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Threats Abroad Make Gays Less Safe in the West

Posted on Mar 14, 2014

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Eleanor Margolis, writing in New Statesman, argues that “every piece of homophobic legislation enacted by a foreign government has a knock-on effect on ours.”

New Statesman:

In both India and Uganda, the latest anti-gay legislation is an ugly colonial throwback. In India, “unnatural” sex was criminalised during British rule in the 19th century. In Uganda, the same breed of US evangelical right-wingers who are doing their utmost to un-evolve their own country have, over many years, turned the east African nation into a fundamentalist Christian hate hub. While Obama has fervently condemned Uganda’s abuse of its gay population, it seems ironic that those largely responsible for it are American missionaries.

Here in the west, it’s easy for us to look at human rights abuses in faraway places and shake our heads. Maybe we’ll suggest cutting financial aid to those countries or something. Yet when LGBT people are persecuted abroad, our own gay rights record is diminished. Every piece of homophobic legislation enacted by a foreign government has a knock-on effect on ours. We’re the ones deporting LGBT asylum seekers to countries that will imprison or execute them. We’re the ones who let the Home Office degrade these immigrants by demanding that they “prove” their sexuality, as if such a thing were possible (I imagine a lot of porn films start that way). Perhaps none of us are Homo sapiens yet.

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—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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