AZ EGY BÁN GYA HOW TO PUT EQUALITY INTO PRACTICE? - MEK

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AZ EGY BÁN GYA HOW TO PUT EQUALITY INTO PRACTICE? - MEK

IV. Putting equality into practiceclear. We have been trying to persuade the government that that is notthe case. Especially within the migrant communities homosexuality isstill a very important taboo and also a very important issue. Next to that,for instance, if you look at the sports situation the most used screamingword in football stadiums today is “gay, gay, gay”, and you do not comeout as a professional football player. […] We were trying to express to theMinistry of Welfare that there are quite some issues that have not beenresolved, even in the Netherlands and although we do have gay groupswithin the trade unions, within the army, within the police, there is still alot of work to be done.Examining LGBT rights issues on the global level we mustobserve that there are still many countries where legislation – forexample, in the form of “sodomy laws” – makes LGBT life impossible.However, in the view of Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay,Bisexual and Transgender Rights Project of Human Rights Watch,problems go much beyond the criminalisation issue:There are anywhere between eighty and a hundred sodomy laws still inexistence. The counts vary: Egypt used to be listed by ILGA[International Lesbian and Gay Association], for instance, as notcriminalising homosexuality, but it is quite apparent that if you go backand look at Egyptian law, since at least 1975 there has been aninterpretation of the existing statute which takes this one term inEgyptian law and says that it describes homosexual conduct betweenmen. So I think there is a tendency to go out and look for laws that sayhomosexuality and if you don’t find the term you assume it is legal,whereas in fact it is not. But of course, the problems go much beyond thecriminalisation of homosexuality. Even before you get to the question ofsocial discrimination, economic discrimination, there are other laws whichcan be used to make certain kinds of gay and lesbian activism or lifeimpossible. […] There are places where you have laws on public decencyor public immorality or even laws which penalise wearing clothing of theopposite sex. In South Africa, which has this incredible liberal constitutionand which is on the verge of legalising same-sex marriage, at the sametime [yet] at the gay pride parade last year there was an attempt toprevent drag queens from marching in the gay pride parade because thereis a statute against fraud which prohibits wearing clothing of the oppositesex in public. It is just ludicrous, but it is an example. Those laws can betaken very seriously in some countries. In many African countries, womenare not allowed to go into public offices wearing skirts above the knee.When you have that kind of control, that kind of policing of people’sappearance and the sexuality that is conveyed by their appearance then ofcourse drag queens are in a class that is really beyond the pail.69

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