The State of LGBT Rights Around the World
Over the years, the discourse on LGBT rights have spread across nations, and unless you do not have access to the internet, then there is every likelihood that you have come across news, comments, debates, and discussions making the rounds on the web or social media about LGBT rights.
While it is true that members of the LGBT community are still being discriminated in some parts of the world, global trends do, however, indicate that there is hope for a future where lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender will be given the same public treatment like their straight counterparts.
In the United States, for instance, studies have shown that the American public is now more accommodating of the LGBT community. In fact, more than 50% of the American populace within the past two decades are now supportive of laws that protect same-sex marriages.
A record has it that since the turn of the of the 21st century, about 72% and 63% of the U.S. public now support the respective laws that protect the LGBT community against fundamental human rights unfairness (like job discrimination) and that which grants LGBT people right to adoption.
In a related development, there an increasing number of American adults have been identifying as either lesbians, gays, bisexual or transgender since the significant rise in public acceptance of same-sex marriages. Statistical reports show that no less than 4.1% of the American adult population acknowledges being a member of the LGBT community in 2016 and approximately ten million people that form the entire U.S. population.
Asides from the U.S., there has also been recorded growth of LGBT acceptance or support among the population of various nations across the world. In countries like Canada, the Netherlands, and Spain for instance, a significant number of people of those nations have accepted the same-sex union.
Furthermore, there have been various steps taken to force the establishment and recognition of the LGBT community in different nations all over the globe. A major reference point is the international human rights meeting that took place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 2oo6. The success of that meeting led to the establishment of the Yogyakarta principle which has become a powerful legal tool for LGBT campaigns.
With the successful creation of the Yogyakarta principles and the mandatory appointment of an independent expert on gender identity and sexual orientation by the U.N., the way for the global discussion of LGBT right was paved. And on the first day of January 2015, the communist government of Vietnam lifted a ban on same-sex marriages.
Similarly, the following year saw another development that favored the LGBT community as the Philippines’ Senate plenary received an LGBT anti-discrimination bill for the first time in two decades. That bill was passed into law in December 2016, and the LGBT community bagged another victory against the global discrimination of same-sex marriages.
The Philippine was particularly welcoming as there a high rate of transgender murder in the country before the passing of that bill into law. As the years rolled by, the LGBT community continued to national support around the world. Notable among the various international support received by the LGBT community was the ruling delivered by the United States Supreme Court in 2015. That ruling was in favor of equal marriage, meaning same-sex marriage was made legal throughout the U.S. nation.
However, it is worth mentioning that these victories and ruling in favor of the LGBT group didn’t come without a fight or violence. In the year 2015, the same year that recorded rapid progress made in support of LGBT rights. There were also documented cases of extreme violence against the LGBT group.
In Africa for instance, it was reported that Nigeria’s LGBT community suffered severe abuse and violence propagated by the country’s extreme anti-LGBT law. The same development was also recorded in the Gambian nation which is another African country. Although, the Gambian nation is said to be the home of the African Commission on Human Rights, the LGBT community in that nation still had to flee for their dear lives in the wake of a crackdown that was politically motivated.
Similar developments were also recorded in other African nations like Egypt and Morocco. In the former, trans women and gay men were arrested and imprisoned on the charges of “debauchery.” While in Morocco, men accused of being gays were routinely locked up in prisons.
The United States LGBT community also experienced their fair share of the setback as there was a report of a case of rejection of a non-discrimination ordinance by voters in Houston city. Had that ordinance been accepted, it would have protected not only the LGB T people from being socially discriminated but also safeguarded the different race and other categories of people in that society.
The most notable form of setback and violence against the LGBT community was that which took place in Malaysia. A federal court in the country went as far as reversing a ruling against an Islamic law that prohibited a male person from posing as a female thereby empowering the religious authority to arrest and prosecute transgender women.
Nevertheless, in spite of all the violence and setbacks experienced by the LGBT community around the world in the year under review, there were still snapshots of positive developments. In Kenya for example, there was a record-breaking decision taken by the High Court of Kenya. The Kenyan Court on April 24, 2015, delivered a ruling that favored or allowed members of an LGBT rights group to register their organization legally.
The ruling of the High Court was delivered in response to a filed petition by the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) to register under the NGOs Coordination Board Act. And that decision by the High Court was a significant victory for the LGBT community in not only Kenya but in the world over.
But in a nutshell, the recorded setbacks and violence have not deterred the LGBT community from not giving up on fighting for their right as a people. In other words, regardless of the ups and downs that have characterized the fight against same-sex marriages, the LGBT community has refused to be bullied and discriminated. They have remained a committed group who are determined to see that the LGBT community gets equal treatment like everyone else in the global society.
And the rise of the global debate on LGBT has given birth to the recognition of sexual practices as a part of the individual identity and has led to better visibility citizenship rights for all lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender individuals. A now-famous term “LGBT rights” has also been birthed by the rise of international debate on homosexuality and transgender.
Granted recent developments like the emotional plea issued by UN Secretary-General at a high-level LGBT core group event that held at UN headquarters on the 29th of September, 2015 indicate that the future is bright for the LGBT community. But more still needs to be done because there are still countries in the world where LGBT people are still being compelled to live in shadow.
More Civil Society Organization should rise in unison with the already existing ones to challenge and reject attempts by repressive governments to manipulate anti-LGBT antagonism group for short-term political advantage. LGBT organizations should embrace collaboration and support human rights agendas that are more encompassing.
The LGBT society needs to intensify attempts or efforts to reach out to more people who need to hear about LGBT. No two LGBT member or group should pick up unnecessary fights with each other, but instead, all efforts should be geared towards correcting the misconception on the mind of many in the larger society.
Intelligent approaches (like writing enlightening articles on LGBT, politely correcting people who erroneously use the word “gay” and taking part in peaceful protests) should be adopted in attempts to make the LGBT community more visible.