New Internationalist

The Facts

Issue 328

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LOVE, HATE and the LAW
The human rights of sexual minorities are systematically abused in
much of the world today. Laws used against them tend to focus
on homosexual practice, but may affect transgender people too.
Progressive equality and anti-discrimination legislation is,
however, getting onto the statute books in some places...

Map of Sexual Minorities: The Legal Facts

Key to sexual minorities: The legal facts

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DIVIDED STATES
: Sodomy is still illegal in 20 US states. In six of these - Arkansas, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma - the law applies only to homosexual acts. In 12 other US states, however, there are progressive anti-discrimination laws. 4

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FREE SPEECH
: Freedom of association and expression are denied gays and lesbians via anti-propaganda laws, censorship and other discriminatory bans and practices. Recent examples include Britain, Romania, Kuwait, Lebanon. 2

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PARENTING
: Legal recognition of non-biological parents exists in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Netherlands and Norway. 2

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DJ CLARK / PANOS PICTURES

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HARASSMENT
: Violent attacks or harassment of sexual minorities and aids activists have been reported in 19 countries since 1994. Severe police harassment has been reported in 18 countries.2

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ASYLUM
: Sexual minority people from 37 different countries have been granted asylum in 18 countries, but applications are usually refused.2

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CONSENT
: At least 47 countries have an equal age of consent for gays and heterosexuals.2

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RELATIONSHIPS
: Around 2% of the world's women and 4% of men live exclusively as homosexuals. Legal recognition of same-sex partnerships exists in Denmark, France, Hungary, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, Quebec (Canada) and Vermont (US).2

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MURDER
: Brazil holds the record for murder of sexual minorities: 1,600 died 1980-97 with only 5 per cent of killers going to trial.3

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SEX CHANGE
: Gender reassignment is illegal in Portugal, Iran, Ghana, Slovenia, Albania, Macedonia.5

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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
: Iran, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia are known to have executed homosexuals for their sexuality during the past decade.2


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REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
: Lesbians and single women have a right to use state donor insemination services in the Netherlands, Finland, Greece, Spain and the Australian state of Tasmania.2

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HOOLIGANISM
: China prosecutes gays and lesbians under 'hooliganism' laws.

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TRANSGENDER
: Australia has specific protection from discrimination for transgendered people.2

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ADOPTION
: Same-sex couples have been allowed to adopt children in South Africa, Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, Britain and Canada.2

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DOCUMENTS
: Transgendered people in Turkey, the Ukraine and Aotearoa /NZ, can have official documents reflecting their gender choice; those in Britain cannot.2

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WORK
: Gays and lesbians are banned from the armed forces in Japan, Belarus, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Venezuela.2

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EQUALITY
: Fiji did have a clause prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation written into its constitution - like Ecuador and South Africa - but this was removed.2 Switzerland has a 'lifestyle' clause.

Sources:
1 Rob Wintemute, Kings College Law School, London.
2 International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), Brussels, 2000. Website: www.ilga.org
3 L Mott, Grupo Gay da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.
4 International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), San Francisco, 2000. Website: www.iglhrc.com
5 Judith Mackay, The Penguin Atlas of Human Sexual Behaviour, Penguin, 2000.

Most of the information on this map comes from the International Lesbian and Gay Association (www.ilga.org). ILGA welcomes corrections and updates to the information, which should be sent to: ilga1-web@ilga.org Regarding human-rights abuses contact Amnesty International website: www.amnesty.org


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