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The Impact of Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws on Human Rights: A Closer Look at Countries Banning LGBTQ+
Harveer Singh, St Jude’s Academy, Canada
It is a sad reality that some countries have implemented laws and policies that restrict the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. These laws have had a devastating impact on the LGBTQ+ community, their families, and their friends. This article will take a closer look at countries that have banned LGBTQ+ activities, relationships, and identities and the impact of these laws on human rights.
There are still many countries where LGBTQ+ individuals face persecution and even the death penalty. These countries include Uganda, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and others. The impact of these laws on the LGBTQ+ community has been severe, including discrimination, harassment, and violence. For example, a 2019 report by Human Rights Watch found that Nigerian police used anti-LGBTQ+ laws to extort, assault, and rape LGBTQ+ individuals.
Today, Anti-LGBTQ+ laws have evolved and taken on many forms, including sodomy laws, criminalizing same-sex relationships, and “propaganda” laws prohibiting the promotion of LGBTQ+ identities. Recently, some countries have even gone as far as to ban transgender individuals from changing their gender on official documents. According to a 2021 report by OutRight Action International, there were at least 1,050 documented killings of LGBTQ+ individuals in 2020.
These laws violate the LGBTQ+ community’s fundamental rights to equality, dignity, and privacy. This significantly impacts their mental health, as constant discrimination and harassment can cause anxiety and depression. According to the 2022 Trevor Project, 45% of LGBTQ youth considered attempting suicide in the past year. The impact of these laws extends beyond the LGBTQ+ community, as they create a culture of intolerance and hate.
LGBTQ+ activists and organizations, both within and outside affected countries, have been advocating tirelessly to raise awareness about discriminatory laws and support affected individuals while pressuring governments to change their legislation. International organizations, such as the United Nations, have also spoken out against these laws and provided support. Despite some countries and organizations taking action, others remain relatively silent. Diplomatic, trade, or aid restrictions have been imposed in some cases, while others have offered asylum to affected individuals. Nevertheless, further action is needed to ensure the protection of LGBTQ+ rights.
The impact of these laws is best understood through personal stories. Individuals who have been affected by these laws have shared their stories of discrimination For example, in Uganda, LGBTQ+ individuals have been forced to flee their homes and seek asylum in other countries like Kenya to escape persecution. “They attacked me claiming that I was dressed like a lady, yet I’m a man,” Kyaviluga, a second-year computer engineering student in Kampala, said. “They smashed my phone and told me to relocate from the town.”
Several possible solutions to this issue include legal, political, and social actions. Legal solutions include repealing anti-LGBTQ+ laws, enacting new laws that protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals, and challenging these laws in court. Political solutions include pressuring governments to change statutes through diplomacy and international pressure. Social solutions include promoting tolerance and understanding of LGBTQ+ individuals through education and awareness campaigns.
Anti-LGBTQ+ laws have devastated the LGBTQ+ community and violated their fundamental human rights. It is time for governments and individuals worldwide to take action to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and create a more tolerant and inclusive world.
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