|State-Sponsored Homophobia : a world survey of laws: Criminalisation, protection and recognition of same-sex love
|Itaborahy, LP, Zhu, J
|International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA),
This issue of our annual report on state-sponsored homophobia builds up on improvements introduced in the last two editions, by increasing the number of articles – by either scholars or ILGA regional board members – devoted to specific issues or regions, and comes in a new format, which we hope will make the whole report (including the world map) easier to use and to read. For the first time, this report is released in all 6 UN official languages, in an effort both to increase the readership and to make it easier to quote from it in other reports by (inter)governmental agencies and NGOs. 2012 and 2013 will definitely be remembered as the years of same-sex marriage laws, as a sort of chain reaction seems to spread from continent to continent, from Latin America (Argentina, Uruguay) to Europe (France and most probably the UK) to Oceania (New Zealand), thus bringing the total of countries where same-sex couples can marry to 14, while in Brazil, Mexico, Australia and the USA progress seems to stall, as can be read in the articles on Oceania by Simon Margan and Joey Mataele, and on North America by Danielle Maccartney and by Stephen Seaborn and Haven Herrin.
Though, perhaps, the most visible sign of change in relation to equality, marriage laws are not the only field which sees advancements of LGBTI rights – at the national and at the local level, through regulations, litigation or even election of openly LGBTI council or parliament members, change is gradually taking place in many countries all over the world, as can be read in the articles by Douglas Sanders (Asia), Eric Gitari, Linda RM Baumann, Rev. Rowland Jide Macaulay (Africa) and Tamara Adrian (Latin America).
Despite these very encouraging developments though, little has changed in the proportion between countries criminalizing same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults and those which do not, i.e., respectively, 78 (roughly 40% of UN Members) versus 113 (roughly 60% of UN Members). While the efforts in the international LGBTI movement and among its allies (NGOs, certain governments, etc.) to change this state of affairs must and will continue, it is important to realize that this current division of the world – from the point of view of legislation – into an LGBTI-friendly field and an LGBTI-unfriendly field is the result of different cultural, social and political processes rooted in the histories of the countries and the history of their relations with one another. As it would be impossible to list all these processes here, we decided nevertheless to have an in-depth article on a particular region of the world each year, starting with one on the MENA region by Yahia Zaidi.
While criminalization is the most blatant form of state-sponsored homophobia, countries which decriminalized homosexuality in the recent past, such as Russia, as explained in the article by Maria Sjödin and Martin Christensen, are sadly seeking to re-legitimize discrimination based on sexual orientation both at the national level, by way of laws against LGBTI activism – preposterously defined as “homosexual propaganda” – and at the international level, in the name of “tradition”.
We hope this year’s issue to be most useful for activists, governmental agencies, academics and the media and are grateful to the authors, Lucas Paoli Itaborahy and Jingshu Zhu, and all those worked on it, particularly professors Kees Waaldijk and Robert Wintemute, our staff (Stephen Barris and Sebastian Rocca) and – last but not least – all our member organization who provided the updates on the legislation of their countries.
State-Sponsored Homophobia : a world survey of laws: Criminalisation, protection and recognition of same-sex love