Saturday, 14 July 2007

State-sponsored Homophobia (Report)

A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults
(April 2007)

Homophobia is the fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals. The hatred, hostility, or disapproval of homosexual people.

The impressive collection of laws presented in this report is an attempt to show the extent of State homophobia in the world. In 2007, no less than 85 member states of the United Nations still criminalize consensual same sex acts among adults, thus institutionally promoting a culture of hatred. With this publication, we hope to raise awareness about this reality which extent remains unknown to the vast majority of people.

Although many of the countries listed in the report do not systematically implement those laws, their mere existence reinforces a culture where a significant portion of the citizens need to hide from the rest of the population out of fear. A culture where hatred and violence are somehow justified by the State and force people into invisibility or into denying who they truly are.

Whether imported by colonial empires or the result of legislations culturally shaped by religious beliefs, if not deriving directly from a conservative interpretation of religious texts, homophobic laws are the fruit of a certain time and context in history. Homophobia is cultural. Homophobia is not inborn. We learn it as we grow.

In many cases, "prejudice against homosexual people” is the result of ignorance and fear. This long catalogue of horrors is but a tale of the intolerance against what is foreign and different.

On occasion of May 17th, the International Day against Homophobia, we take this opportunity to praise the work of human rights defenders who tirelessly fight against injustice and challenge homophobia, lesbophobia and transphobia which surround us.

Decriminalization of same sex activity is as urgent as ever. The fight for the respect of every minority has to be everyone’s fight. We believe that the recognition of sexual minorities as civil components of our societies and the acknowledgement of the equality of their human rights can contribute to learning how to live together, that is, the learning of democracy.

Rosanna Flamer Caldera & Philipp Braun
Co-secretaries generals of ILGA, the International Lesbian and Gay Association

*This report compiled by Daniel Ottosson and published by ILGA, the International Lesbian and Gay Association. A copy of the report is available here

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