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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.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Faces Of "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

Photos of gay service members make statement about policy

By Chuck Conder, CNN
November 15, 2010 -- Updated 1812 GMT (0212 HKT)
  • Photographer says idea for project came from the soldiers, sailors and Marines themselves
  • The photo exhibit "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" conveys the stories of gay U.S. military members
  • Exhibit comes as controversial policy is being challenged in the courts
(CNN) -- A soldier and his shadow sit alone on wrinkled sheets. With his knees pressed tightly up against his chest, he wraps his arms around his legs and bows his head.
In another photo, a soldier stands before a mirror. His raised hand covers just enough of his reflection to protect his anonymity.
But it's not photographer Jeff Sheng from whom these men are hiding their identities.
It's the military.
Sheng's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" exhibit, two years in the making, conveys the stories of the gay and bisexual men and women who serve in the U.S. military. And because his subjects are forced to keep their sexual orientations under wraps in order to serve, Shen's photos are portraits without faces.
The Los Angeles, California-based artist said many of his subjects were grateful for the opportunity to make a statement "without fully revealing themselves and losing their jobs."
"If this person got outed, they would lose their pension, their retirement benefits -- their 20 years of service in the military would be gone," he said.
Sheng asked many of those he photographed why they continue to serve despite the inequality.
"I asked, 'Why do you still serve with this policy in place? Why would you do it?' " Sheng said. "And they all looked at me and said, 'Because it's serving the country. It's the most honorable thing that I can think of doing right now in my life.' "
Sheng is also the creator of "Fearless," photographs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered high school and college athletes who are public about their sexual identities. He is working on a project focusing on undocumented Americans.
The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" photos were exhibited last week in Washington at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters, and Sheng said he hopes to bring them next to Chicago, Illinois.
The exhibit couldn't have been unveiled at a more relevant time.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to suspend enforcement temporarily of "don't ask, don't tell." Though a lower court has deemed the law unconstitutional, the controversial policy will remain in effect until the appeals process is complete.
President Obama is on record favoring abolition of the policy but has said he wants the issue to be decided by Congress, not in the courts.
The new commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos, opposes repeal of the policy. "There is a risk involved," Amos told reporters in San Diego, California. "I'm tring to determine how to measure that risk. This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness."
Ryan Vincent Downing, a former Air Force captain and one of the 60 service members Sheng photographed, said he has confidence "that people in the military can handle change." He is no longer in the service and said hiding his sexuality took a toll.
"I found myself making up lies, and then making up more lies to cover the lies I had told before," Downing said.
Sheng said he hopes his photographs open eyes to the way the "don't ask, don't tell" policy affects closeted service members who are fighting and dying for their country.
"This idea that they're hiding, in many ways ... they can't reveal who they are," Sheng said. "[It] has a really profound effect on the way that people see these images and think about the issue."

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