The “Sexual Orientation Laws in the World- Overview” map really opened my eyes to how diverse LGBTQ+ rights are on a global level rather than staying within the realm of the United States. It also gave me some perspective; although there are many issues/ changes I would like to see made in the US regarding LGBTQ+ rights, I am happy we are a “dark green” country on the map. Sadly, it looks like not even half of the globe is dark green. This lead me to look deeper into some of the criminalization/ death penalty countries in dark red. I found that in 2005, the IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) released a report describing how homosexuality has remained extremely “taboo” in Iraq. There is a common practice called “honor killings” or “shame killings”, which to summarize is when a family/ a family member LEGALLY kills another family member for bringing dishonor to the family name. Engaging in anything remotely homosexual is enough “disgrace” for the family to LEGALLY kill you. The fact that this is not only legal, but is commonly practiced is really unbelievable and breaks my heart. It really made me step back and reflect on some of the injustices the LGBTQ+ community faces outside the dark green countries. However, I did find something super interesting on a happier note; “IraQueer” is the first (and only one ever) queer activism group that has just recently came out of the shadows. Like any queer activism group, one of their main goals is to raise awareness for the LGBTQ+ community. I can imagine this must be extremely hard though in a society where these members can be killed by their families if desired. However, every activist movement has to start somewhere and I am happy to read that (maybe and hopefully) change is coming.
I decided to write about the status of LGBT rights and legitimacy in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is perceived to be one of the few Islamic states which exercises considerable tolerance towards the issue of homosexuality. Practicing homosexuality is strictly prohibited by the law under Section 377 A of the CrPC (Criminal Penal Code).The law says- “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall be liable to fine.” In the Guardian Article we read, What’s it like being LGBT around the world?, they described a reality in which people of LGBT status live in a “comfortable closest”. They call it “comfortable” because the actual actions of same-sex relations are not policed well and are normally looked over. However, those citizens are still crammed into a closet, nonetheless! I think this really draws into the E. Patrick Johnson’s theories and the idea of Quare theory. There’s explicit restriction of personal expression and processes. How do you feel about this? It it worth fighting the traditions and outing oneself even if there’s loose enforcement? Things are slowly changing however, I have difficulty imagining real changes being made. How much of an impact do you think this restriction has on civilians of LGBT status? Do you think it would be best to live comfortably and not combat the tradition? Even with the support of many human rights groups and individuals, I’m not sure it will be enough to overturn traditional convictions. But, you never know until you try. Right?
After reading the article about Trump’s “religious freedom” law I felt sick. And angry. And terrified. How can he do this?? After reading the Gavin Grimm article and then this one which showed a tweet made by the ACLU, I decided to Google what that exactly was. The ACLU stands for the American Civil Liberties Union, a non-profit organization, whose mission statement is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country.” I’m kind of embarrassed for myself for not knowing this organization. But more importantly, my heart is so full that this organization exists and is willing to fight for the LGBTQ community. The article stated that the ACLU has already made a promise to take Trump to court (again) if he proceeds with this. Because really, the country does have a commitment to keep church and state SEPARATE.
I also want to talk about Mike Pence for a second. Why does he hate the LGBTQ community so much?!? Why doesn’t he put that hate towards the abuse and scandals that happen within the Church he loves so much?? Why does he target a community who wants nothing more than to be treated equally? Now he and the Trump administration want to take away Obama’s EO that prohibits discrimination against LGBT employees from federal contractors. It also allows employers to, basically, opt out of covering contraceptives if they are religiously against it. What? Sometimes I don’t understand Trump or his advisors- don’t they know the church and state are separate and are to remain separate? This whole thing makes me upset but it also makes me sad and disappointed that this whole thing is still a thing. Why can’t we just let people, who aren’t harming anyone, be who they are? Ugh.