A look at the countries where LGBTQ+ is not something celebrated
June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month. That means parades, celebrations, self-expression, and acknowledgment. At least, in the US that is. While people in the LGBTQ+ community still face struggles every day all over the world, the United States included, it is sometimes easy to forget that there are some places in the world where being a part of the LGBTQ+ community can mean imprisonment, and in some cases, death.
There are an abundance of places that have criminalized same-sex relations around the world. In Liberia, the penalty for same-sex intercourse can be a maximum of one year in prison, and/or a fine of $1,000. In 2012, a direct quote from the Speaker of the House of Representatives named Alex Tyler was “I am a Methodist and traditionalist. I will never support a gay bill because it is damaging to the survival of the country.” And he is not alone in his stance. According to 76crimes.com, there are 74 countries as of April of this year that have laws against people in the LGBTQ+ community. In some cases, such as in Afghanistan, LGBTQ+ people can be put to death for who they are.
Many of the countries that have anti-LGBTQ+ laws are located in the Eastern hemisphere, condensed to many parts of Africa and southern Asia, and there is also a lot of discrimination in the Middle East. A well-known place for discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is Russia. While same-sex intercourse was finally legalized in 1993, and gender identity and expression laws, specifically legal gender change, were finalized in 1997, there are no legal discrimination protections in place. The anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in Russia is well known around the world, and is periodically brought up in the news and online. Years ago, there was a few images circulating the web of Vladimir Putin with rainbow flags and drag makeup. These images were popular in 2013 after the Russian government prohibited propaganda that showed “non-traditional sexual relationships” being given to children.
It is undeniable that people in the LGBTQ+ community are met with hate and prejudice in the United States despite the strides that have been made here, and those acts of hate and violence should not be forgotten or swept under the rug. However, this Pride Month let us not forget about those who don’t have a voice to go against or speak out against their oppressors. Celebrate those who cannot celebrate themselves due to the unjust and violent laws they may face in their homelands.
ANNA LOPEZ is a rising sophomore at Ithaca college. She is a writing major with aspirations of heading to law school after completing her undergraduate years. She loves animals, art, and travel; she can't wait to see where writing takes her!