In the last decade, conversations about LGBTQ rights – from healthcare to the right to marry – have skyrocketed in America. And while the United States is by no means free of bigotry and injustice directed towards gay people, overall acceptance of and support for the LGBTQ community has also made great strides, with campaigns like It Gets Better making mainstream headlines and national impact.
But the struggle for LGBTQ rights is hardly just an American issue. Around the world, people of other countries are fighting just as passionately for justice. Below, we’ve offered a few snapshots (by no means an exhaustive list!) that paint a picture of the global LGBTQ movement.
Brazil In May, Brazil became the third (after Argentina and Uruguay) and largest Latin American country to give a “defacto greenlight” on same sex marriages by saying that government offices that issue marriage licenses cannot turn away gay couples. It’s a big move for a country that is predominantly Roman Catholic. More than a million people celebrated this year’s pride parade in Sao Paulo.
China: A few years ago, China celebrated its first Pride Week – though much of the celebration was muted by governmental interference. More recently, an activist and organizer of this year’s Pride March was disconcertingly detained.
France: In May, France signed gay marriage into law – it is the 14th country to do so (after New Zealand, which legalized same-sex marriage about one month earlier.) Not long after, the first gay wedding was celebrated. However, at the same time, tens of thousands of people turned out to protest the new ruling.
Israel has positioned itself as a haven for the country’s LGBTQ population, especially in Tel Aviv (less-so in more conservative Jerusalem). Gays can serve openly in the army and gay marriages from other countries are honored – though gay marriage is not sanctioned within the country itself. (Bonus: watch this sweet It Gets Better video by an Israeli family speaking about their transgendered family member.)
Nigeria: Known for its vocal intolerance of the LGBTQ community, the Nigerian House of Representatives recently passed an anti-gay bill, that criminalizes same-sex marriage, relationships and even membership to gay-rights groups (the country’s President has not yet signed it into law). Punishment includes jail sentences of up to 14 years. Despite the horrendous pressures against the gay community, Nigerian gay-rights activist organizations like Alliance Rights, Nigeria and Queer Alliance Nigeria, continue to fight for LGBTQ rights.
New Zealand In April, New Zealand’s parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage, making them the 13th country to do so, and the only one in the Asia-Pacific region. After the bill’s passing, spectators in parliament (and some of the lawmakers themselves) burst out into joyous song.
Curious about other countries’ stances on gay rights? Check out Global Post’s interactive graphic that lets you search by country for info.