Showing posts with label International Gay Issues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International Gay Issues. Show all posts

December 29, 2019

The Norms Globally Affect The Attitudes Towards Gay/ Lesbian Individuals

                          Image result for norms that affect treatment of gays
 Gay men and lesbian women have often been the targets of prejudice and even violence in society. To better understand what shapes these attitudes and prejudices, Maria Laura Bettinsoli, Alexandra Suppes, and Jamie Napier (all New York University—Abu Dhabi) tested how beliefs about gender norms (expectations of society for how men and women act and look) and people's attitudes towards gay men and women relate across the globe. 
They found that globally, gay men are disliked more than  across 23 countries. Their results also suggest negative attitudes are guided by the perception that gays and lesbians violate traditional gender norms. But in three countries, China, India, and South Korea, the correlation between beliefs in gender norms and attitudes towards gays and lesbians were absent or even reversed.
The research appears online before print in Social Psychological and Personality Science.
The team assessed attitudes towards gay men and lesbian women separately, noting that most research focuses on homosexuality as a broad category and doesn't separate attitudes by gender.
Bettinsoli and colleagues were surprised at how consistently gay men were rated more negatively than lesbian women in the vast majority of their samples.
They were also surprised "at the consistency of the relationship between gender norm endorsement and sexual prejudice," says Bettinsoli. "Even though there were some non-Western countries that did not conform to the pattern, the majority of countries did."
These findings were true for  including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the USA. The same was true for Russia, South Africa, and Turkey too.
"We also found that, in line with previous research, the endorsement of gender norms was associated with anti-gay attitudes—toward both gay men and lesbian women—in every Western country in our sample," says Bettinsoli.
In South Korea, the researchers saw that endorsement of  was unrelated to attitudes toward gays and lesbians, and in Japan, there was a small association between gender norm endorsement and attitudes toward gay men, but not towards lesbian women.
"In China and India, the reverse pattern emerged. Those who were highest on the endorsement of traditional  roles were the most positive toward gay men and lesbian women," says Bettinsoli.
While some of the countries show friendlier attitudes towards gays and lesbians, Bettinsoli notes that even in the more tolerant places discriminatory attitudes still exist.
The study is one of several appearing in a future special issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science focused on underrepresented populations.

September 16, 2019

WasThomas Barrow on "Downton Abbey" Correctly Portrayed As a Gay Man Of That Era?


Fifty-seven minutes into the first episode of Downton Abbey, the fastidious, sharp-featured footman Thomas Barrow makes his move, confronting his erstwhile summer lover—the impoverished (but entitled) Duke of Crowborough—with epistolary evidence of their affair. Barrow has all the coiled menace of a spiteful child, a weak sort of strength that only kicks when you’re down.
The Duke, on the other hand, is louche and unctuous, the human personification of privilege lounging in a fabulous dressing gown. Their short tete-a-tete is a gem of a scene, their body language forecasting the inevitable: the attempted blackmail fails, and three minutes later, Barrow watches his letters burn, taking with them his imagined future as the Duke’s valet and lover. 
It’s a bold move—for Barrow, sure, but more so for Downton Abbey. With one short scene, creator Julian Fellowes made a declaration: the love that dare not speak its name would be given a voice here. Goodbye to veiled intimations and Significant Looks; goodbye to fusty, dusty “confirmed bachelors” and “spinster” aunts; goodbye to the historical closet and your mother’s Masterpiece Theatre
Hello to the future of the gay past.

