The Human Truth Foundation

LGBT Rights Across the World
Which are the Best and Worst Countries?

By Vexen Crabtree 2016

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#homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #law #religion #sexuality #tolerance


1. Summary

#argentina #china #christianity #iran #islam #mauritania #netherlands #nigeria #norway #russia #saudi_arabia #south_africa #spain #sudan #UK #USA #yemen

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. LGBT folk face legal restrictions as well as social stigmatisation and violence1. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries1. The International LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of equal LGBT rights. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. The Economist (2012) produced a graph (below) for the USA and UK, and stated that "the British Social Attitudes Survey shows that views of homosexuality started out tough and hardened in the mid-1980s - the period of the AIDS panic. Since then they have softened (see chart). The young are more liberal than their parents"2. Over time, the situation is improving. Europe is by far the developed morally, with Scandinavia in particular being exemplary. The Middle East is by far the worst place to be anything other than straight.

Most Equal
1Netherlands405
2Belgium350
3Canada280
4Sweden255
5Spain245
6S. Africa241
7Denmark225
8Iceland220
9Andorra210
10Norway210
Data Source
Most Discriminatory
211UAE-520
210Saudi Arabia-520
209Yemen-520
208Iran-520
207Sudan-520
206Afghanistan-520
205Somaliland-500
204Mauritania-220
203Malaysia-220
202Tanzania-220
Data Source

In nearly every country strong opposition to LGBT equality and anti-discrimination laws has come from the Catholic Church, conservative Christianity, or Muslim authorities. The USA's moral development suffers from the powerful influence of conservatism tied to the Religious Right (i.e., fundamentalist evangelical Christianity) and "homosexuality was officially classified as a mental illness in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual until 1973"3. In the Netherlands "the only opposition in parliament came from the Christian Democratic Party, which at the time was not part of the governing coalition. [...] Muslim and conservative Christian groups continue to oppose the law" [PF 2013). In Spain "Vatican officials, as well as the Catholic Spanish Bishops Conference, strongly criticized the law". In Norway there was "resistance from members of the Christian Democratic Party and the Progress Party" [...] "Lutheran-affiliated Church of Norway, was split over the issue. Following passage of the new law, the church's leaders voted to prohibit its pastors from conducting same-sex weddings". In Argentina "vigorous opposition from the Catholic Church and evangelical Protestant churches".

Obnoxiousness is not the preserve of Christian and Muslim organisations however. In South Africa religious institutions and civil officers can refuse to conduct ceremonies and "the traditional monarch of the Zulu people, who account for about one-fifth of the country's population, maintains that homosexuality is morally wrong". In the UK Christianity is a forgotten power with very little influence over public opinion. However, there are still plenty of bigots around in the UK. The UKIP party (UK Independence Party)'s official online forum has "been used to vent 'racist and homophobic' views by some of the party´s top members, including comparing homosexuality to bestiality and paedophilia", according to Pink News (2013)4. Support for UKIP comes from the under-privileged, poorly educated and angry central trash culture of the UK, which is the same segment of society that is classically considered the most homophobic and xenophobic and this pattern of aggressiveness against LGBT tolerance probably repeats across the West.

In 2008 Veronique Mottier in "Sexuality: A Very Short Introduction" reported that "around 70 countries currently criminalize homosexuality (and, in the case of Zimbabwe, same-sex hand-holding as well)"5. It is slightly more common to find that homosexual sexual activity is outlawed, as is the case in around 80 countries according to Jack Donnelly in "Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice" (2013)1.

Psychiatric labels [of homosexuality as a mental illness] were abolished in the UK in 1994, in the Russian Federation in 1999, and by the Chinese Society of Psychiatry in 2001, after gay rights groups as well as dissenting psychiatrists argued that homophobia rather than homosexuality was the problem.

"Sexuality: A Very Short Introduction" by Veronique Mottier (2008)3

In Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen (plus certain states in Nigeria) penalties up to death may be imposed. In Iran, at least three gay men were executed in both 2010 and 2011. (The actual number is almost certainly much higher.) While I was revising this chapter, four more were sentenced to death.

"Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice" by Jack Donnelly (2013)1

The Pattern of European Progression:

Kees Waaldijk has found [... :]

The law in most countries seems to be moving on a line starting at (0) total ban on homo-sex, then going through the process of (1) the decriminalisation of sex between adults, followed by (2) the equalisation of ages of consent, (3) the introduction of anti-discrimination legislation, and (4) the introduction of legal partnership. A fifth point on the line might be the legal recognition of homosexual parenthood.6

The basic logic is one of gradual inclusion, moving through increasingly active measures of nondiscrimination in a wide range of areas of public activity.

"Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice" by Jack Donnelly (2013)7

2. Factors Included in the International LGBT Equality Index

#islam

The points awarded take into account multiple factors: for how long fully equal same-sex marriage has been legal, for how long gay adoption has been possible, for how long civil unions have been possible (or any other similar domestic partnering functions that grant some equal rights to LGBT folk). A point is awarded for having signed the UN 2008 document in support of LGBT non-harassment and equality, and, a negative point is awarded for signing the anti-LGBT-document championed by the Catholic Church and the Muslim world in 2008 December. Some countries signed the opposing document but have since switched; they now get 0.5 points. Positive points are given for gay sex not being illegal and negative points for its illegality, and, a point for there being effective anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT folk.

Several of these factors are scaled by age; meaning, the longer ago the positive change was made, the higher the score is for that criteria. Some of the criteria are necessarily capped at a maximum score as some countries have never had anti-gay-sex laws, for example.

Where same-sex marriage (SSM) and civil unions (CU) are only legal in some states of the country, but not others, I multiply the SSM+CU points by the proportion of states that accept it. Therefore, the more states that accept it, the fuller proportion of proper score the country receives.

The legality points are awarded negatively according to severity of punishments for being accused of having gay sex. There is -1 point for each year of imprisonment, -20 points for life imprisonment or corporal punishment, and, -50 points if homosexuality carries the death penalty. Many countries only have such laws against male homosexuality, but, where the laws are gender unequal, I've still assigned the worse possible points. In some cases I have reduced points if it is public knowledge that the country does not actually make its discriminatory laws effective. If gay sex is not illegal, then, points are awarded according to how long it has been legal, to a maximum of 10 points. Generally, from 1970 and further back, one point is awarded per decade.

3. Comparisons of Regions and Continents

AreaSocial & Moral
Development Index
8Higher
is better
LGBT
Equality
9Higher
is better
Africa...46.4-58
Asia...56.8-61
Australasia61.2-18
Baltic States71.427
Caribbean...65.1-55
Central America60.531
Europe...71.387
Mediterranean...62.740
Melanesia55.4-69
Micronesia58.820
Middle East...53.3-142
North America64.51
Polynesia64.4-35
Scandinavia...85.3170
Small Islands...62.9-25
South America60.171
The Americas...63.022
The Balkans63.530
World58.6-7

