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The report’s findings are divided into five regional chapters focusing on conditions in what is commonly known as the global South and East—as opposed to Western Europe and North America.
We chose to concentrate on those regions because activism around sexuality there faces intense pressures with far fewer resources than elsewhere.
Some governments and politicians try to use fundamentalists in their turn, to prop up their own authority.
Fundamentalisms weave together elements from religion, nationalism, and other ideologies and traditions to invent a “cultural authenticity” that is fixed, unalterable, and monolithic—but threatened by the supposedly corrosive influences of human rights.
Men who are menaced by sodomy laws and the consequent social inequality need a different remedy than travestis subject to arrest under “public scandal” provisions.Considering carefully how human rights advocacy can be effective in a culturally charged atmosphere of moral panic is crucial.The danger comes from the weight, political importance, and emotion increasingly attached to issues of gender and sexuality.In Jamaica, an angry crowd surrounded a church where a gay man’s funeral was being held and beat the mourners.In Kenya, one group told us matter-of-factly that its members were “attacked by an angry mob who wanted to lynch them and they had to be evacuated under tight security.” Any support for these activists has to take into account not only the atmosphere of danger—but the chance that the support might actually, inadvertently increase it.
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The picture this report presents is meant for multiple audiences.