Being LGBT in the United States is certainly not the easiest task, homosexuals face constant discrimination and homosexual couples are still fighting to have the same rights as heterosexual couples. However, compared to other countries, members of the LGBT in America are relatively well off. The United Nations released its first report on LGBT rights last year, which reported that being a homosexual is still illegal in 76 countries. Being gay is still punishable by death in five countries according to the UN; Nigeria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen. In some parts of the UAE, Mauritania, and Malaysia homosexuals are also put to death, as well as in certain local areas of other states that are under Sharia law.
Even those countries that do not punish homosexuality by death still persecute the LGBT community. Denial of political freedom and human rights is common, and in many countries known homosexuals are denied proper burial. Flogging is another common punishment for homosexuals, which can lead to permanent damage of the organs, internal bleeding, or even death. In many of the former African colonies homosexuality is attacked as an ‘unAfrican’ Western import and beatings and torture are common punishments for homosexuality, and there have been confirmed reports of mutilation and castration. ‘Corrective rape’ is also a well-known punishment of lesbian women in Zimbabwe and South Africa, even though South Africa was the first country to ban homophobic discrimination in its constitution and has legalized same-sex marriage.
Worldwide only 11 countries have legalized same-sex marriage; The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Portugal, Denmark, Iceland, and Argentina. In Mexico and the United States same-sex marriage is only allowed in certain places. Fifty countries have also introduced anti-discrimination laws.
Regardless of ones personal stance on the issue of homosexuality it should be realized and demanded that these people receive basic human rights. Ones sexual orientation should not be illegal and punishable in any form.
The High Commissioner of Human Rights for the UN, Navi Pillay has stated, “Decriminalizing homosexuality is an essential first step towards establishing genuine equality before the law. But real, lasting progress cannot be achieved by changing laws alone. We must change minds as well. Like racism and misogyny, homophobia is a prejudice born of ignorance. And like other forms of prejudice, the most effective long-term response is information and education.”
Information by country: http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/content/bycountry/index.html
News updates on LGBT international issues: http://76crimes.com/category/anti-lgbt-laws-and-legislation/