A look at the global fight for equal rights
Across the nation, the issue of equal rights for members of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, and others) community remains a constant battle. However, across the globe, that fight differs greatly, from working to get gay marriage legally recognized, to trying to avoid being killed on the basis of sexuality.
In the U.S., gay marriage is officially recognized and cannot be blocked by any states as of June 26, 2015. However, 29 states have no laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientati
on, and in 2014 20 percent of the 5928 hate crimes were on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, according to the FBI.
“We can make as many laws as we want, but the real change is in our minds and hearts. People make laws. Laws don’t make people,” said Abraham Novelo, senior and President of the Paso Robles GSA+ club
Japan, while there is no government regulation on sexuality, does not recognize marriage between individuals of the same sex. The stigma against homosexuality in Japan has caused many to pretend to be heterosexual in their public lives, even if they have a partner. While they typically do not receive visible or physical backlash, they do experience “silent punishment.” Since women on average receive 70 percent less income than men, lesbian couples face major financial burdens.
Currently in India, gay sex is illegal, and violators of this law could face life in prison. While people are rarely convicted, the law is used to blackmail gays and transgenders in the country. There is hope, however, that the law will be revised so that only non consensual sex and sex with minors will be illegal, though the supreme court has recently shut down attempts to do so.
In Iran, since 1979 an estimated 4000-6000 homosexuals have been executed. The typical punishment for being caught in a homosexual act is 99 lashes and a year in jail, but only if they can prove to the judge they are repentant. While they are surprisingly liberal in transgender rights, and the government helps pay for surgeries, this is because they strongly encourage homosexuals to undergo gender reassignment because they are only attracted to the same gender because their soul is in the wrong body.
In Russia, sex between members of the same sex has been decriminalized. However, for sa
me-sex couples, they do not receive the same legal protection as heterosexual couples. Gender reassignment surgery is legal, but there are no laws protecting people from discrimination on the basis of gender identity. A documentary called “Hunted” aired in February of 2014 that depicted gay men in Russia being hunted down and killed or tortured by vigilante groups.
Binge reading for balanced perspective
Tyler Oakley, American Youtuber and author, gave deep insight to his personal struggles with sexual identity through his autobiography “Binge.” Through this book, many readers, including freshman Paige Autry, have gained better perspective of LGBTQ struggles.
“You could actually place yourself into Tyler’s shoes and kind of get a glimpse into his life. I’ve always been pretty accepting of other life choices, but [it] helped me get a peek into how many struggles and hardships they have to face in their everyday lives.”