LGBTQ+ Rights in the World Today
At the time of writing, around twenty one countries have legalised gay marriage. This includes countries such as Canada, France, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the USA, with the Netherlands being the first to legalise it in 2001, but the world is still far from equal.
The United Kingdom:
Transgender people have had the right to change their legal gender in the UK since 2005. The same year, same sex couples were given the right to enter into a civil partnership (which is of a similar legal structure to marriage), and were also allowed to adopt in England and Wales. Scotland later allowed adoption rights for same sex couples in 2009, and Northern Ireland in 2013. Gay marriage was legalised in England, Wales and Scotland in 2014. However, it is still illegal in Northern Ireland where it is recognised as a civil partnership, although in the rest of Ireland, gay marriage has been legalised since November 2015, when 62% of the citizens of Ireland voted ‘yes’.
The United States of America:
Currently, twenty two out of fifty states outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, and nineteen states outlaw discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity are also punishable by federal law as of 2009. Adoption of children by same sex married couples has been made legal nationwide since June 2015. However, laws regarding adoption vary greatly from place to place. Some states allow adoption by same sex couples, while others ban all unmarried couples from adoption.
Russia is infamous for its law against ‘gay propaganda’, which states that "the propagandising of non-traditional sexual relations among minors" is illegal. This means that people can be fined for providing information about homosexuality to those under 18. These fines range from 4,000 roubles (£78) for an individual, to 1 million roubles (around £9,845) for organisations.
Critics say that this law’s loose wording, and its free interpretation by the authorities, make any sort of public gay rights event almost impossible, and it has resulted in a lot of homophobic propaganda, violence and hate crimes in Russia. In the capital, Moscow, "gay pride" events have been banned for around 100 years by court order.
"We [LGBT people] are treated as subhuman, with no civil or human rights. We are social non-entities, and we are even considered diseased and dangerous to society," said Prosvirnina, a self-titled drag king who goes by the stage name Iven Batler.
Sadly, although the world is definitely more equal than it was 15 years ago, it is still very far from being accepting of all members of the LGBTQ+ community everywhere.