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May 17, 2016 – Half-full or Half-empty?

(Blogmensgo, gay blog of May 17, 2016) Today is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. As every year, this day commemorates May 17, 1990 – the day when the World Health Organization (WHO) eliminated homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Many countries deleted homosexuality from their nomenclatures subsequently. Others still penalize homosexuality with the death sentence.

Yes, there has been a lot of progress concerning LGBT subjects over the last decades – but there is still a lot to do, particularly for transsexual people.

Poster for May 17

Old and gay? Double discrimination in many cases… ©Homophobie.org.

So we ask ourselves: Is the glass half-full or half-empty today? Despite all the declarations, promises and initiatives in the weeks leading up to this commemorative day, the answers are still rather controversial, as the two following examples may show:

  • With a majority of 372 to 51 votes (99 abstentions), the Italian parliament has enacted the new Cirinnà law instituting registered partnerships. It comes without oath of loyalty, adoption rights and religious ceremonies but at least, the last big country in Western Europe is on the right way and finally in line with EU ideals.
  • In Germany, the registered partnership law of 2001 allows adoption of a partner’s children but does not grant general adoption rights. The minister of justice recently rehabilitated all victims of paragraph 175 of the penal code and promised them indemnities. This highly controversial article had been in force since 1872 and was only abrogated after the German reunification in 1994 (although it had not been applied since 1969). A total of 50,000 gays were victims of this paragraph. The Nazis had forced about 42,000 of them to wear a “pink triangle” and killed about 10,000 in their concentration camps.

Despite all these small and big steps, it is time for universal legalization of homosexuality and comprehensive equality – and a lot still remains to do.

Different countries or regions of the world emphasize different subjects of course. Gay Pride celebrations in Western Europe often call for more rights for transsexual people.

In Canada (particularly in Quebec), a frequently seen subject is LGBT people and old age, referring to gays and lesbians aged 50 and up.

In Quebec, this group shows a few very alarming facts:

  • 21% of this group do not talk to their general practitioner about their sexual orientation or identity,
  • 31% are more or less depressive,
  • 39% have or have had suicidal thoughts,
  • 53% are isolated.

It is is quite simple to see the importance and urgency of the message contained in the poster above.

Frank-S / MensGo

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