International Policy Digest

Culture /18 Nov 2020
11.18.20

4 Global LGBTQ Issues You Should Be Aware Of

For those who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, or even passionate allies, it can sometimes be jarring to consider what life is like in other places around the world, especially with the strides many countries have made recently towards acceptance.

No place is perfect, and many people still struggle in even some of the safest places for LGBTQ+ individuals. Each country also has its own system of rights as well as restrictions that contribute to oppression. Even if those struggles aren’t as familiar to us, it can be important to learn about LGBTQ+ experiences in other parts of the world.

From Egypt to Japan, there are plenty of countries that persecute non-heteronormative people in one way or another. Learning about these experiences can help people become more informed allies and understand the way that queer people live all over the world.

LGBTQ Abuse in Egypt

While the situation in Egypt has worsened for LGBTQ+ individuals since the current president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, took power in 2014, queer individuals living there have experienced abuse at the hands of the public and the government for years.

Officials often arrest people for “debauchery” in order to detain protestors and LGBTQ+ individuals, subjecting them to abuse, assault, and even torture while in captivity. Egypt is one of several countries that criminalize homosexuality, which leads to horrible human rights violations like these.

Persecution in Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan has one of the worst human rights records in the world. LGBTQ+ individuals live in fear of persecution and torture, and homosexuality is explicitly criminalized. Even suspicion of homosexuality is often punished, with queer women in particular often being the targets of sexual violence or even “honor killings” within their own families.

This leads many LGBTQ+ people towards refugee status or can cause them to seek asylum in other countries where they can lead safer lives.

Ugandan Homeless Youth Challenges During COVID

During the pandemic, being homeless and queer has landed many young people in jail in Uganda. Officials have arrested many LGBTQ+ youth under charges of “negligent act likely to spread infection of disease” for no other reason than living in a shelter. What’s more, many officials are using the pandemic as an excuse to refuse legal representation to detainees and keep them under lock and key for 50 days.

While some cases have been dropped through the tireless work of humanitarian lawyers, the laws and policies must change dramatically in order to see more permanent changes.

Forced Sterilization of Trans People in Japan

While homosexuality is legal — though gay marriage is not legally recognized — in Japan, their human rights issues come from their treatment of the trans community.

Transgender individuals are only allowed to change their official legal gender on documents if they undergo complete and permanent sterilization in a process that involves removing all reproductive organs. Not only is this an invasion of personal rights and autonomy, but it also demands additional harsh medical experiences in a community with many people already undergoing gender affirmation procedures.

While many global leaders have pushed for Japan to end this antiquated policy, no changes have been made to it yet.

Global Issues in the LGBTQ Community

Each country has its own LGBTQ+ issues, and it’s important to be aware of them on a global scale, rather than just within one’s own circle. Whether you are queer yourself, or you’re an ally who stands alongside the community, becoming more informed about the experiences of LGBTQ+ people around the world can help us learn where the most change is needed.

While it can be hard to learn about the mistreatment that goes on in other places, it can help push activists and world citizens to fight harder for the causes that matter. The LGBTQ+ community is a global one, and each member deserves safety, respect, and rights.