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 #equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #iran #islam #mauritania #netherlands #nigeria #norway #russia #saudi_arabia #sexuality #south_africa #spain #sudan #tolerance #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.

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"4. 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)5. 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)"6. 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)7

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.8

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)9

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
Higher is better

Points10
LGBT Equality (2013)
Higher is better

Score3
Africa...44.7-57.9
Asia...53.9-61.4
Australasia51.9-17.5
Baltic States66.326.7
Caribbean...56.7-55.0
Central America56.031.4
Europe...65.387.1
Mediterranean...57.639.8
Melanesia51.4-68.8
Micronesia43.420.0
Middle East...50.2-142.2
North America57.400.8
Polynesia56.6-35.0
Scandinavia...78.9170.0
Small Islands...54.7-25.3
South America57.270.9
The Americas...57.321.8
The Balkans57.230.0
World54.5-07.3

4. The Full Table of Results for All Countries

Rankings (2013)
Higher is better

Score3
1Netherlands405
2Belgium350
3Canada280
4Sweden255
5Spain245
6S. Africa241
7Denmark225
8Iceland220
9Norway210
10Andorra210
11Argentina200
12Brazil196
13France195
14Réunion185
15Mexico168
16Luxembourg165
17Portugal135
18Greenland135
19UK130
20Uruguay125
21Peru120
22Poland115
23Guatemala115
24Italy115
25Paraguay110
q=211.
Rankings (2013)
Higher is better

Score3
26Japan110
27Monaco110
28Honduras110
29Suriname100
30Turkey100
31Germany100
32Vietnam100
33New Zealand90
34Switzerland90
35Croatia90
36USA88
37Finland85
38Czech Rep.80
39Guam80
40Slovenia70
41Colombia65
42Ecuador55
43Romania50
44Ireland45
45Austria45
46Greece45
47Israel40
48Bulgaria40
49Slovakia35
50Hungary35
q=211.
Rankings (2013)
Higher is better

Score3
51Liechtenstein35
52Jersey35
53Australia32
54Cuba30
55Montenegro30
56Albania30
57Micronesia30
58Lithuania30
59Thailand30
60Nepal30
61Chile30
62Serbia30
63Latvia25
64Malta25
65Moldova25
66Bolivia25
67Guernsey25
68Georgia25
69Bosnia & Herzegovina25
70Venezuela25
71Estonia25
72Nicaragua25
73El Salvador25
74Costa Rica25
75Cyprus25
q=211.
Rankings (2013)
Higher is better

Score3
76Kosovo20
77Timor-Leste (E. Timor)20
78Ascension Islands20
79Panama20
80San Marino20
81Mozambique20
82Macedonia20
83Mongolia20
84Marshall Islands20
85Armenia20
86Dominican Rep.20
87Ukraine20
88Central African Rep.20
89St Helena20
90Gabon20
91Cape Verde20
92Korea, S.20
93Russia20
94Philippines18
95Cambodia15
96Rwanda15
97Taiwan15
98Fiji15
99Gibraltar15
100Puerto Rico10
q=211.
Rankings (2013)
Higher is better

Score3
101Haiti10
102Kyrgyzstan10
103Laos10
104Azerbaijan10
105India10
106China10
107Vatican City10
108Sao Tome & Principe10
109Anguilla10
110Equatorial Guinea10
111Vanuatu10
112Hong Kong10
113Congo, (Brazzaville)10
114Macau10
115Congo, DR10
116Montserrat10
117Belarus10
118Bermuda10
119Bahamas10
120Burkina Faso10
121Jordan10
122Madagascar10
123Chad0
124Nauru0
125Sri Lanka0
q=211.
Rankings (2013)
Higher is better

Score3
126Samoa0
127Palau0
128Angola-10
129Kiribati-10
130Ivory Coast-10
131Niger-10
132Namibia-10
133Tajikistan-10
134Lesotho-10
135Liberia-10
136Iraq-10
137Kazakhstan-10
138Mali-10
139Indonesia-10
140Bhutan-10
141Guinea-Bissau-15
142Singapore-20
143Bahrain-20
144Korea, N.-20
145Maldives-20
146Burundi-20
147Djibouti-20
148Egypt-20
149Guinea-20
150Ethiopia-30
q=211.
Rankings (2013)
Higher is better

Score3
151Swaziland-30
152Lebanon-30
153Somalia-30
154Ghana-30
155Zimbabwe-30
156Uzbekistan-30
157Turkmenistan-40
158Mauritius-40
159Pakistan-40
160Algeria-40
161Syria-50
162Eritrea-50
163Tunisia-50
164Togo-50
165Botswana-50
166Benin-50
167Morocco-50
168Oman-50
169Comoros-70
170Cameroon-70
171Libya-70
172Senegal-70
173Qatar-70
174Dominica-90
175St Vincent & Grenadines-100
q=211.
Rankings (2013)
Higher is better

Score3
176Grenada-100
177Jamaica-100
178S. Sudan-100
179St Kitts & Nevis-100
180Barbados-100
181Belize-100
182Tonga-100
183St Lucia-120
184Bangladesh-120
185Brunei-120
186Trinidad & Tobago-120
187Kuwait-120
188Seychelles-130
189Tuvalu-130
190Papua New Guinea-140
191Zambia-140
192Antigua & Barbuda-150
193Solomon Islands-160
194Gambia-160
195Kenya-160
196Sierra Leone-195
197Guyana-200
198Myanmar (Burma)-200
199Uganda-220
200Malawi-220
q=211.
Rankings (2013)
Higher is better

Score3
201Tanzania-220
202Mauritania-220
203Malaysia-220
204Nigeria-220
205Somaliland-500
206Iran-520
207Yemen-520
208Sudan-520
209Saudi Arabia-520
210Afghanistan-520
211UAE-520
q=211.

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 #equality #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. Higher is better. Sources:^^^
  4. Mottier (2008) digital location 720-23.^
  5. www.pinknews.co.uk/... article "Members of UKIP official website compare homosexuality to bestiality and paedeophilia" (2013 Jan 14). Accessed 2014 Jan 23.^
  6. Mottier (2008) digital location 1617.^
  7. Mottier (2008) digital location 720-723.^
  8. Waaldijk (1994) 51-52.^
  9. Donnelly (2013) chapter "16 Nondiscrimination for All: The Case of Sexual Minorities" p290.^
  10. "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" by Vexen Crabtree (2017)^

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