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The International War on LGBT People

The International War on LGBT People

There is a war being waged on LGBT people throughout the world. In Iraq, teenagers suspected of being gay have become targeted for beatings that frequently turn fatal. In Russia, the national legislature may soon consider legislation that would prohibit any form of LGBT advocacy. In Uganda, the government is –yet again – considering legislation that would impose the death penalty on lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. In recent weeks, Iraqi gay youth – and youth suspected of being gay –are being killed with even greater frequency than usual. Militias have distributed hit lists. In the last six weeks, as many as 58 Iraqis who are gay or perceived to be gay – many of them only teenagers – have been killed; some have been bludgeoned to death with cement blocks. (You can read about some of the victims here – warning: there are graphic images.) Perhaps worst of all, these militias are believed to be operating with the support of the Iraqi government.

Meanwhile, in Russia, national legislation may soon be introduced to prohibit “homosexual propaganda,” which in practice means any advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community. Similar pieces of legislation have already passed in four cities, including St. Petersburg. Now the Russian Orthodox Church, one of the most powerful groups in the country, is pushing the national government to follow suit – supposedly to “protect children” from “homosexual propaganda” (language eerily similar to that used by many opponents of anti-bullying legislation in the United States). In Uganda, where homosexuality is already illegal and punishable by a prison sentence, the legislature is once again considering what has become widely known as the “Kill the Gays” Bill. Although the government had once decided that the laws currently prohibiting homosexuality were “sufficient,” the legislature has voted to re-open debate on the measure. Not long ago, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the United States would use its foreign policy, including foreign aid, to promote LGBT equality and human rights abroad. Let’s hope that this policy will mitigate these possible – or, in the case of Iraq, existing – tragedies. Image courtesy of

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