Topic: Scott Long

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Scott Long (born June 5, 1963 in Radford, Virginia) is a prominent activist in the human rights movement working for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. He is currently Executive Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch.

Scott Long was born June 5, 1963 in Radford, Virginia. He graduated from Radford University at the age of 17, and received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1989 at the age of 25. In the same year he moved to Hungary, and taught at the Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest. He became involved with the nascent lesbian and gay movement in Hungary as it emerged during the democratic transition. He organized the first course on sexuality and gender at the Eotvos Lorand University, attended by hundreds of students. He was a founding member of Hattér, a Hungarian LGBT support and advocacy organization.

In 1992 he accepted a Fulbright professorship at the University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. There, together with a few underground Romanian activists, he became deeply involved in campaigning against Article 200 of the Romanian penal code, a law dating from the Ceauşescu dictatorship that criminalized consensual homosexual acts with five years' imprisonment. Working independently from any institution, Long visited dozens of Romanian prisons over the following years, interviewing prisoners, linking them to legal assistance, and documenting torture and arbitrary arrest of lesbians as well as gay men. He identified some of the first lesbians and gay men taken up as prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International. His documentation was crucial in persuading the Council of Europe to strengthen its stand on lesbian and gay issues, and to demand that Romania repeal its sodomy law. He was a founding member of the Romanian gay and lesbian organization ACCEPT. His work spearheaded a European campaign and contributed strongly to Romania's eventual repeal of Article 200 in 2001.

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