People are being killed for their sexual orientation, despite progress made by some nations, including Britain, to eliminate prejudice
By Emily Dugan
Sunday, 1 August 2010
Acomprehensive study of global lesbian, bisexual and gay rights, seen by The Independent on Sunday, reveals the brutal – and, in many instances, fatal – price people pay around the globe for their sexuality. The research, which was conducted by the charity network the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), shows that 76 countries still prosecute people on the grounds of their sexual orientation – seven of which punish same-sex acts with death.
On a global scale, the nations doing something positive for gay rights are dwarfed by those behaving negatively. While 75 countries will imprison you if you are gay, only 53 have anti-discrimination laws that apply to sexuality. Only 26 countries recognise same-sex unions.
In the 10 years since the IoS published its first Pink List, Britain has made impressive strides towards sexual equality. In a single decade of progress, gay people have the right to adopt children, an equal age of consent, legislation to protect them from discrimination and can even tie the knot in civil ceremonies.
But homophobia remains a scar on Britain’s social landscape. Around the world, hundreds of people are killed every year just for being gay. Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the UK lesbian gay and bisexual rights organisation Stonewall, said: “We are mindful that however remarkable the progress we might be making in Britain is, there are countries around the world where people still live in fear of their lives just because of the way they were born. Helping to support them sensitively is a critical obligation of anyone who cares about human rights in the wider world.”