July 14, 2011

Gay Rights Worldwide

The campaign for gay rights in the United States is certainly an important struggle for social justice. Most people know, however, that LGBT folks are better off in the U.S. than in most countries, though perhaps they are not treated quite so well as in some European nations.

What many people do not appreciate is just how badly gays are treated in some places, particularly in Africa. Sunday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette carried an enlightening essay on this topic by Jonathan Zimmerman, professor of history and education at New York University. Writing from Ghana, Zimmerman said, in part,
Consider that 76 countries ban homosexuality, and half are located here in Africa. Kenya makes gay sex punishable by five to 14 years in jail. It carries a penalty of 10 years in Zimbabwe, where dictator Robert Mugabe has accused “gay gangsters” from the West of conspiring against his regime. The parliament of Uganda is still considering legislation that would impose the death penalty on anyone convicted of having gay sex, despite an international outcry.
You can read Zimmerman’s complete report, “Where gay people are not allowed to exist,” on the newspaper’s Web site here.

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