David Kato Vision & Voice Award
David Kato - human rights activist, friend, and colleague - was murdered in his home in Kampala, Uganda on 26 January 2011.
In recognition of his life and courage, and the continued struggle of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals around the world, partners committed to eliminating violence, stigma and discrimination have established the David Kato Vision & Voice Award.
Inspired by his work, the award recognizes the leadership of individuals who strive to uphold the numerous dimensions of sexual rights for LGBTI people. Sexual rights are an evolving set of entitlements related to sexuality that contribute to the freedom, equality and dignity of all people, and are an important aspect of human rights. The realization of these rights is also an integral element to a meaningful HIV response among these marginalized groups.
Why is this important?
The freedom to enjoy and express our sexuality is an integral facet of life, happiness and well-being. Yet, over 70 countries continue to criminalize same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults, adding a complex dimension to realizing the sexual rights of individuals.
Decriminalization is only the first step towards equality. Even in countries where same-sex consensual acts are not illegal, LGBTI people continue to face stigma, discrimination and violence. Securing equal rights and protections for all LGBTI people also includes the freedom of expression on LGBTI issues, equal age of consent for same-sex consensual acts, prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, marriage and partnership rights for same-sex couples, gender recognition after gender reassignment treatment, and joint adoption rights by same-sex couples.
Around the world, there are examples of positive change that inspire hope that the realization of these rights is a possibility for all LGBTI individuals. As change may not come at a desired pace, there is a need to celebrate those individuals who dedicate their lives to advancing the rights of LGBTI people.
To find out the situation in your country, visit the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).