In many ways 2018 could be a titanic year for LGBT rights and knowing where advances could be made can be a cause for spurring on activists on the ground and increasing the international attention paid to these struggles. In the first article on this subject, I looked at four countries that could see significant progress made in the coming year. These four were examples of nation-states where I would be actively surprised if something substantial didn’t happen in the next 12 months. The four countries at the focus of this article are still noteworthy, but would require a bigger push by campaigners and activists. This distinction in no way means that the follow countries are out of reach in 2018 as anti-LGBT attitudes are softening and the prospects for equality have never been better. In each instance there is either increasing public support for LGBT equality but an absence of political or new policy-makers are coming to the fore that would be sympathetic to a pro-equality agenda. Sustained international pressure could both force legislators into action and provide much needed solidarity to those activists on the ground. Continue reading →
Despite some alarming trends of world politics in the last year or so, such as ongoing religious extremism and the rise of the far-right, there is some cause of optimism going into the next 12 months. The LGBT rights movement around the world went from strength to strength in 2017 and 2018 has the potential to be another landmark year in the struggle for liberation. Activists across the globe have been agitating for a number of years and the fruits of their labour are close to be being realised in the weeks and months ahead. But what is especially noteworthy about the political contexts of their potential success is that many are in less developed countries and/or are quite quite socially conservative in other areas. 2018 could therefore be the year when social conservatives in all corners of the world are markedly less hostile to LGBT people. In this first article, I’ll be looking at countries where I believe the cause of equality is almost certain to gain ground.
We live in a time that is certainly more tolerant and accepting than many centuries previously. Advantages in women’s rights, race relations and LGBT emancipation have been numerous and the activism of those groups of people agitating for change shouldn’t be minimised. However it would be foolish to argue that systemic prejudices remain commonplace in Western societies. New evidence of discrimination on the grounds of race has been revealed by data collected by the TUC. Structural disadvantages for people of colour can only be rectified if there is a popular demand for change to force the government into decisive action.
Nigeria is a significant power in West Africa and what happens in the country is noted by people in other parts of the region, especially when it comes to Nigerian culture. But an area where Nigeria is similar to other parts of Africa is in its society’s anti-LGBT attitudes. Christian and Islamic conservatism in Nigeria has largely been peddled because of fundamentalists traveling to the country to reinforce existing anti-LGBT views with theological justifications. In Nigeria it is socially acceptable to persecute LGBT people and this is illustrated by the news coming out of Lagos state this week when 42 men were arrested for having homosexual sex.
The British government have announced that former residents of the Chagos Islands will not be allowed to return to their homeland. These people were removed from the islands in the 1960s and 1970s after the UK bought the islands from Mauritius. Subsequently, the UK and the USA agreed to a mutual defence strategy which included the creation of a naval base on the largest of the islands, Diego Garcia. In 1973 the Naval Communication Station on Diego Garcia was completed and the US have been using the islands as a base of operations for their adventures in Asia, including during the Vietnam War and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
Political terms, when people are unaware of what they mean, can be a topic of significant dispute. The rise of Donald Trump in the United States is a prime example of this. When the term ‘fascist’ is correctly applied, his supporters complain about liberals saying that everything they disagree with is called fascist. Unfortunately Trump supporters have a point as idiotic liberals do often describe things that aren’t fascistic with this label in order to shut people up in debates. Another such term is ‘apartheid’, an Afrikaans word which was used to describe the state-endorsed racial segregation in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. Rather than write a provocative piece about the West’s approach to Israel which could often be seen as anything from irrational to endorsing violations of international law, I shall seek to answer one simple question: is Israel an Apartheid state?