After Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a speech announcing a new administration directive to protect the rights of LGBT people abroad, the Religious Right reacted with the predictable rage and vitriol. Pat Robertson warned that God will punish America with a “horrible” blow and the Family Research Council accused Obama of “imposing an alien ideology on other countries” for trying to stop countries from criminalizing homosexuality.
Conservative commentators ignored well–documented evidence of pervasive anti-LGBT violence around the world, as radio talk show host Janet Mefferd railed against the directive as “crazy” and dismissed reports of violence against gays and lesbians, and Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber denied reports of persecution against the LGBT community as “nonsense” and “Orwellian New Speak.” In fact, they readily defended the seventy-six countries which criminalize homosexuality:
Last week, the United Nations even released a new report [pdf] chronicling “violations for close to two decades” of killings, rape and physical attacks, torture, arbitrary detention, the denial of rights to assembly, expression and information, and discrimination in employment, health and education” against LGBT and LGBT-perceived people:
Homophobic and transphobic violence has been recorded in all regions. Such violence may be physical (including murder, beatings, kidnappings, rape and sexual assault) or psychological (including threats, coercion and arbitrary deprivations of liberty).25 These attacks constitute a form of gender-based violence, driven by a desire to punish those seen as defying gender norms.
In addition to “street” violence and other spontaneous attacks in public settings, those perceived as LGBT may be targets of more organized abuse, including by religious extremists, paramilitary groups, neo-Nazis and extreme nationalists. Young LGBT people and those of all ages who are seen to be transgressing social norms are at risk of family and community violence. Lesbians and transgender women are at particular risk because of gender inequality and power relations within families and wider society.
Violence against LGBT persons tends to be especially vicious compared to other bias-motivated crimes. According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), homophobic hate crimes and incidents often show a high degree of cruelty and brutality and include beatings, torture, mutilation, castration and sexual assault.
The report went on to discuss how “members of sexual minorities are disproportionately subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment” and that the government, police, schools, health institutions and the justice system are major perpetrators of discrimination against LGBT people.
Surely, Religious Right activists will take heed of this new report….