Homosexuality has been a feature of human culture since earliest history. Generally, and most famously in ancient Greece, certain forms of erotic attraction and sexual pleasure between males were often an ingrained, accepted part of the cultural norm. However, particular sexual activities (such as anal sex in some cultures, or oral sex in others) were disapproved of, even as other aspects were admired. In cultures under the sway of Christian, Islamic and Jewish religions, the law and the church established sodomy as a transgression against divine law, a "crime against nature" practiced by choice, and subject to severe penalties, up to capital punishment—often inflicted by means of fire so as to purify the unholy action. The condemnation of anal sex, however, predates Christianity, arising in Ancient Greece, where the theme of action "against nature" originated.
In the course of the twentieth century, society began to discuss homosexuality, especially after the modern gay rights movement began in 1969. Once viewed by authorities as a pathology or mental illness to be cured, homosexuality is now more often investigated as part of a larger impetus to understand the biology, psychology, politics, genetics, history and cultural variations of sexual practice and identity. The legal and social status of LGBTQ people varies greatly around the world and remains hotly contested in political and religious debate in many places.
Laws Against Homosexuality Around the World
Some regimes do not have laws against homosexuality because they do not acknowledge that it exists and most laws don’t even mention lesbians.
Homosexuality is illegal in many areas of African, including Algeria, Libya, Angola, Kenya, and Nigeria. In areas under Islamic Law in Nigeria, homosexuality is a crime punishable by death.
Laws vary in Asia. Gay Palestinians often attempt to flee to Israel as they are targeted for death in Palestinian-controlled areas. In Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is a crime punishable by death but jail time, fines or whipping may be used in place of execution. In Singapore, discrimination based on sexual orientation is explicitly outlawed, but the government continues to discriminate against sexual minorities.
In Europe, there are no laws against homosexuality, and in Russia, attempts to recriminalize homosexuality failed in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Gay Pride and the Gay Movement in the U.S.
The first gay pride parade in 1969, known as the March on Stonewall, started as a protest against discrimination and violence against gays in New York City. Today, pride events have become an annual ritual and have grown to include thousands of gay and gay-friendly participants, and hundreds of spectators.
Many gays and lesbians dress in bright colors, head-to-toe leather or sometimes next to nothing. Regardless of attire, the participants join the festivities to remind the world that gays deserve the same rights as others and people should be free to live how they want to, free of judgment or hate. Gay pride is also a symbol of solidarity and an opportunity to express the vivid personalities which reflect the diverse gay communities throughout the world. During this time (and in many places year round), the skies are covered with the gay pride flags and banners.
Discrimination Against LGBT
The most socially acceptable, and probably most widespread, form of hate crime among teenagers and young adults are those targeting sexual minorities. In fact, 75% of students have no state laws to protect them from harassment and discrimination in school based on their sexual orientation and 97% of students report regularly hearing homophobic remarks from their peers. Despite much progress for the LGBT community, there is still a long way to go to truly reach equality.