Uganda arrested 16 LGBTQ activists. Here’s where else gay rights are a battleground in the world.

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10/26/2019

This week Ugandan police arrested 16 LGBTQ activists on charges of gay sex — which is punishable by life imprisonment. Police arrested them at the sexual health organization where they worked and lived and cited condoms, lubricants and anti-HIV medicines found there as evidence of a crime. Police then subjected them to forced anal exams, which can amount to torture under international law, before releasing them on bail, according to a statement by activists. They are not alone. At least 68 countries — including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Singapore — have laws on the books criminalizing same-sex relations involving consenting adults, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch. At least nine others have criminal laws that target transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Even in some countries with no criminal laws against same-sex relationships — such as Russia and Hungary — there’s a “real hostility based on a fear that an increase in gender equality writ large will destabilize the patriarchy,” said Neela Ghoshal, senior researcher for LGBT Rights at New York-based Human Rights Watch.

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