025_Global12_InSight_GayRights_V4

Global issue 12

Global InsightLGBT Rights do not identify themselves as either male or female; Nepal has Looking back with Pride opened South Asia’s fi rst LGBT community centre; MPs are con- sidering the legalisation of same-sex marriage; and the openly gay leader of the BDS, Sunil Pant, was elected to the Constituent As- 1926 The New York Times 1946 COC Nederland is sembly in 2008 and now hosts one of Nepal’s most popular TV talk uses the word ‘homosexuality’, founded in Holland, its name, shows. Progress indeed. the fi rst major publication in the which translates as ‘Centre for However, in large parts of the world, homophobic and transpho- world to do so. a group for lesbian, gay, bi-Culture and Leisure’, is a cover; bic oppression remains rife. It is estimated that the global LGBT 1940 sexual and transgender (LGBT) population is somewhere between 250 million and 500 million men and women, it goes on people (5–10 percent of the world population aged over 16). Most to become the oldest LGBT of these people – hundreds of millions of them – are forced to hide organisation the world. their sexuality, fearing ostracism, harassment, discrimination, im- prisonment, torture and even murder. Some of this violence is perpetrated by vigilantes, including right-wing death squads in certain regions of countries like Mexico and Brazil. They justify the killing of queers as ‘social cleansing’. 1960 Other homophobic persecution is offi cially encouraged and en- 1961 In the UK, The Victim, a forced by governments, police, courts, media and religious lead- fi lm starring Dirk Bogarde, de- ers. MPs in Latvia, Ukraine, Lithuania, some Moldovan cities and picts gay men in a sympathetic several Russian regions have proposed or passed laws banning so- light. Six years later, the Sexual called homosexual propaganda and promotion. Offences Act comes into forcedecriminalising ‘homosexual In Russia, religious leaders have united to denounce the LGBT acts’ between two men over the community. The Orthodox Church has called homosexuality a “sin age of 21 and ‘in private’. 1969 Police raid the Stonewall which destroys human beings and condemns them to a spiritual Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich death”. The Supreme Mufti of Russia’s Muslims, Talgat Tajuddin, 1977 Harvey Milk becomes the which sparks clashes betweenVillage, New York. The incident – says gay campaigners “should be bashed… Sexual minorities have fi rst openly gay politician to be police and gay activists – is no rights, because they have crossed the line. Alternative sexuality elected to public offi ce in Califor- believed to be the catalyst for the is a crime against God.” Russia’s Chief Rabbi, Berel Lazar, has nia, USA. A few months later, he gay rights movement in the USA condemned Gay Pride parades as “a blow for morality”, adding Dan White. Milk’s campaigning and beyond.is assassinated by fellow worker that there is no right to “sexual perversions”. Successive Moscow for gay rights leads to his iconic mayors have repeatedly banned Gay Pride marches. This violates status in the gay community. 1982 The term ‘AIDS’ is used Russia’s constitution and law, which guarantee freedom of expres- 1980 for the fi rst time. The USA reports sion and the right to peaceful protest. LGBT people who have at- cases every day. Three yearsan average of one to two new tempted to march have been beaten and arrested. later, in 1985, actor Rock Hudson Meanwhile, the total criminalisation of homosexuality contin- becomes the fi rst major public ues in nearly 80 countries – including most of Africa, Asia, the fi gure to die of the disease. Caribbean and the Middle East – with penalties ranging from a one-year jail sentence to life imprisonment. Half of these countries are former British colonies and current members of the Common- wealth – an association of nations that is supposedly committed to 1993 The US government‘s uphold democracy and human rights. The anti-gay laws in these ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, pro- Commonwealth nations were originally legislated by the British hibiting homosexuals from joining government in the 19th century during the period of colonial rule. the military and serving personnel They were never repealed when these nations won their independ- from disclosing their sexual orien- tation, is introduced. Its repeal in ence from Britain. 2011 allows openly gay people to 2001 In the UK, the age of con- As well as homophobic laws, British imperialism imposed homo- join the armed services. sent – 18 for gay men since 1994 phobic prejudice by means of the fi re-and-brimstone Christian 2000 – is lowered to 16 regardless of fundamentalist missionaries who sought to ‘civilise’ the so-called 2003 The fi rst Gay Pride march gender or sexual orientation. And ‘heathen’ peoples of the colonies. They instilled in these countries to be held in a Muslim country in the Netherlands, same-sex an intolerance of homosexuality that continues to this day. As a about 50 men and women attend. day, four same-sex couples aretakes place in Istanbul, Turkey;marriage is legalised; on the same result, in part at least, homophobia is rampant in much of Africa. In July 2012, Istanbul Pride at- married in Amsterdam. In the last year, more than 20 men have been arrested in Cam- tracts over 10,000 people. eroon on suspicion of homosexuality, often without any clear evi- 2009 Iceland elects Jóhanna dence that they had same-sex relations. Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé Sigurðardóttir as its prime min- ister, the fi rst openly gay head of has spent a year in prison for sending an SMS text message to an- government. other man: “I’m very much in love w/u.” He is facing another two years behind bars in a fi lthy, insanitary prison where he suffers dai- ly abuse from guards and inmates. In Nigeria, in 2005, six teenage lesbians, one only 12 years old, were ordered to be punished with 2012 Barack Obama becomes an agonising 90 lashes for consensual same-sex relations. More the fi rst US president to publicly voice his support for same-sex recently, a Nigerian gay pastor from the House of Rainbow church marriage. and another Christian gay activist were forced to fl ee the country  globalfourth quarter 2012 www.global-briefing.org l25


Global issue 12
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