In part five of our series on the history of LGBT laws around the world, we discussed the civil rights movement in Australia. This movement arose due to anti-sodomy laws that were a byproduct of other anti-LGBT laws leftover from the country’s colonization by the British Empire. The last man arrested for sodomy was in 1984 in Tasmania, but it took another decade for Australia to completely decriminalize homosexuality.
The world has come a long way in the last few decades. Homosexual relations have become legalized in almost every major Western country. Violence against LGBTQ individuals is almost universally classified as a hate crime in these countries. But there are still areas of the world where it can be dangerous to openly identify as an LGBTQ person. The danger is most pervasive in predominantly Muslim countries and in Africa.
The vast majority of anti-LGBT laws rely on religion to rationalize homosexual activity as an illness or unnatural. Most conservatives who continue to outcast LGBT people do so for the same reason.
It’s important to know that while homosexuality was always frowned upon, the onus was always upon men. This was because the Bible is often interpreted as outlawing sodomy, but it has little to say about the sexual conduct between two women.
The highest murder rate of LGBTQ individuals in the world is in Brazil, even though the country has pro-LGBTQ laws on the books and has legalized same-sex marriage. The data might not be completely reliable, though, as we generally note that Brazil has a higher murder rate than other countries simply because of the way data is aggregated.
Although LGBTQ people have experienced violence and persecution throughout history, one of the most recent historical examples that occurred on a massive scale was during the Holocaust. Nazis targeted and murdered a large number of homosexual individuals. In one particularly gruesome example, we learned that Nazis would use their homosexual captives during target practice.