Where it’s Illegal to Be Gay or Lesbian?

There are several countries in the world where being gay or lesbian is illegal. Depending on the country, the punishment can range from two years in jail to a life sentence. In the Caribbean, countries like Barbados and Guyana have laws that punish homosexuality with the death penalty. The death penalty is applicable in six U.N. member states, and sources indicate that five other states may also punish homosexuality with the death penalty.

In countries where it’s still illegal to be gay, the views of the population are largely negative. In countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Israel, majorities of women say they believe homosexuality should be acceptable while fewer than half of men say the same. But in countries like China and South Korea, attitudes are more favorable and more than half of women say they believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.

Despite some positive developments in the region, homosexuality remains illegal in most of South and Central Asia. But in recent years, several countries have moved towards a more accepting culture. In the past two years, India lifted a colonial-era ban on gay sex, while Bhutan aims to decriminalise it by 2020. In addition to the above-mentioned countries, several other African countries have decriminalised same-sex unions. In Angola, for example, the president signed a revised penal code that enables same-sex marriage and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Many states have introduced laws that restrict classroom discussion of topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity. For instance, Louisiana lawmakers have introduced HB 837, which would limit or ban discussion of these topics in some grades. Similar measures are also pending in Indiana, Kentucky, and South Carolina. Other states have passed laws that ban “gender or sexual diversity training” in public schools. Ohio has also introduced legislation with similar language. Though these bills are not yet in effect, they represent the latest attempts by state lawmakers to curb discussion in the classroom.

A similar bill was recently passed in Alabama, and Texas’ governor has said he’ll consider a similar bill in the next legislative session. While the bills’ details vary from state to state, the aim is the same: to limit discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools. These measures are an overt form of structural transphobia and go against public health evidence.

Cameroon’s “Kill the Gays” bill

In Cameroon, a law that bans homosexuality has been upheld by a court. The law was passed in 1972, after a presidential ordinance was signed by then president Amadou Ahijo and inserted into the penal code. The law penalizes same-sex sexual relations and carries penalties of six months to five years in prison and a fine of up to 20,000 CFA. This is a time for African progressives to speak out against anti-gay legislation, not cling to their conservative position. These laws are the logical extension of the racist mindset that spawned the white supremacist movement, which promoted apartheid in Africa and destabilized the continent during the Cold War. Throughout history, fundamentalists like Pat Robertson have opposed civil rights for Black people and advocated American exceptionalism and imperialism. They have even claimed that the Haiti earthquake was a result of the Haitian revolution.

India’s colonial-era law

Several former British colonies in Asia still impose laws making it illegal to be gay, including India. The laws, which are often direct descendants of British laws from the 19th century, have been around for a long time. Despite this, India recently legalised homosexual sex, sending a clear message to other former British colonies. The law was passed in the Victorian era and has hung on even after the end of British colonialism. The discriminatory nature of this law has prompted a number of countries to pressure India to repeal it. British actor Sir Ian McKellen told the Mumbai Mirror: “India needs to wake up.”

Singapore’s repeal of same-sex law

The repeal of the same-sex law in Singapore is welcome news for gays and lesbians in the country. In the 1980s, it was illegal to have consensual sex with another man in Singapore, and it was punishable by imprisonment. Often, undercover police officers would chat up unsuspecting gay men, wait for sex to be suggested, and then arrest them. It took years of activism to end the discrimination against homosexuals in Singapore. Public opinion was canvassed by religious groups, and the L.G.B.T.Q. community. Despite this, not everyone celebrated the repeal. Singapore’s repeal of 377A marks a significant step forward, but more work must be done to remove discrimination and open the doors for equal rights for LGBT citizens in Singapore.

Myanmar’s prison for homosexuals

As a colonial holdover, Myanmar’s penal code criminalizes homosexual acts with penalties ranging from ten years in prison to life in prison. As a result, LGBTIQ people in Myanmar are routinely subjected to abuse and violence for expressing their sexuality. This includes abuse from police, family members and community members. Despite their prevalence, human rights violations against LGBTIQ people in Myanmar are rarely taken seriously. LGBT rights activists and NGOs are concerned that the country’s police are failing to protect LGBT people. While Yangon police deny allegations of abuse and say they act within the law, campaigners say justice rarely is pursued in Myanmar.

Kansas’ anti-LGBT propaganda law

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the state of Kansas’ anti-LGBT propaganda law. The ruling, in Lawrence v. Texas, was a flagrant violation of the U.S. Constitution. But former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback didn’t recommend that the law be repealed. Homophobia prevented Brownback from doing so. However, the state’s legislature has multiple open LGBTQ members. The new Kansas anti-LGBT propaganda law was introduced by Republicans. The measure would make it a Class B misdemeanor to use materials in classrooms that depict “homosexuality.” It would also require teachers to give parents a written notice of the content and purpose of such instruction. The bill is similar to one recently introduced in Tennessee by Republicans.

Related Articles

Back to top button