A few days back, as I was scrolling down my Instagram feed, I came across a post by Ellen DeGenres.
Naturally, I was intrigued and wanted to collect more information on the issue. Reading up about certain laws in Brunei left me shocked. The state of Brunei declared homosexuality as an legal offense. The worst part is yet to come. Any man proven to have been involved in homosexual activity of any kind can be stoned to death. Lesbian sex accounts for punishments like whipping. Imagine living in a country where you can be executed for just being who you are. In the 21st century, where more and more countries are granting their citizens the freedom to choose their own sexual partners and the right to sexuality of their own preference, such archaic traditions are leaving the rest of the world in anger and helplessness.
On September 6th 2018, the Honourable Supreme Court of India finally decriminalised homosexuality in India by scrapping Section 377 of the Indian penal code. This historic victory was achieved after years of struggle and appeals to the court. Unfortunately, in around 72 countries around the world , LGBTQ relationships are still illegal. Let's take a look at the discriminatory rules in these countries.
Human rights of LGBTQ members are almost non-existent in the country of Uganda. An anti-homosexuality bill being considered by the parliament, proposes life imprisonment for any homosexual activity and even a death sentence for 'aggravated homosexuality'. The bill also prescribes a prison term of seven years for anyone who is found to protect or assist homosexual people. The bill has not yet been passed in the Parliament.
Consensual homosexuality is punishable by death among men in accordance with the rules of Iran. Among women, homosexuality can be punished with 100 lashes. There is no question of living openly as a gay person in Iran. Several thousand people have already been killed because of their sexuality in the country.
Under strict Sharia laws, homosexuality can be punished by 14 years of imprisonment, in accordance with Section 214 of the Nigerian Penal Code. Hiding another person's sexuality was declared illegal by a bill passed in 2012. If a person failed to report the homosexuality of another individual, they could be imprisoned as well.
According to the Saudi Arabian laws, the government can search any individual's residence for evidence for any reported homosexual behaviour, thereby destroying every ounce of privacy for the citizens of the country.
Members of the LGBTQ community can face upto 10 years of imprisonment for engaging in any homosexual behaviour. Moreover, they are forced to undergo psychiatric treatment for this so called 'abnormal' behaviour as well.
These are just some of the official laws of the countries. Even in countries where homosexuality is not criminalised, the community faces several atrocities. They are disowned from their homes by their own families and instances of honour-killing are also quite common. They go through severe mental and physical torture, so much that it leads to them committing suicide as well. Let's keep in mind that harassing an individual for something as integral as their sexuality should not be entertained under any cost. We are far from creating a safe space for our fellow beings. From shootings at gay bars to the day-to-day stigma they face, the LGBTQ members lead quite a difficult life. Activists in the community are often abused and even threated. As far as possible, let us do any little-bit we can for the community and declare ourselves an ally. Let's make sure we are not among those written away as oppressors of the LGBTQ community in history.