In June, dubbed the Pride Month, parades in support of the LGBT- lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, have been heightened. The events are held in recognition of the impact the LGBT community has in society and advance advocacy for their rights. Additionally, social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook have rainbow themes for its users to use to show their support towards the cause. As the LGBT community expands, debates on the rights of the minority group have intensified. There are mixed reactions concerning LGBT rights legislation, including marriage, housing, public accommodation, employment, and education across countries. While some states are scrapping anti-LGBT laws and establishing more friendly policies, some still decriminalize homosexuality or do not offer legislative protection against unfair treatment.
More countries are establishing policies in support of LGBT.However, opposition to the LGBT community remains strong in some parts of the world. Resolutions in support of LGBT rights have been issued by international organizations such as the United Nations (UN). However, such organizations have limited authority to enforce the resolutions (Albert et al.). In 2014, the UN Human Rights Council enacted laws to prohibit LGBT discrimination and two years later, the UN mandated an independent body to oversee matters related to sexual orientation and gender identity (Albert et a.). Activists on the international platform have focused on anti-discrimination and antiviolence campaigns regarding LGBT rights because the two forms of unfair treatment against the LGBT group have been persistent even though other legislations like same-sex marriage have been passed. For instance, the U.S. has legalized same-sex marriage, but federal law does not criminalize employment discrimination due to sexual orientation (Albert et al.). Essentially, in more than half of the states, employers can legally fire or deny people employment based on sexual orientation. Before the legalization of the same sex in all American states, LGBT couples were not denied benefits like social security, tax benefits, marriage certificates, and healthcare, among others.
Canada, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay were the first countries to recognize same-sex unions. In Europe, legalization of same-sex marriage has made gains in the Western region, including in Norway, Spain, Netherlands, France, Portugal, and the United Kingdom (Albert et al.). Same-sex marriage is not legal in Italy while over ten countries, including Hungary and Poland, have banned same-sex marriage. Moreover, numerous LGBT men have been reported to experience detention, torture, and even murder in Chechnya, a semiautonomous Russian republic (Albert et al.). Although the European Union (EU) upholds the rights of gay couples, the body does not impose laws on its members regarding the legalization of same-sex unions. In the Pacific Rim, only two countries, Australia and New Zealand, have legalized same-sex marriage. In Asia, the approval of same-sex relations remains low, particularly in China, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. In Brunei, for instance, same-sex relations are punishable by death (Albert et al.). Similarly, LGBT rights are majorly not supported in South and Central Asia, including Pakistan and Bangladesh. Nepal allows gay marriage, and a third gender is recognized in official documents.
The political developments across the mentioned countries, especially those in the Western hemisphere have inspired the spread of the globalization of discourse on LGBT rights to the Middle East and Africa. However, opposition in these regions is extreme. Most parts of the Middle East have enacted harsh laws against same-sex relations. In Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, for instance, the act is punishable by death (Albert et al.). Israel approves same-sex marriage performed in other states, and gay couples are allowed to use civil services like housing. Out of 54 countries in Africa, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), states that 31 have outlawed same-sex relations (BBC News). In North Africa, a survey by ILGA revealed a significant opposition of LGBT, particularly Egypt and Morocco. South Africa is the only sun-Saharan African state that has legalized same-sex marriage. The parliament legalized same-sex in 2006 (Albert et al.). Despite the legalization, however, LGBT rights, according to human rights monitors, are still undermined.
In most parts of Africa, same-sex relations are criminalized. In 2011, some developed countries projected a tendency of docking foreign aid for countries that upheld anti-gay legislation (BBC News). David Cameron, the then UK prime minister, indicated that the nation would cut the budget for anti-gay countries because they did not support the UK’s beliefs. Budget support for countries like Malawi was suspended. Despite such consequences, anti-gay attitudes in most parts of Africa have prevailed. Sudan, Mauritania, Tanzania, and some parts of Nigeria and Somalia punish same-sex relations by death. Recently, Botswana decriminalized homosexuality in a historical ruling while Kenya upheld the law that criminalizes same-sex (BBC News). Such legislative intolerances attract discrimination and violence acts against the LGBT.
The expansion of LGBT rights has been uneven globally. Attitudes towards LGBT rights, including marriage, have significantly improved in the western hemisphere while intolerance prevails in most parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. From the trends, democratic societies are most likely to establish laws in support of LGBT rights due to the belief of freedom of assembly. Countries with harsh laws are inspired by their religious beliefs that mostly perceive gay relations as a sin. However, the advocacy of LGBT rights has gained momentum, inspiring broader recognition of LGBT rights worldwide.
Albert, Eleanor, Hillard, Laura, Morgenstein, Noah, and Lee, Brianna. “Same-Sex Marriage: Global Comparison.” Council on Foreign Relations. https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/same-sex-marriage-global-comparisons. 23 June 2019
BBC News. “Botswana Decriminalizes Homosexuality in Landmark Ruling.” BBC News. 11 June 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-48594162. 23 June 2019.
BBC News. “Cameron Threat to Dock some UK Aid to Anti-Gay Nations.” BBC News. 30 Oct. 2011. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-15511081. 23 June 2019