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Nigeria: Nigeria is the most homophobic country in the world, according to a 2013 poll, which found 97 percent of citizens think society should not accept homosexuality. The laws reflect that: Same-sex couples face up to 14 years in prison and even public displays of same-sex affection are illegal.
Uganda: The spotlight has been focused on Kampala recently for its anti-LGBT policies. A law passed this week makes homosexuality punishable by up to life in prison, gay rights activists have been murdered, and gay citizens are widely discriminated against.
Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe has made a crusade out of homophobia – with widespread public approval. Last year, Mugabe threatened to behead gay Zimbabweans and described them as “filth.”
Saudi Arabia: Basing its law, it says, on a strict interpretation of Islamic law, the current Saudi regime has made gay sex punishable by death by the lash. But according to some reports from inside the Kingdom, that doesn’t mean homosexuality isn’t common.
India: Thought of as a highly tolerant society, it came as a surprise earlier this year when the country’s highest court reinstated a colonial-era law criminalizing gay sex. But the decision has been met with protests and the court’s decision is being challenged.
Honduras: There have been a spate of anti-LGBT hate crimes here in recent years. More than 80 LGBT people have been killed in anti-LGBT hate crimes since 2009 and LGBT-rights activist say they are shunned by their families and communities.
Jamaica: Sex between men is illegal, hate crimes are alarmingly common and the government seems reluctant to protect gays from violence. Senegal One of the most anti-gay countries in the world, according to a 2013 Pew poll, which found 96 percent of Senegalese think society should not accept homosexuality, only surpassed by Nigeria at 97 percent. Gay sex is illegal and discrimination is commonplace.
Afghanistan: It may no longer be under the rule of the Taliban (at least in much of the country), but harsh views toward homosexuality still remain. It’s still news when an Afghan comes out as gay, even from Toronto. Yet its male homosexual culture is widespread but rarely commented on.
Iran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s last president, famously told Americans: “We don’t have homosexuals in our country like you do.” His successor, Hassan Rouhani, elected last June, hasn’t made gay rights – or anti-gay legislation – a priority, but it’s already on the books. Homosexuality is illegal in Iran and can even be punishable by death in certain cases.
Lithuania: The Baltic state’s parliament is considering a law similar to Russia’s notorious anti-gay anti-propaganda law. And while homosexuality isn’t illegal, it has many opponents. Last year’s second-ever gay pride parade was interrupted by homophobic protesters.
Sudan: Homosexuality is punishable by death and even attempts at arranging a homosexual act can lead to a prison sentence. The good news is that there have been stirrings in recent years of a pro-LGBT rights movement.
The United States: We have undoubtedly made great strides in LGBT rights in recent years, from same-sex marriage to equality in the military. But Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and several other states have laws on the books that resemble Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws. And anti-LGBT hate crimes remain frighteningly common, especially against transgender people.
Photo: Gay rights activists hold placards during a protest against a verdict by the Supreme Court in New Delhi December 15, 2013. (Photo credit: Adnan Abid/Reuters)
This week’s cover story looks at the surprisingly challenging environment gay figure skaters face as competitors in what many consider to be the Olympics’ ‘gayest’ sport. Abigail Jones has the story.
Related: Many of the athletes selected for the 2014 Sochi Olympic delegation by President Obama are openly members of the LGBT community.
In many countries, it’s getting better for the LGBT community. In Ethiopia, it’s only getting worse.
[Update: Now with photo.]
Andrew Sullivan on ‘homophobia’:
I don’t like the word myself. There’s a smugness to it that doesn’t sit well with me. And it also implies that a religious or moral position against homosexuality is inherently irrational. It may be highly rational in the context of wanting to maintain a social hierarchy, or a coherent theocracy. I also think that a lot of anti-gay feeling is fear-driven, but it is also contempt-driven. Why not replace homophobia with fear and hatred of gay people. Orwell would approve, I suspect. Use shorter words when possible; avoid Latinate constructions; keep language real. So I guess I have no real problem with the AP’s decision as long as it does not lead to ignoring stories of anti-gay fear and loathing that need to be told.
Flash mob proposal!
This is a devastating story about a soldier and a cadet who were both assaulted on the same night by a Staff Sergeant, who infected them with HIV, leading to their ineligibility for military service. Oh, also? The cadet says they made it abundantly clear that day that the Army wasn’t liable for any medical care or benefits related to his diagnosis.
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Mahmoud Hassino, a gay Syrian man who has joined millions of other Syrians in the uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Assad (but is now living in Turkey) says despite tight cultural restrictions, he has had no problems finding gay partners. Homosexuality remains a criminal offense in Syria, though some gay men and lesbians still support Assad, Hassino says, as they fear that if conservative Islamists come to power, they would face even more repression.
Out and proud hip-hop artist Le1f tells us what he thinks of World Star Hip Hop’s recent grammatically-challenged headline, “This Is What Happens When Rappers Start Admitting Their Gay? Hip-Hop Artist Le1f—Wut.”