John Barrowman Kisses Man At Commonwealth Games Opening


British actor John Barrowman made a statement last night to an estimated television audience of 1 billion people, when he kissed another man during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.


Making a statement: Barrowman's suit wasn't the only bold move of the night
Making a statement: Barrowman’s suit wasn’t his only bold move of the night

The move has been hailed as a snub to homophobia in the Commonwealth countries that still criminalise homosexuality – a total of 42 out of 53 counties represented.

The Doctor Who star, who is openly gay, kissed his “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the showcase at Glasgow’s Celtic Park.

Barrowman was blasé about the potential response from critics, retweeting both positive and negative reactions to the kiss on Twitter, adding “I am retweeting the neg because I want u all to see how bitter and Nasty and Neg some people r. I am so happy right now. Jb [sic].”

Users on Twitter praised Barrowman for the gesture, with several pointing out the political significance of the kiss.

Earlier yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called for greater protection for the rights of LGBT people around the world whilst visiting newly opened Pride House, which is set up to promote diversity at the games. He greeted athletes, campaigners and volunteers.

Clegg said “The Commonwealth core values and principles which all countries sign up are clear. We are committed to equality and respect for the protection of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights – yet almost 80 per cent of Commonwealth countries that are represented here in Glasgow this week criminalise homosexuality in some way”.

Singers Susan Boyle and Rod Stewart also featured at the ceremony, as well as Olympian Sir Chris Hoy and actor James McEvoy.

The PM added, “I hope that through places like Pride House we can gently but firmly, respectfully but consistently urge fellow Commonwealth countries to not only pay lip service to the values of the Commonwealth but also honour those values that include respecting everyone in society, regardless of faith, background and sexuality”.

On Tuesday, House of Commons speaker John Bercow, called for an end to the “shameful” criminalisation of homosexuality in four out of five Commonwealth countries ahead of the games. Bercow, who attended the ceremony last night, said it was a “fantastic sporting occasion”, but suggested the event had been overshadowed by the current stance on LGBT rights.

Equal rights campaigner Peter Tatchell also spoke out, urging for all participating countries to adhere to Article 7 of the Commonwealth Games Federation constitution, which prohibits discrimination, saying “If they are not prepared to abide by Article 7 they have no right to come to Glasgow or future Commonwealth Games”.

Tatchell highlighted the extremity of the situation, “The intensity of homophobia in these countries is so great that it is very unlikely that they would select an LGBTI athlete to compete in Glasgow. I can’t imagine homophobic states like Uganda, Brunei or Nigeria selecting an LGBTI athlete. They are more likely to jail them then send them to Glasgow”.

Watch a clip from the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony below.

© 2014 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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