Editors' Note: Guest blogger Kate Allen is the Director of Amnesty International UK. Amnesty International will be launching a hard-hitting briefing on the problem of homophobia in Eastern Europe on May 17th.
Later this month sees the International Day Against Homophobia. It should be a day of global celebration across the world and one glance at the statute books and you could easily be fooled into thinking it is being effectively dealt with - an increasing number of countries recognise civil partnership and there are numerous UN resolutions and European Union conventions in place designed solely to protect the gay community.
But the day-to-day reality is very different. Despite the swathe of legislation, most countries fail to take the issue seriously. Homophobia is showing little sign of subsiding, both here and abroad.
Take the UK as an example: two thirds of lesbian and gay schoolchildren have experienced homophobic bullying - an astonishing 17% of which were death threats. In the US almost 65% of lesbian and gay schoolchildren felt unsafe at schools due to their sexual orientation.
The gay community in Britain are still subject to abuse on a daily basis simply for showing affection for their partners in public. It is a deeply disappointing attitude in this day and age, after all love is not a crime.
The difficulty is getting that message across - and Amnesty is among those organisations trying hard to do so.
On 17 May, the International Day Against Homophobia, we will be hosting an event at our headquarters in London. In the next few weeks we will be launching a new education resource that will tackle prejudice. And then there's Riga.
Riga is home to the annual Latvia friendship days and Amnesty International will again be sending a delegation.
Amnesty firmly believes that by raising awareness of the needs and interests of the gay community ingrained prejudice can be eroded. And in Latvia that prejudice is very much ingrained.
Last year, the Latvian newspaper Ritdiena published the following editorial:
"Readers, people of all ethnicities and all residents, we have arrived at the final barrier. Unless the people rise up in defence of the interests of their children and their future, then this nation will be a death nation. Homosexuals have crawled into responsible government jobs. Homosexuals want to amend at least 16 laws in the Republic of Latvia, defining special rights for themselves in these laws. They call this tolerance, but in truth it is the shameless attempt of the homosexual minority to oppress the normal majority of all of society."
It's an editorial that could not be more out of step with international law. But then this is also a country that has elected as chair of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee an anti-gay activist. In 2006, their parliament voted against an anti-discrimination law that would have brought the country into line with its European partners on gay rights.
Amnesty International chose to work with Latvia, but it could easily have been anywhere in Eastern Europe.
Petrol bombs were thrown at marchers taking part in last year's Pride events in Croatia and Hungary, leaving dozens injured.
In Kosovo, the parents of a leading gay rights campaigner received a letter saying that their son was going to be burnt alive for devaluing the "pure nation".
The situation is so bad in Bulgaria that the leading gay rights group there has refused to even consider the idea of holding a gay pride event. And in Russia, Pride events continue to be banned.
Amnesty International UK is calling on the UK government to lobby their Eastern European counterparts and get them to honour their human rights commitments and begin to educate their citizens against homophobia.