LGBT rights still under attack around the world

In many ways 2015 has been a great year for LGBTI rights. We have seen same sex marriage legalised in Ireland and the USA (and many other countries), decriminalisation of homosexuality in Mozambique, and new anti-discrimination laws in Thailand and Ukraine. This is all great news for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people around the world who are now more free to be themselves.

But it’s not all good news, we have also seen increasing levels of police violence against LGBTI activists, gay pride events banned, and increasing levels of hate crime against LGBT people around the world. These are just some of the ways that LGBTI rights are under attack around the world, and these are just some of the people fighting for a better future for LGBTI people.

Police Brutality: activists shot with water cannons in Peru

This week a dozen activists gathered in Lima’s Plaza de Armas to take part in a protest they called ‘kisses against homophobia’. The response? Riot police descended on the scene to break up the protest. Activists defiantly shouted ‘no homophobia’ as they are kicked, punched, and shot with water cannons by police. All this because a group of LGBTI people took a stand against homophobia by kissing in public.

We saw similar scenes in August 2015, when Turkish police turned violent against a planned LGBTI Pride march in central Istanbul. Those activists have not yet been able to hold their pride march, and have yet to receive justice for the abuse and injuries suffered at the hands of police for standing up for their rights. Similarly we have seen pride marches cancelled in UkraineSlovakia, and many other countries. But LGBTI activists in Uganda were able to hold their own pride march as they continue the fight for better rights for their community.

A crime to be gay: imprisoned for 'sodomy' in Tunisia

It is still illegal to be gay in 79 countries around the world. These states have laws against consensual same-sex relations, which lead to many being imprisoned and sometimes executed for being themselves. This is still the case in Tunisia, where ‘sodomy and lesbianism’ laws ban consensual same-sex sexual relations with up to 3 years in prison for those found guilty of this ‘crime’.

Six male students in Tunisia are currently facing 3 years in prison for just this. They were arrested at a house party in December 2015 and charged with ‘sodomy’. To prove their ‘guilt’ they were forced to subject to an intrusive anal examination, when they refused their refusals were ripped up and the men were beaten and forced to consent to the invasive procedure.

They are now out on bail, and are fighting for their freedom. An appeal hearing on their case is due to begin on 25th February. But they continue to receive threats and now fear for their lives. They are unable to continue with their normal lives and they now live in fear of fresh accusations and new charges. 

It is time to end this discrimination. Stand with them and other Tunisians. Take action and call for the Tunisian authorities to free the six men. Tell them that homosexuality is not a crime and urge them to repeal these repressive laws.

Hate crime on the rise: beaten up for being gay

Rates of hate crimes against LGBTI people are on the rise in many countries around the world. In Greece 137 incidents of homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic hate crime have been recorded in 2015, a steep rise from the 34 recorded in 2014.

Costas and his boyfriend were sitting on a bench in a central Athens square, drinking a beer and having a laugh on a summer evening, when they were the victims of a homophobic attack that left Costas’ leg broken and left them both bruised. More than a year later the perpetrators have not been identified and they continue their fight for justice.

“I think they could tell we are a couple, and they targeted us because of that, and because of my partner’s skin colour,” Costas.

 

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