International study says gay-positive countries are vastly outnumbered by those that behave negatively on issues of sexual orientation.
Ottawa (5 Aug. 2010) - A new global study reports that 76 countries around the world still prosecute citizens on grounds of sexual orientation and seven still have laws that punish same sex acts with death.
The study was carried out by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) and details have been published by The Independent newspaper in London.
"On a global scale, the nations doing something positive for gay rights are dwarfed by those behaving negatively," the newspaper reports. "While 75 countries will imprison you if you are gay, only 53 have anti-discrimination laws that apply to sexuality. Only 26 countries recognize same-sex unions."
While many countries, including Britain and Canada, have made "impressive strides" toward sexual equality, homophobia remains a major issue worldwide. Hundreds of people continue to be killed every year simply for being gay, the paper says.
ILGA's study shows that in much of Africa, for example, the lives of gay people have gone "from bad to worse" over much of the last decade.
"More than 50% of African states have taken action to criminalize homosexuality and religious homophobia is rife (and the) picture is not much brighter in Asia, where 23 countries have made being gay a crime," The Independent says.
"Latin America and the Caribbean are also home to many governments with a similar outlook. In Jamaica, sex with another man is described in the statute book as an 'abominable crime'."
Amnesty International lists sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe as the regions of greatest concern for gay rights.
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• International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association