Magazine article New Internationalist

Equality Watch: Sexual and Gender Minorities

Magazine article New Internationalist

Equality Watch: Sexual and Gender Minorities

Article excerpt

[Graph Not Transcribed]

[Graph Not Transcribed]

[Graph Not Transcribed]

[Graph Not Transcribed]

PICTURES of lesbian weddings and exuberant gay Mardi Gras parades suggest that equality for sexual minorities has come a long way in the past 20 years. Campaigners have fought for and won rights in Europe, Australasia and the Americas.

But the overall picture is mixed - and extreme. The UN, more than 50 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted, still denies these rights to the world's estimated 40 million homosexuals. Repeated attempts at inclusion have been derailed by powerful rightwing and religious interests.

In no country in the world today do lesbians, gays and transgender people enjoy full and equal civil rights with heterosexuals - rights, for example, relating to employment, housing, parenting, partnership, inheritance and protection from abuse and discrimination.

However, many states have made significant steps towards equality in recent years. South Africa and Ecuador have written anti-discrimination clauses relating to sexual orientation in their constitutions. In the 43 states of the Council of Europe, discrimination against sexual minorities can be challenged under the European Convention of Human Rights. And in 2003 the US Supreme Court finally overturned an anti-sodomy law which had applied in 12 states.

But steps have been made in the opposite direction too. In the past three years the number of countries where homosexuality is punishable by death has risen from 7 to 10. All are Muslim-majority states, with Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iran especially inclined to execute. The number of countries where homosexuality is recorded as illegal has gone up from 70 to 80. Some impose prison sentences of 20 years or more. Gays and lesbians in Uganda and Russia have been tortured and forced into exile. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.