A world where homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality and everything in between is possible is what Angelo dreams of. In today’s column, he sheds light on some important numbers and facts, following IDAHOT.
Homophobia: The fear that gay men will treat you like you treat women
Today is IDAHOT, the international day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. The day was first established in 2003 to shed light on the persistent insecure position of lgbtqia+ persons in society.
To this day, a relationship or having sexual relations (by consensus) with someone of one’s own sex is punishable in 71(!) countries worldwide. In 11 countries of these, the death penalty tops the list of punishments.
The role of the European Commission
The European Commission is working very fiercely on inclusiveness right now. They are integrating within the EU policy the fight against discrimination. These guidelines ensure that policy makers and countries have a set framework, to ensure that every member of the lgbtqia+ community can freely express themselves in whatever way they want.
Part of the European Commission’s work, for example, are also the agreements made in 2016 with companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. The agreements include a clear action plan to review and even remove hate speech online within 24 hours if necessary.
Currently, they are also leading the call for equality around the world. One of the components of this is the fact that if your husband or wife is legally established in another country, you automatically have the right to reside in that country as well. Even if that country does not recognize same-sex marriages.
To my great surprise, I recently read that countries such as Jamaica and even the Dominican Republic are among the list of 71 countries that criminalize homosexuality. In reality, I would like to add a certain nuance to this. Especially since I have visited both countries several times and have decided to move there. At no time did I feel unsafe in the Dominican Republic or even in Jamaica.
I did learn that homosexuality or being part of the lgbtqia+ community is different if you are not a tourist, for example. In these types of countries there is a big “don’t ask, don’t tell” culture. As a local you better not draw too much attention in public and show that you are homosexual. Although things do change more and more. As a tourist, you have less trouble with that.
So despite the fact that we are making small (and sometimes bigger) steps toward acceptance and equality, there is still a lot of work to be done. This is precisely why days like IDAHOT are so important. We cannot trivialize this and must continue to fight for a world full of change.
Are you currently sitting with questions about coming-out. As an individual in the closet, or as a parent who does not know how to deal with it. Or do you want to be part of the movement and make a difference? Sign up now for a Buddy Talk or join the group chat on June 14.