordinary chance to show moral leadership and speak out unanimously in favor of the protection of human rights for all people – including LGBT people – and specifically against criminalization based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

When Identity Becomes a Crime – Criminalization of Homosexuality Globally

Place: Capitoline Museum, piazza del Campidoglio 1, room Pietro da’ Cortona, Rome
Time: Saturday, 11 October 2014, 4.30-6.30 pm
Language: English with simultaneous Italian translation – Free entry

The conference is sponsored by the City Council of Rome and the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.