Speaking before the 53 leaders of the Commonwealth nations, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she “deeply regrets” its history of anti-LGBT persecution.
This is what we wanted to see in #CHOGM2018. Strong words from UK PM Theresa May @Number10gov on regret and calling out those countries who were and still are wrong. There is still SO much to do across the Commonwealth for LGBT+ equality. #QueerCommonwealth 🌈 pic.twitter.com/5JpPEOKvL5
— Pride in London (@LondonLGBTPride) April 17, 2018
The prime minister urged the Commonwealth nations to overhaul “outdated”, colonial-era legislation that treats more than 100 million lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people across the member countries as criminals.
May had already gone further than any of her predecessors when she acknowledged last year that Britain had a “special responsibility” to help change hearts and minds on anti-gay laws.
May drew cheers from some in the audience on Tuesday when she said: “Nobody should face persecution or discrimination because of who they are or who they love.”
Said longtime British activist Peter Tatchell: “This statement of regret cannot be easily dismissed and disparaged by Commonwealth heads of government. The prime minister’s regret for Britain’s imposition of anti-gay laws valuably reframes the LGBT issue in a way that it is likely to provoke less hostility in Commonwealth countries.”