4. The Full Table of Results for All Countries

Rankings
1Netherlands405
2Belgium350
3Canada280
4Sweden255
5Spain245
6S. Africa241
7Denmark225
8Iceland220
9Andorra210
10Norway210
11Argentina200
12Brazil196
13France195
14Réunion185
15Mexico168
16Luxembourg165
17Greenland135
18Portugal135
19UK130
20Uruguay125
21Peru120
22Italy115
23Guatemala115
24Poland115
25Paraguay110
Data Source
Rankings
26Honduras110
27Monaco110
28Japan110
29Turkey100
30Germany100
31Suriname100
32Vietnam100
33New Zealand90
34Croatia90
35Switzerland90
36USA88
37Finland85
38Guam80
39Czech Rep.80
40Slovenia70
41Colombia65
42Ecuador55
43Romania50
44Austria45
45Greece45
46Ireland45
47Bulgaria40
48Israel40
49Hungary35
50Slovakia35
Data Source
Rankings
51Liechtenstein35
52Jersey35
53Australia32
54Cuba30
55Lithuania30
56Chile30
57Nepal30
58Albania30
59Serbia30
60Montenegro30
61Thailand30
62Micronesia30
63Latvia25
64Estonia25
65El Salvador25
66Nicaragua25
67Malta25
68Costa Rica25
69Moldova25
70Georgia25
71Cyprus25
72Guernsey25
73Bolivia25
74Bosnia & Herzegovina25
75Venezuela25
Data Source
Rankings
76Gabon20
77St Helena20
78Marshall Islands20
79Mongolia20
80Cape Verde20
81Central African Rep.20
82Macedonia20
83Dominican Rep.20
84Korea, S.20
85San Marino20
86Panama20
87Timor-Leste (E. Timor)20
88Ascension Islands20
89Kosovo20
90Russia20
91Ukraine20
92Mozambique20
93Armenia20
94Philippines18
95Fiji15
96Cambodia15
97Taiwan15
98Rwanda15
99Gibraltar15
100Kyrgyzstan10
Data Source
Rankings
101Laos10
102Equatorial Guinea10
103Belarus10
104Hong Kong10
105Macau10
106Bahamas10
107Azerbaijan10
108India10
109Haiti10
110Vatican City10
111Jordan10
112Vanuatu10
113Montserrat10
114Congo, DR10
115Burkina Faso10
116Sao Tome & Principe10
117Puerto Rico10
118China10
119Madagascar10
120Congo, (Brazzaville)10
121Bermuda10
122Anguilla10
123Nauru0
124Palau0
125Samoa0
Data Source
Rankings
126Chad0
127Sri Lanka0
128Ivory Coast-10
129Indonesia-10
130Iraq-10
131Namibia-10
132Angola-10
133Kazakhstan-10
134Kiribati-10
135Bhutan-10
136Mali-10
137Lesotho-10
138Liberia-10
139Niger-10
140Tajikistan-10
141Guinea-Bissau-15
142Egypt-20
143Burundi-20
144Djibouti-20
145Bahrain-20
146Singapore-20
147Guinea-20
148Maldives-20
149Korea, N.-20
150Swaziland-30
Data Source
Rankings
151Lebanon-30
152Ethiopia-30
153Somalia-30
154Uzbekistan-30
155Zimbabwe-30
156Ghana-30
157Mauritius-40
158Turkmenistan-40
159Algeria-40
160Pakistan-40
161Botswana-50
162Morocco-50
163Togo-50
164Benin-50
165Oman-50
166Syria-50
167Eritrea-50
168Tunisia-50
169Cameroon-70
170Libya-70
171Qatar-70
172Comoros-70
173Senegal-70
174Dominica-90
175St Vincent & Grenadines-100
Data Source
Rankings
176Jamaica-100
177Barbados-100
178Grenada-100
179St Kitts & Nevis-100
180Tonga-100
181S. Sudan-100
182Belize-100
183St Lucia-120
184Trinidad & Tobago-120
185Kuwait-120
186Bangladesh-120
187Brunei-120
188Tuvalu-130
189Seychelles-130
190Papua New Guinea-140
191Zambia-140
192Antigua & Barbuda-150
193Kenya-160
194Solomon Islands-160
195Gambia-160
196Sierra Leone-195
197Guyana-200
198Myanmar (Burma)-200
199Uganda-220
200Malawi-220
Data Source
Rankings
201Mauritania-220
202Nigeria-220
203Malaysia-220
204Tanzania-220
205Somaliland-500
206Saudi Arabia-520
207Sudan-520
208UAE-520
209Iran-520
210Yemen-520
211Afghanistan-520
Data Source

Current edition: 2016 Jun 04
http://www.humantruth.info/lgbt_rights_across_the_world.html
Parent page: Human Sexuality

All #tags used on this page - click for more:

#argentina #china #christianity #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #iran #islam #law #mauritania #netherlands #nigeria #norway #religion #russia #saudi_arabia #sexuality #south_africa #spain #sudan #tolerance #UK #USA #yemen

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References: (What's this?)

Book Cover

Book Cover

The Economist. Published by The Economist Group, Ltd. A weekly newspaper in magazine format, famed for its accuracy, wide scope and intelligent content. See vexen.co.uk/references.html#Economist for some commentary on this source..

Donnelly, Jack
(2013) Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. 3rd edition. Published by Cornell University Press.

Mottier, Veronique
(2008) Sexuality: A Very Short Introduction. Published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Waaldijk, Kees
(1994) Article "Standard Sequences in the Legal Recognition of Homosexuality: Europe's Past, Present, and Future" published in the Australian Gay and Lesbian Law Journal 4 (4):5-72. In Donnelly (2013) p290.

Footnotes

  1. Donnelly (2013) p278.^
  2. The Economist (2012 Mar 03) article "Homophobia: It's getting better".^
  3. Mottier (2008) digital location 720-23.^
  4. www.pinknews.co.uk/... article "Members of UKIP official website compare homosexuality to bestiality and paedeophilia" (2013 Jan 14). Accessed 2014 Jan 23.^
  5. Mottier (2008) digital location 1617.^
  6. Waaldijk (1994) 51-52.^
  7. Donnelly (2013) chapter "16 Nondiscrimination for All: The Case of Sexual Minorities" p290.^
  8. The Social and Moral Index by Vexen Crabtree (As of 2017 Apr 13).^
  9. LGBT sources:^

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