Thirty years after the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as an illness, homosexuality is still illegal in 70 countries around the world.
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA) released a map of LGBTQ protections and criminal laws to highlight the precarity of LGBTQ equality, even as much progress has been made in some countries, yesterday for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT).
The map shows that 12 countries either have a law that allows the death penalty as punishment for homosexuality or such a law is used to kill LGBTQ people, as of December 2019.
Other countries – in Europe, the Americas, and on other continents – protect LGBTQ equality in their constitutions or to some degree in their laws.
The anti-LGBTQ colors red and orange dominate the map, but a closer look shows that the situation is worse than it appears. Poland, for example, is colored light blue for its sexual orientation-inclusive employment protections, even though anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is on the rise in the country, Pride celebrations erupt in violence from far-right protestors, and gender identity protections lag behind.
France, which is colored in blue for its “broad protections” for LGBTQ people, has experienced a 36% increase in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in the past year.
Still, only 57 countries (37%) have job protections for sexual orientation, smaller than the number of countries that ban homosexuality, according to ILGA’s report. Only 27 countries (14%) allow marriage equality.
But it’s not surprising that the countries colored in neutral beige – labeled “no protections/no criminal laws” by ILGA – aren’t exactly LGBTQ-friendly. These countries include Russia, where pro-LGBTQ activism is banned as “propaganda,” and Guatemala, a country the Trump administration is being accused of sending LGBTQ refugees even though those refugees say they have to hide their identities there to avoid violence.