Friday, June 21, 2019

World Pride and the State of Human Rights of LGBTIQ People Around the World

On Sunday, 30 June 2019, 50 years after the spontaneous riots in protest against police raids and shaming of LGBTIQ people at the Stonewall Inn gave rise to the contemporary LGBTIQ and Pride movement, New York will host the World Pride. World Pride is designed to shine a spotlight on LGBTIQ issues globally, including in countries where Pride events cannot take place for security, legislation or capacity reasons. 

OutRight will take part in the World Pride march celebrating progress in the recognition of LGBTIQ equality globally, while also drawing attention to the horrific conditions LGBTIQ people around the world continue to face:
  • 68 countries, and several territories, still criminalize same-sex relations, in a handful of which the death penalty can be applied;
  • In 55 countries LGBTIQ organizations cannot legally register;
  • In 30 countries no LGBTIQ organizations exist at all, whether registered or unregistered;
  • LGBTIQ people are subjected to harmful and ineffective “conversion therapies”, recognized to be tantamount to torture by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, around the world;
  • Only 9 countries have explicit anti-discrimination protection on grounds of sex characteristics, and only 3 ban non-consensual normalizing surgeries on intersex children;
  • Over the last year alone persecutions of perceived LGBTIQ people, predominantly gay and bisexual men, continued with impunity in Chechnya; Brunei passed a final phase of Sharia law envisaging death by stoning for honor crimes including same-sex relations; the US administration announced plans to challenge the existence of trans people by defining gender as a binary, immutable condition based in biology; Kenya's High Court Refused to decriminalize same-sex relations claiming it may, indirectly, open the door to same-sex marriage, to name a few.
In addition to existing conditions which make LGBTIQ people not only second class citizens, but even criminals in a large part of the world, a backlash against gender and LGBTIQ people’s equality has been growing even in countries which have previously been champions of human rights. The so-called anti-gender movement has grown in strength and number, spanning across hateful civil society, religious groups and, increasingly, state actors, aiming to challenge the existence of and exclude LGBTIQ people from human rights protections, halt gender equality efforts, restrict sexual and reproductive health and rights, and preserve a social order based on outdated, harmful gender roles.
Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International commented:
50 years after the symbolic first Pride at the Stonewall riots, Pride continues to serve as a symbol of the global movement for LGBTIQ equality. In New York, the anger and determination which sparked the first riots have been replaced by celebration. Yet, in far too many places around the world, where violence and murder of LGBTIQ people remains a daily reality, Pride, in the vast variety of forms it takes, continues to be an expression of protest and defiance, an affirmation of our existence, and a message to authorities that they can not get away with denying us our basic rights.

Amid deserved celebration for progress in New York, the recent decriminalization of same-sex relations in Bhutan and Botswana, or legalization of same-sex marriage in Ecuador and Taiwan, to name a few, let us also march in the same spirit of protest that the first marches embodied. For even in countries with long histories of Pride, in countries which have been heralded as champions of LGBTIQ equality, a backlash has been growing. Although trans women were at the forefront of the Stonewall Riots, trans rights have lagged behind, and now, 50 years later, are coming under even more attack. Evidently, we have quite the battle ahead before LGBTIQ people everywhere can live free to be who they are, love whom they choose, free from fear of violence, hate and persecution.

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