For those who are completely detached from social media or living under a rock, June is LGBT Pride Month, which began as a commemoration to the Stonewall riots on June 28, 1969. This is why Pride events, most popularly Pride Parades are held all through June. Despite the joint efforts of a large population of the world, where do we really stand when it comes to normalisation of the LGBTQ+ community?
Let’s start with home, On 6 September 2018, the Supreme Court of India invalidated part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code making homosexuality legal in India, striking down the colonial-era law that made gay sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison. That’s a good start, however, there is a lot more ground left to cover with transgender rights, normalising of homosexuality, non-confirming queer people, the list goes on.
Gay sex is still illegal in nearly 40% of countries in the United Nations. Countries, where gay sex is still outlawed, are concentrated towards the Middle East, South East Asia, and Africa. We must acknowledge that religion has a big role to play in the lawmaking processes since it is believed that most religious texts classify same-sex relationships as a sin – do they?
The numbers for same-sex marriages are even worse. Only 13% of the countries in the UN have legalised same-sex marriage. The Netherlands was the first country to do this in 2001. Few other countries like Italy and Peru have legalised civil unions but not yet a legal marriage.
In terms of discrimination, there are only 5 countries in the world, Bolivia, Fiji, Ecuador, Malta, and the UK that have constitutional provisions that guarantee equal treatment of citizens on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, and Sweden are the only countries that provide protections based on sexual orientation. With hundreds of people being killed for having the courage to be themselves, the world doesn’t seem like a great place to be in.
The battle is continuous, albeit a battle that must be fought.