10 very different countries. 10 very different rules for LGBTQ+ individuals

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05/31/2019

On May 24, 2019, same-sex couples in Taiwan registered their unions as the country’s historic new law legally recognizing same-sex marriages went into effect. On the same day, Kenya’s high court ruled to keep a law criminalizing same-sex sexual activity; Brazil’s high court ruled that homophobic and transphobic discrimination is a crime; and in the U.S., the Trump administration moved to end a policy prohibiting healthcare providers from discriminating against transgender patients. Around the world, LGBTQ+ rights are in flux, yet “what we are seeing in the world is, undoubtedly, momentum towards equality,” says Jean Freedberg, the Human Rights Campaign’s Director of Global Partnerships. To be clear, there’s still a lot of work to do to achieve that equality, but progress is being made. In 70 countries around the world, consensual same-sex sexual activity is criminalized, punishable by imprisonment, torture, and even death. In other countries, LGBTQ+ folks’ rights are protected by law — but social stigma means that it can be dangerous to live openly. “It’s inconceivable that there are places on our planet where people’s lives are at risk for simply being who they are or loving whom they love,” Freedberg says. Even countries that are widely considered to be LGBTQ-friendly still need to take steps to end discrimination, particularly against transgender individuals. There’s no country on earth that doesn’t need to do better.

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