Gay Pakistani Activist Wins Top Italian Human Rights Award
22 December, 2017
The most important human rights award in Italy this year has been assigned to a gay Pakistani-origin activist. The Italian Coalition for Freedom and Rights (CILD) chose Wajahat Abbas Kazmi as the “Young activist of the year”. Kazmi is the co-founder of “Il Grande Colibrì”, the first Italian LGBT intercultural association, and responsible for the “Allah Loves Equality” campaign. He was born in Pakistan and now he lives in Italy, near to Milan. This year he went back to Pakistan with Elena De Piccoli, another member of the same association, to film a documentary that will be entitled like the campaign. The film will finally raise up the voices of gay, lesbian and transsexual people and couples in Pakistan.
Kazmi, who is also an activist with Amnesty International for several years, received the award in Rome last Friday. During the prize ceremony Kazmi has spoken about his trip in Pakistan and the activists he met there: “I think we have a lot to learn from these people: the vast majority told us that they do not want to leave their country because ‘if we leave this country, who will be here to bring change?’ We met people in Pakistan who were much more courageous in coming out than immigrants and second generation immigrants living in Europe – even though in Europe they experience less discrimination and do not risk their life at the hand of intolerant people who consider being gay to be a form of blasphemy.”
“We are very pleased with the award given to Wajahat,” said Il Grande Colibrì president Pier Cesare Notaro. “The ‘Allah Loves Equality’ campaign has been a great success from many standpoints. Many people have expressed interest, we have raised awareness in order to fight prejudice, and we’ve been able to support the making of a very important documentary film. None of this would have been possible without Wajahat’s courage and commitment, as well as that of other activists in our association. This award is an important milestone on the road to promote acceptance of LGBTQIA Muslims that started over 6 years ago in a climate of generalized skepticism and often open hostility.”