As leaders of the Commonwealth gather in London, LGBT+ rights remain controversial

Leaders from the 53 countries of the Commonwealth of Nations – including government officials, members of civil society, and private corporations –  have gathered in London for the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, where urgent issues including LGBT+ rights, climate change, the impact of Brexit, and economic and environmental challenges specific to smaller island states will be discussed.

The agenda also addresses a potential employment crisis: an estimated 17.5 million jobs need to be created each year until 2030 to provide opportunities for the growing population joining the Commonwealth’s labor market.

Leading up to the summit, news broke that the UK officials had indefinitely postponed the publication of a guide promoting international LGBT+ rights and best practices. Many believe that this decision was due to pressure from the 37 Commonwealth nations that criminalize homosexuality.

Peter Tatchell, one of the United Kingdom’s most prominent LGBT+ rights activists, noted: “This sends a very negative signal to the more than 100 million LGBT+ people who suffer criminalization, discrimination, and violence in 70 percent of Commonwealth countries.”

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