ILGA launch State-Sponsored Homophobia Report 2019

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) have launched the 13th edition of their flagship publication, State-Sponsored Homophobia.

Authored by Lucas Ramón Mendos, the report compiles data on laws from around the world that affect people on the basis of their sexuality – which in turn can be drawn upon as a resource for researchers, social organisations, governments and the general public.

“As of March 2019, 70 States continue to criminalise same-sex consensual activity. In 44 of these States the law is applied to people regardless of their gender,” Mendos said of the work.

“Landmark advances have taken place in the last two years: India, Trinidad and Tobago, and Angola were the latest to repeal such laws. Hopefully this will help further change in their regions. However, global progress comes with setbacks: in 2017, Chad criminalised consensual same-sex sexual acts, a worrying example of legal regression.”

ILGA is currently hosting its World Conference in Aotearoa New Zealand, where more than 500 people have gathered together from 100 countries to celebrate ILGA‘s 40th birthday, and the advances made by the global LGBTI movement.

“In the past we looked at the continuum of laws from death penalty at one extreme through to marriage equality at the other. This year, the top end of the spectrum is those places with constitutional protect against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation,” ILGA Executive Director André du Plessis adds.

“9 countries’ constitutions explicitly mention sexual orientation as a protected ground from discrimination. This shows how much change is truly happening around the world, with growing protection in all regions, though a simple look at these maps is enough to see how many States are denying rights to our communities, and of how much work still needs to be done.”

At present, there are six UN Member States that incur the death penalty on consensual same-sex sexual activity, and a further five where such a death penalty could be applied. 26 other Member States have maximum penalties which range from 10 years to life in prison.

32 Member States have laws in place to limit freedom of expression, including propaganda laws that prohibit the promotion of ‘non-traditional’ sexuality or identity, while 41 States have barriers in place to prevent non-government organisations from working towards equality for LGBTIQ+ people.

On the other hand, legislation that protects lesbian, gay and bisexual persons from discrimination and violence has expanded in recent years.

The number of UN Member States banning ‘conversion therapy’ still stands at three, but there is progress also at the sub-national level where local legislatures have also prohibited such practices. Legal provisions protecting against discrimination in employment are now a reality in 38% of States.

When it comes to protecting and recognising our relationships and families, marriage equality has four more States in recent years, while other 27 guarantee civil partnership recognition.

“These are not just numbers, but laws that actually impact the daily lives of people of diverse sexual orientations around the world,” commented Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy, Co-Secretaries General of ILGA. “Positive laws make all the difference: they can contribute to changing public attitudes, and they concretely tell people that they are equally worthy of rights.”

OIP Staff

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