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ILGA World report highlights global opposition to LGBTI+ rights

International human rights organisation ILGA World are highlighting the state of LGBTI+ rights around the world as the US and much of the northern hemisphere celebrate Pride month.

Released in May, the Laws on Us report documents legal developments across the 193 UN member states that have affected our communities between January 2023 and April this year.

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The report highlights that one-third of the world continues to criminalise same-sex sexual activity, though Singapore, Mauritius and Dominica (as well as non-UN member Cook Islands) have decriminalised since the beginning of the reporting period.

During the same period, Uganda imposed the death penalty for some forms of consensual same-sex sexual acts, and Iraq wrote de facto criminalisation into law.

Reports surfaced of extreme forms of capital punishment actively enforced in Afghanistan and Yemen. Regressive bills were announced in at least five UN member States, and discussions to criminalise or aggravate penalties took place in four more.

The report also highlights positive progress, noting seventeen states now allow trans and gender diverse people to self-identify at a national level. Though transgender discrimination is certainly on the rise, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, New Zealand and Spain moved to accept legal gender recognition based on self-ID.

Nine member states have also created protections from non-consensual interventions on intersex minors, with Chile, Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Australian Capital Territory among those making the change.

“Our communities celebrated important victories during the past two years,” said Lucas Ramón Mendos, ILGA World Research Manager and Laws on Us lead co-author.

“And yet, resistance and detraction have materialised almost everywhere.”

“We have seen an alarming rise in restrictions on freedom of expression and association,” adds lead co-author Dhia Rezki Rohaizad.

“This has resulted in censorship, arrests, and persecution in many UN member states.”

Over the past 16 months, for example, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan and Uganda have formally implemented legal provisions targeting the so-called “promotion” of “homosexuality”.

Belarus has begun to classify content related to sexual and gender diversity as “pornography”, and Russia designated the “international LGBT movement” as “extremist”.

“In 2024, half of the global population will head to the election polls, and states are trying to restrict the civic space for non-governmental organisations – in particular those addressing sexual and gender diversity,” said Julia Ehrt, Executive Director at ILGA World.

“Even talking about our lives in public is becoming increasingly difficult in a growing number of states. This trend is extremely concerning: history has shown us multiple times that the advances our movements have made worldwide are often just an election or a downturn away from being reversed.”

Read the full Laws on Us report online here.

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