The History Of LGBT Laws Around The World: Part III

Throughout history — especially modern history — it hasn’t been unusual for governments to censor the ability of LGBTQ individuals to express themselves or even protest unequal treatment by friends, family, employers, and those very governments. Censorship occurs even today in big countries like China and Russia, and, to a lesser extent, in the United States of America.

One example of Chinese censorship occurred on December 31, 2015, when the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) in China decided to block TV programs that included “unnormal sexual relationships.” At least shows depicting homosexual relationships were pulled from the lineup that season. Other programs retroactively censored these types of depictions.

These laws are harder to enforce when international programs are up for an award, such as when the Oscar-winning movie “Call Me By Your Name” appeared briefly in the Beijing International Film Festival’s lineup. It was eventually pulled. Critics suggest that the festival organizers came under pressure from Chinese authorities (or were threatened outright).

Laws against homosexuality have always been especially strict in Russia. The Law for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values was signed by President Vladimir Putin on June 30, 2013. The law’s express purpose was to deny the very existence of homosexuality and restrict content that presented it as a societal norm. 

Russia is dominated by far-right nationalists, most of whom subscribe to the Russian-Orthodox Church. This made support for the censorship very strong.

In the United States, the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas all have anti-LGBT curriculum censorship laws to restrict the topic of homosexuality in schools. They even restrict the types of extracurricular clubs that can function on school grounds, like the gay-straight alliance.

Other states have recently repealed such laws. They include Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Utah.