“I think what we've done with Thomas in the story is tried to reflect how scary it was,” says Alastair Bruce, who worked as the historical advisor to the show, and is reprising that role with the new Downton movie, in theaters September 20. In the film, audiences will see Barrow in the context of a wider gay world for the first time: visiting a secret gay bar, dodging police harassment, and possibly even finding love. 
It’s an exciting tale set in an exciting period. The post-Edwardian moment—Downton Abbey opens in 1912, with news of the sinking of the Titanic; the movie takes the story all the way up to 1927—was an era of tremendous upheaval in Western culture. World War I was still “the war to end all wars,” the Roaring Twenties were ratcheting up to the Great Depression, and the last vestiges of Victorianism were being thrown out the Overton window. A rejection of the past was so fundamental to this period that we still refer to the artistic flourishing of this moment as “Modernism,” despite it now being 100 years ago. 
Clapham And Dwyer
All of them, that is, except for Thomas Barrow. Barrow is instantly recognizable as a modern gay man, even if he never quite uses those words. From isolation to conversion therapy, his struggles are our struggles, just in period drag.  On the one hand, this feels like an elaboration of that famous gay liberation slogan “we are everywhere,” expanding it to be “we were everywhere” also. On the other hand, it seems to remove sexuality from the domain of history entirely, suggesting that the experience of being gay has always been the same, no matter the place or period. This helps to explain why, after such a strong start, Barrow’s storyline in Downton Abbey largely fizzles out: he has nowhere to develop. While everyone else in the show becomes, Barrow already is.
The question for queer Downton Abbey fans, then, is this: Is Thomas an accurate unveiling of historical homosexuality, hidden but fully formed, just waiting for us to notice his existence? Or is he a backward projection of our current idea of what it means to be gay, an anachronism disguised as a revelation?
The most obvious point of reference for Barrow’s character can be found in E. M Forster’s Maurice. Forster, born on New Year’s Day, 1879, documented the emergence of modern England through the foibles and failures of those that lived (like Forster himself) on the outskirts of the upper-class.
Maurice Hugh GrantMaurice, his most autobiographical book, was written in 1914. It follows its titular protagonist, Maurice Hall—“a mediocre member of a mediocre school”—as he discovers his desires for other men. After an abortive and agonizing affair with a fellow student from his own upper-class milieu, Hall meets Alec Scudder on a visit to his ex’s estate. The affair between Scudder and Hall races forward, moving quickly through break-up and blackmail before delivering the happy ending that was Forster’s raison d’etre for writing the book in the first place. Like Thomas Barrow, Alec Scudder seems preternaturally gay, fully aware of his sexual desires, that they are exclusively for men, and that they mark him, irrevocably, as a different sort of person.  
On the surface, this feels like incontrovertible proof of Downton’s historical accuracy. But when Forster wrote Maurice, he’d never had a relationship with another man, and he wouldn’t until midway through World War I, when he was 38 years old. “He imagined these things well before he experienced them,” agreed Moffatt, Forster’s biographer. Yet the book is often used as period research.  
“It’s much easier just to look at some medical texts and maybe some literary ones, rather than do the difficult task of working out what people really thought,” said Professor Alison Oram, who led the initiative Pride of Place: England’s LGBTQ Heritage, which documented queer historical spaces for the British government. 
In particular, literary research can substitute the experiences of the upper class for those of all people. In the post-Edwardian period, upper-class men were more likely to already understand the world in terms of heterosexuals and homosexuals, with a bright and absolute line dividing the two. But for working-class men like Thomas Barrow, same-sex desire didn’t necessarily preclude having an otherwise “normal” existence, often including relationships with women.  
E.M. Forster
When Forster himself did, finally, embark upon a sexual relationship, it was with an Egyptian man named Mohammed el-Adl. Like Alec Scudder and Thomas Barrow, el-Adl was young and working class. But whereas Scudder and Barrow seemed to think of themselves as gay, el-Adl experienced his desire for men differently. He was worried about being caught but didn’t have the kind of existential, what-does-this-mean-about-my-identity crisis that we in the West associate with same-sex behavior. Soon after he and Forster met, el-Adl married a woman (for whom he had romantic feelings), but it didn’t curtail his relationship with Forster. 
Forster was keen to get al-Adl to understand sexuality, and sexual orientation, in the same way that he did: An unconscious extension of the broader colonial project of reshaping the world in the image of (aristocratic) England. Over time, British customs would obscure and eventually replace the thousand years of Middle Eastern history celebrating (some kinds) of sex between men, another example of “modernity” being born in this period. 
But while El-Adl’s desires might have seemed strange to Forster, they would have been fairly recognizable to another group: working-class Brits. In the post-Edwardian period, “there could be greater accommodation of same-sex desires and same-sex acts in working-class communities,” says Professor Justin Bengry, a cultural historian of queer sexuality in England. 
The Labouchere amendment of 1885 made “gross indecency”—a.k.a. sex between men—a crime, and was used to prosecute Oscar Wilde. It was a forerunner to the kinds of police repression that Barrow encounters in the new Downton movie. But in popular understanding, being a “criminal pervert” wasn’t necessarily about the sex you were having. It was about how well you lived up to the expectations of your gender, if you wanted a married life, and if you were otherwise respectable. 
Shaken Not StirredThe most highly visible queer people in this period would have been those who openly defied gender norms. Even when it came to the prosecution of Wilde, much was made about his aesthetic and dandified existence, which mocked traditional manhood. 
But for masculine, working-class men, wanting sex with men “didn’t necessarily question their sense of themselves as virile or ‘normal,’” said Dr. Bengry. According to historian Matt Houlbrook’s Queer London, this is the “central difference between the sexual landscape of interwar London and the present day.” 
To a 21st century ear, this might sound surprising. But we have to remember the context in which these men were raised. The Victorian world was cleft in twain, with men on one side, and women on the other. The divide between them was imagined as vast and almost insurmountable. Outside of their immediate families, men were expected to spend most of their time with other men; women, with other women. Romantic and intense same-sex friendships were de rigueur. Heterosexual marriage obviously had sexual dimensions, but it was also a deeply practical institution, the main unit of economic production in the country, and the only insurance against the vagaries of old age. 
As Victorian ideals receded from dominance—as cross-gender friendships became more common, as marriage became more companionate, as urbanism and greater social mobility created economic possibilities outside the family—the men and women who still had intense friendships and bloodless marriages began to seem strange. Increasingly, sexologists, politicians, and writers began to promulgate the idea that these behaviors were signifiers of homosexuality, to be surveilled and curtailed. 
Literary Garden Party

Forster never did edit Maurice, however, and his hard-won knowledge of the complexities of the human heart (amongst other organs) died with him. As decades passed, the neat fiction of binary sexuality became broadly acknowledged “truth,” leaving less and less space for middle-dwelling, working-class men like Buckingham and el-Adl.
From an earlier and earlier age, people would be taught—in streets as much as in schools—that homosexuals existed, that they were unlike other men and that any apparent “middle ground” was actually a slippery slope headed straight to hell. 

