Every year, the condition of LGBT people around the world tends to improve. Activists and allies from all over the globe have made this progress possible, and are still working on moving forward. However, these advances are not evenly distributed: in many countries, it is still dangerous to show one’s true colours.
Being oneself shouldn’t be a crime, but it still is in 72 states. Many countries have made progress in the last decade, but a good deal of work still needs to be done to ensure basic rights for everyone.
That’s why the fight against homophobia and transphobia has to go on.
A FEW FIGURES
26 states recognize same-sex marriage. 29 states recognize their right to adopt.
124 states allow relations between people of the same sex. This doesn’t mean, however, that these relations are accepted by society. In some states, homosexuality is legal but hindered by other laws (anti-propaganda legislation, for example).
72 states criminalize relations between people of the same sex.
8 states punish relations between people of the same sex by the death penalty.
For more information, go to our source : ILGA’s report
Obviously, there are many issues that affect LGBT people around the world, but here are a few of them.
113 states do not have any legislation protecting LGBT people against discrimination. In these countries, it is legal to fire a person, evict them from their home or refuse to provide them a service because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. In the countries that do have laws against discrimination, those laws might not be applied very thoroughly or cover all aspects of one’s life. For example in some countries you can not be fired for being gay, but you might be refused a appartement on those grounds.
All sexual and gender diverse communities can be victims of psychological and physical violence. However, these types of violence can be difficult to study because they are not always reported. For example, Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide reported 677 homicides of transgender people in Brazil between 2010 and 2015. Bullying and harassment remains a problem in all countries, however advanced on LGBT rights they seem to be.
CHANGING SEX DESIGNATION
Many countries do not allow people to change their sex designation on official documents. Those that do allow it often make the process difficult, costly and dangerous by adding medical requirements, such as multiple surgeries, which often result in sterility. The level of difficulty and the conditions required for changing one’s sex designation and name vary according to country.
This practice, whose goal is to “cure” homosexuality or transgender identity, is prohibited in only 3 countries: brazil, ecuador and malta. It can take many forms, including psychoanalysis and aversion therapy (inducing an unpleasant or painful sensation when a person has homosexual feelings). In addition to not producing the results that it boasts about, conversion therapy can cause anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.
The people you can see on our posters are all real people who come from countries where showing their true colours is still dangerous. Justin, Ramy and Mona shared their stories with us and accepted to carry the flag for our campaign. Here are their stories.
I was born in a regular family. My life changed when I was 14 years old when I realized I was gay. When my parents found out they asked me : Are you a faggot ? I told them : No, I’m gay. They took away my computer and my phone. They stopped talking to me because they said I was a shame for the family. I started protesting against homophobia and I got arrested several times. I was beaten by the police and by people in school, I couldn’t get a good education, so I left for Canada.
In Tunisia, being gay makes you a criminal. From the moment you are born, you expect to be arrested at any moment. I had a lot of problems there because of my activism : death threats, threats from the police, getting arrested for no reason, etc. I have a tattoo on my wrist that says in arabic: “They bust into homes to forbid love”. Every time I look at it, it reminds me that in Tunisia, people can get 3 years of prison just for being gay, lesbian or trans.
My life in Burundi was complicated. My family didn’t accept me as a trans woman, and Burundi criminalizes LGBTQ people. I couldn’t go out or take public transportation without having to worry for my safety. I got arrested because I was the legal representative of an LGBTQ association. They said I was promoting homosexuality, and put me in a male prison. Fortunately, I was released and I managed to leave the country before being arrested again.