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Some History of LGBT Related Laws

History of LGBT-Related Laws

Taken From WikiPedia

Throughout history and across cultures, the regulation of sexuality reflects broader cultural norms.

Most of the history of sexuality is unrecorded. Even recorded norms do not always shed full light on actual practices, as it is sometimes the case that historical accounts are written by foreigners with cryptic political agendas.

In the earlier centuries of ancient Rome (particularly during the Roman Republic) and prior to its Christianization, the Lex Scantinia forbade homosexual acts. In later centuries during, men of status were free to have sexual intercourse, heterosexual or homosexual, with anyone of a lower social status, provided that they remained dominant during such interaction. During the reign of Caligula, prostitution was legalized and taxed, and homosexual prostitution was seen openly in conjunction with heterosexual prostitution. The Warren Cup is a rare example of a Roman artefact that depicts homosexuality that was not destroyed by Christian authorities, although it was suppressed. A fresco from the public baths of the once buried city of Pompeii depicts a homosexual and bisexual sex act involving two adult men and one adult woman. The Etruscan civilization left behind the Tomb of the Diver, which depicts homosexual men in the afterlife.

In feudal Japan, homosexuality was recognized, between equals (bi-do), in terms of pederasty (wakashudo), and in terms of prostitution. The Samurai period was one in which homosexuality was seen as particularly positive. In Japan, the younger partner in a pederastic relationship was expected to make the first move; the opposite was true in ancient Greece. Homosexuality was later briefly criminalized due to Westernization.

The berdache two-spirit class in some Native American tribes are examples of ways in which some cultures integrated homosexuals into their society by viewing them, not with the homosexual and heterosexual dichotomy of most of the modern world, but as twin beings, possessing aspects of both sexes.

The ancient Law of Moses (the Torah) forbids men lying with men (intercourse) in Leviticus 18 and gives a story of attempted homosexual rape in Genesis in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities being soon destroyed after that. The death penalty was prescribed.

Similar prohibitions are found across Indo-European cultures in Lex Scantinia in Ancient Rome and nith in protohistoric Germanic culture, or the Middle Assyrian Law Codes dating 1075 BC.

Laws prohibiting homosexuality were also passed in communist China. (The People's Republic of China neither adopted an Abrahamic religion nor was colonized, except for Hong Kong and Macau which were colonized with Victorian era social mores and maintain separate legal system from the rest of the PRC.) Homosexuality was not decriminalized there until 1997. Prior to 1997, homosexual in mainland China was found guilty included in a general definition under the vague vocabulary of hooliganism, there are no specifically anti-homosexual laws.

In modern times eight countries have no official heterosexist discrimination. They are Argentina, Belgium, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, and Spain. This full non-discrimination includes the rights of marriage and adoption. Two additional countries have marriage rights for same-sex couples, namely Portugal and Canada, but in Portugal this right does not include same-sex adoption, and in Canada it varies by jurisdiction (it is legal everywhere except in Nunavut and Yukon). The Canadian Blood Services’ policy indefinitely defers any man who has sex with another man, even once, since 1977. LGBT people in the USA face different laws for certain medical procedures than other groups. For example, gay men have been prohibited from giving blood since 1983, and George W. Bush's FDA guidelines barred them from being sperm donors as of 2005, even though all donated sperm is screened for sexually-transmitted diseases and even the most promiscuous heterosexual men are not barred from donating.

Appreciation to AGM for his contribution.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Punitive Laws Thwart HIV Prevention

Punitive laws thwart fight against HIV in homosexual men in Asia-Pacific – UN

21 July 2010 – The continued criminalization of male-to-male sex in the Asia-Pacific, resulting in harassment and other human rights violations, is hurting the region’s response to HIV, a new United Nations Development Programme has found. Of the 48 countries in the region, 19 of them – including Afghanistan, Bhutan, Kiribati and Malaysia – have outlawed sex between consenting male adults, with these laws often used by vigilantes in ways that lead to abuse and rights violations.
The new report notes that police selectively target men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people, leading to assault, extortion and detention in some Asia-Pacific countries with repressive legal environments.
It said that police harassment of outreach workers, many of whom are themselves are MSM or transgender, interrupt HIV prevention services.
Police often raid events where HIV education takes place and censor materials containing information on the epidemic, UNDP said, while laws banning sodomy discourage the formation of support groups, which are vital for effective peer-based HIV prevention, care and support.
HIV prevalence among this group is significantly higher that it is in the general adult population in Asia, it noted, warning that nearly half of all new infections will be among MSM by 2020 unless prevention efforts receive a boost.
Nearly half of the countries in the Asia-Pacific identify MSM as being most at risk in their HIV programmes, even though some of their legal environments remain repressive.
“Legislation and law enforcement often lags behind national HIV policy, with the result that the reach and effectiveness of programmes for MSM and transgender people are limited,” the report found.
It also pointed to the multiple forms of stigma that they confront in most of the region, including discrimination in accessing health care, education, employment and justice.
UNDP did note some positive developments in the region, with eight jurisdictions now recognizing that some constitutional protections extend to sexual minorities.
In Nepal, for example, the Supreme Court has interpreted the interim constitution as guaranteeing equal rights to people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Government is also considering proposals to introduce wide-ranging legal protections from discrimination regarding sexuality as it drafts its new constitution.
“However, these are exceptional developments,” UNDP said. “Examples of high-level political action and law reform to introduce enabling legal environments for MSM and transgender people are rare.”
Among the new report’s recommendations are the repealing of laws criminalizing sex between consenting adults, as well as supporting community-based education and advocacy on the human rights of MSM and transgender people.
It also calls for anti-discrimination laws to be enacted across the region in relation to sexual orientation and transgender status.

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