Commonwealth of homophobia: One billion live under anti-gay laws exported by Britain
As royals, politicians and diplomats gather in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), millions of their LGBT citizens continue to suffer under oppressive discriminatory laws.
British colonists made laws outlawing homosexuality that reflected Britain’s own Victoria penal code, transplanting them on to every country they conquered.
While British politicians have largely shunned the antiquated laws, 36 or 53 Commonwealth countries retain their anti-gay laws to this day.
Those nations account for a third of the world’s population and a quarter of the world’s land mass – millions of gay and lesbian people oppressed by the law.
Anti-gay laws originating in Britain aren’t an archaic part of history – they are an archaic part of the present.
From Barbados to Saint Lucia, Sri Lanka to Tonga, most member states continue to have oppressive rules on their LGBT citizens.
They include 14 years behind bars in Kenya and 20 years plus flogging in Malaysia. Bangladesh, Barbados, Guyana, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda have a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Homosexuality is punishable by death in member states Brunei and the northern part of Nigeria.
According to the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, 97 percent of Nigerian residents believe that homosexuality is a way of life that society should not accept.
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