As Regions Homophobia Turns Deadly, Lets Stand Up For Rights

Published: May 29, 2014

Although Australia does not yet allow same-sex couples to marry, it is not a country that is generally described as homophobic. The days of it being a crime to be gay here are, thankfully, a relic of a bygone era. By and large, Australian laws protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people from persecution and discrimination.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of our neighbours. Ten southeast Asian countries still treat homosexuality as a crime and things seem to be getting worse rather than better.

This trend is evident in Brunei’s recent decision to phase in Sharia law, which will soon make the “crimes” of gay sex and adultery punishable by death by stoning. The punishment for consensual same-sex sexual conduct in other southeast Asian countries ranges from fines to imprisonment and whipping, but Brunei will be the first in the region to introduce the death penalty for such “offences”.

Many LGBTI and human rights activists around the world have responded to these developments with boycotts of hotelsowned by the Sultan of Brunei. These include the Dorchester in London and the Beverly Hills Hotel in California.

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