Introducing the SHAG Consortium: #IDAHoBiT2019

On the advent of the International Day Against Homophobia, BiPhobia, and Transphobia (IDAHoBiT), MPact is proud to announce the launch of a new global consortium entitled SHAG: Sustainable Health Advocacy for Gay men.

SHAG has been formed in collaboration with Africagay Contre le Sida (AGCS) in Western and Central Africa, the Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM) in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, SOMOSGAY in Latin America, and M-Coalition in Middle East and North Africa – with the support of the Robert Carr Fund (RCF).

SHAG is devoted to creating a more supportive legal and policy environment for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. The SHAG Consortium will focus on catalyzing movements to decriminalize same-sex relations and supporting rights-based programming tailored to the specific needs of gay men and other men who have sex with men.

May 17 memorializes the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. #IDAHoBiT was created in 2004 to recognize this major landmark and important pre-cursor step to full decriminalization of people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and sex characteristics.

MPact and SHAG have recently submitted inputs to the International Commission of Jurists (IJS) outlining the detrimental impact of criminalization on health, equality and human rights for gay men and other men who have sex with men. Currently 70 countries and territories around the world criminalize some aspect of same-sex relations. The ICJ is endeavoring to develop principles that will guide countries to revise and repeal laws that criminalize select conduct in the areas of sexuality, reproduction, drug use, and HIV.

MPact and SHAG’s submission includes six primary actions to be taken within the realm of criminal law to move substantively towards a world in which gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men and all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people are able to fully enjoy all of their human rights. The topline recommendations are:

  1. Enact an immediate moratorium on the utilization of criminal law to harass, prosecute, and punish consensual same-sex relations.
  2. Full decriminalization of all consensual same-sex sexual conduct.
  3. Repeal of propaganda and morality laws, which limit the public discourse around, and freedoms of assembly and of association for, gay men and other LGBTI people.
  4. Ensure LGBTI organizations are able to legally register.
  5. Repeal criminal laws that are used to prosecute or penalize HIV non-disclosure, exposure, and transmission.
  6. Ensure consistency across legal and public health approaches to the prevention, treatment, and management of HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and access to services. This includes ensuring that law enforcement does not use public health tools, such as condoms, or association with gay community health service providers, as basis for harassment or arrest.

Read the Full Submission Here

SHAG will soon launch the fourth iteration of the Global Men’s Health and Rights (GMHR) Survey later this spring. Available in nine languages, the GMHR will collect data regarding gay and bisexual men’s experiences with stigma and discrimination and its impact on sexual health.

As we commemorate the WHO’s historic recognition of humanity for people with same-sex attraction on May 17, 1990, we recognize the numerous other barriers and insidious impacts of homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia facing our communities worldwide today. MPact and SHAG will continue to work toward a world where the dignity and humanity of all are protected.

Any questions can be addressed to Johnny Tohme | Community Mobilization Manager at MPact