Studying in Scotland, it is tempting and somewhat natural to believe that acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community is universally on the rise; that soon we’ll live in a world where it won’t matter whose hand you hold as you walk down the street. And whilst many nations have taken great strides towards equality, we still live in a divided world. So, let’s have a look at this flux by discussing 8 countries and their track record on gay rights.
From legalising same-sex marriage back in 2005 to having over 85 per cent of its general population accepting of the community, Canada has been described as the most gay-friendly country in the world for several years running. It’s no wonder they receive thousands of LGBTQ+ refugees annually.
In 2020, Costa Rica become the first country in Central America to legalise same-sex marriage, with President Quesada issuing a public apology to the LGBTQ+ community for past persecution and discrimination. Nevertheless, there are still clashes between gay rights groups and religious organisations, who have voiced their opposition to recent changes.
Unlike many South American countries, Peru hasn’t yet fully legalised same-sex marriage. That’s not to say that LGBTQ+ citizens aren’t protected by law, just that they aren’t covered as rigorously as their heterosexual counterparts. According to a survey conducted in 2019, just under 50 per cent of Peruvians had a positive view of the LGBTQ+ community, with younger generations and those who lived in cities showing the most support.
Following a close election in 2020 that resulted in Far-Right politician Andrzej Duda being elected, towns across the country were able to selfidentify as ‘free from LGBT ideology.’ Additionally, the government have taken steps to prevent same-sex marriage and adoption rights, as well as the teaching of LGBTQ+ issues in school.
It unfortunately comes with hardly any surprise that Iran has one of the worst records in the world when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues, with it being punishable by death to engage in homosexual activity. In a country where human rights officials in government describe homosexuality as “an illness to be cured,” it is clear that state-sanctioned homophobia greatly limits public acceptance.
Whilst same-sex couples aren’t granted the same legal protection available to opposite-sex counterparts, Japan is generally considered progressive by Asian standards. Anti-discrimination laws are regional, but recent research
shows over half the population support the extension of protective legislation.
Being the first African country to legalise same-sex marriage, as well as legally recognising gender change since 2003, South African LGBTQ+
citizens are widely protected by anti-discrimination laws. Nevertheless, hate crimes still threaten the safety of these citizens, particularly outside of the major cities.
It’s no secret that kiwis have one of the highest acceptance rates of the LGBTQ+ community in the world, and their message of kindness and tolerance to all has shifted global attitudes. And as if you need any more reasons to adore their leader, Jacinda Ardern, she recently appointed the country’s first openly gay Deputy Prime Minister.