Global Homophobia – A recent study has revealed the true extent of homophobia around the world and established that it is illegal to be gay in a shocking 76 countries. From Africa to East Asia, the Middle East to the Americas, LGBT people run the risk of exile, forced labour, public whipping, life imprisonment and even execution.
During the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics the international community protested against Russia’s controversial “gay propaganda” law. However, this latest research, conducted by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), makes it clear that such anti-gay legislation is not unique to Russia.
In disturbing detail the 110-page study names and shames the 76 least gay-friendly countries on Earth. The study is updated every year and we share some of its most recent findings below:
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Progress?
Despite the Coalition forces’ stated aim of restoring human rights to Afghanistan, the post-Taliban authorities continue to persecute the LGBT community. As in other countries, there is widespread confusion between the terms “homosexuality” and “paedophilia” and gay people are regularly sentenced to long periods in gaol.
Dominican Republic: Treated Like We’re Insane
It is a source of embarrassment for the Western psychiatric community that, until the 1970s, the scientific consensus was that homosexuality was a form of mental illness. This myth still persists in the Dominican Republic, where courts can order those prosecuted for “sodomy” and “gross indecency” to undergo psychotherapy to “correct” their behaviour.
Angola: Hard Labour in the 21st Century
When the great Irish playwright and wit Oscar Wilde was prosecuted for “gross indecency” in 1895, he was sentenced to two years’ hard labour. Within a year his health was ruined and he was to die a little later. If Wilde had visited Angola in 2014, he may have been given exactly the same punishment. Indeed, repeat offences of homosexuality – and even cross-dressing – in this Southern African country are punishable by long spells in labour camps.
Guyana: A Confusion of Prejudices
There’s a strange anomaly to Guyana’s anti-LGBT laws. While lesbian behaviour is perfectly legal, a same-sex relationship between men is a felony crime and anyone convicted faces the rest of their life in prison.
Iran: ‘We Don’t Have Gays’
Former President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinijad infamously declared in 2007, ‘In Iran, we don’t have gays.’ People tended not to take his claim too seriously, given that Ahmedinijad also denies that the Nazi Holocaust ever happened. At any rate, there clearly are gay people in Iran because it is quite typical for them to be put to death by Shariah courts. Two men caught kissing in public can be sentenced to “60 lashes”, according to the country’s penal code.
Pakistan: ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
Although Pakistan’s laws are biliously anti-gay, the LGBT community tends to be left alone by the authorities so long as it observes a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. It is possible for LGBT people to congregate and even live together, providing they do so in secrecy.
Saudi Arabia: The World’s Toughest Penalties?
Despite being strongly supported by a number of Western states – amongst them the USA and the UK – who claim to care about LGBT rights, Saudi Arabia is unusually cruel to those with alternative sexual persuasions. Exile, public whippings and executions are commonplace