The global influence of a controversial Christian coalition poses a serious threat to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.
November has brought rough times for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights. First, voters in Houston, Texas rejected the city’s equal rights ordinance, which would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Then lawmakers in Russia presented a draft bill that would criminalise any public displays of affection that don’t conform to “traditional sexual relations”. Russia had already banned the promotion of homosexuality in 2013, but apparently this didn’t sufficiently suppress the LGBTQ community.
In both cases, support for the reactionary initiatives was driven, in part, by activists deep in the US heartland. The World Congress of Families (WCF), based in Rockford, Illinois, is an international network of socially conservative activists and NGOs that has been active since 1997. Its organisational partners, which span six continents, work in areas ranging from grassroots counselling to direct lobbying of parliamentarians.
By Gillian Kane and Cole Parke