Protest To Mark 100th Anniversary of Oscar Wildes Death
November 28, 2000
By Beth Shapiro
New York The Lavender and Green Alliance, a New York-based Irish
lesbian and gay community group will be joined by the International Gay and Lesbian Human
Rights Commission in a demonstration on Thursday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of
Oscar Wildes death.
Wilde, the Irish dramatist and social critic, was sentenced by the British government
to two years hard labor for his homosexuality in 1895. He died in exile in Paris on
November 30, 1900.
"Wilde was a gay man from a colonized country, and he was persecuted for daring to
defy social as well as sexual conventions," said Brendan Fay, co-chair of the
Lavender and Green Alliance. "His legacy lives onbut so do the unjust laws
which were used against him. 19 states in the US still have so-called sodomy
laws. Indeed, it was only in 1993, after a long legal struggle, that Ireland,
Wildes mother country, repealed its own law against homosexuality."
According to Scott Long, IGLHRCs Director of Programs and Research, "The
same laws under which Oscar Wilde was convicted were exported by British colonialism to
all the countries where it raised the flag. Today, dozens of countries from Jamaica to
India to Zambia still carry a version of this colonial legislation in their law books. And
millions of people have their rights denied as a result."
Long stated that "Violence and police brutality are a fact of life for gays,
lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people worldwide."
The protest will be held in front of the Argentine Consulate where protestors will mark
the death of Vanesa Ledesma, an Argentinian transgender activist, who was tortured and
murdered while in police custody in the city of Cordoba in February, 2000. The policemen
allegedly responsible for her death were recently acquitted in what observers describe as
a biased judicial proceeding.
"Wilde, who was tortured in prison, would stand in solidarity with all those who
face abuse because of their gender identity or sexual orientation," said Fay.
"It is appropriate that we celebrate the centenary of this fighter for human freedom
by remembering those around the world who still find their freedom denied, or their lives
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