International Activists Fight Anti-LGBTQ Crackdowns

While levels of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination rose to new heights during 2016 and the first half of 2017—with anti-gay atrocities committed in Chechnya sending shockwaves around the world—a handful of countries also made unprecedented moves to recognize same-sex relations or enact stronger LGBT protections.

“The international community’s demand for investigations and prosecution for perpetrators of violations in Chechnya is important,” says Kim Vance, executive director of ARC International, referring to the detention and torture of 100 men perceived to be gay by authorities in the Russian autonomous region.

“Now we need a concerted effort to more fully expose the situation there and elsewhere around the world for all LGBT people,” says Vance, whose organization promotes LGBT human rights globally.

The vicious Chechnya assaults came four years after Russia passed an anti-propaganda law barring all positive presentations of same-sex lifestyles—legislation that may be replicated in neighboring countries, including Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, and Latvia.1

The European Court of Human Rights, in a June 2017 decision, condemned the law for increasing homophobia and discrimination against LGBT people, and awarded damages to three activists who had been arrested carrying banners saying that homosexuality was natural.

Government-imposed or sanctioned harassment and violence toward LGBT citizens also rose during 2016 in Turkey; Bangladesh; and Aceh, Indonesia, along with worsening of security for the Philippines’ LGBT communities. Read more via the Arcus Foundation