All of which brings us back to Thomas Barrow and the new Downton Abbey movie. Barrow might have been an implausible outlier at the beginning of the show in 1912, but by the 1950s, working-class men who identified as homosexual were thronging the streets of London. We may never get to see that learning process happens for Barrow (unless there’s a Downton Abbey sequel planned; fingers crossed), but at long last, in the new film, we’ll get to see a world in which it could.

May 6, 2019

Despite Trump’s Hatred The US Can Still Become The Beacon of Light to The World on LGBTQ Protections

 Many Americans were outraged by the recent headlines about a new law in Brunei that will allow for death by stoning for the crime of homosexual sex. Yet the criminalization of same-sex relations is still happening in more than 70 countries. At least six additional (countries) implement the death penalty for gay sex: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan and Somalia. Only five countries in the world – Bolivia, Ecuador, Fiji, Malta and the United Kingdom – have constitutions that explicitly guarantee equality for citizens on the basis of sexual orientation as well as gender identity.
As hard-liner authoritarian political parties continue to gain popularity in Europe and around the world, we again see LGBTQ people being used as political pawns. Recently, Poland’s ruling political party brought LGBTQ discrimination to the forefront of the election there, claiming that the opposition’s support for new LGBTQ-aware education is a threat to traditional Catholic values and Polish culture.
Despite these steps backward, there is an opportunity here for the international community, and not just LGBTQ people, to play a role in securing basic human rights for LGBTQ people across the globe, and for the U.S. to take the lead. The Catholic Church and the United Nations can also play vital roles. I’m sure many will scoff that I suggest the United States take the lead in advocating for gay rights across the globe. President (Donald) Trump banned transgender people from the military, stacked the courts with judges who have terrible records on LGBTQ issues and even refused to recognize Pride Month. But internationally, the issue of LGBTQ rights has been gaining steam, with notable support by the highest openly gay official in the Trump administration. U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell launched an international campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality as part of a response to the hanging of a young gay man in Iran.
The U.S. could make this campaign much more effective by tying it to foreign assistance it gives to other nations. The U.S. government could deny some loans and credits and foreign assistance to any and all countries that criminalize homosexuality.
This is not a new strategy for American foreign policy. In 2017, for example, we denied nearly $96 million in aid to Egypt due to severe human rights violations there. The Leahy Amendments, named after Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., prohibit the U.S. government from providing military assistance to foreign security forces that violate human rights. In many instances, the cut-off of aid worked.
The U.S. government could specifically withhold security assistance to police or law enforcement entities that violate the rights of LGBTQ citizens, or even incentivize law enforcement and security forces to implement nondiscrimination training by tying aid to those programs. And we must continue to make sure that human rights violators, whether they be individuals or institutions, face severe consequences and justice in international courts.
This policy would have widespread effects on countries in the Americas, Africa and the Middle East that rely heavily upon U.S. foreign aid each year. Top recipient countries where LGBTQ rights are often violated include Egypt – $1.39 billion, and Afghanistan – $782.8 million. If the U.S. takes the lead, we might see more action from the Catholic Church and the international community as well, particularly the European Union.
Because so many of the world’s anti-sodomy laws began during colonization, the Church must remove its tacit approval of anti-gay teachings. There have been small steps made in this realm. Recently, a group of 50 international representatives traveled to the Vatican to urge the Church to declare itself in support of the decriminalization of homosexuality. I was among them.
Religious leaders of all denominations should weigh in with policies that firmly and clearly urge all nations and peoples to repeal any and all laws criminalizing same-sex relations. Pope Francis, thankfully, has a very strong record of human rights and social justice. 
In 2014, the United Nations passed a resolution condemning violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It’s time for the U.N. to go further and pass a resolution advocating for homosexuality to be decriminalized worldwide.
When I was governor of New Mexico, I pushed for laws to make sure domestic partners were covered by health insurance and to expand our discrimination and hate crime laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
In America, some states are expanding LGBTQ rights despite federal inaction. Despite the Trump administration’s lack of progress, there are a few issues where the U.S. can take a bold stance for human rights and fairness. I hope this administration can see that LGBTQ rights is one of them.
Bill Richardson – a former congressman, ambassador to the United Nations and U.S. Energy secretary – founded the Richardson Center for Global Engagement in 2011 to promote global peace and dialogue by identifying and working on areas of opportunity for engagement and citizen diplomacy with countries and communities not usually open to more formal diplomatic channels.

April 10, 2018

Asia's Out-Gay Icon Leslie Cheng is Dead But Kept Alive for the Last 15 years

This page published by the BBC
 For the past 15 years fans of tormented superstar Leslie Cheung, one of the first celebrities to come out as gay in Asia, have gathered at Hong Kong's Mandarin Oriental Hotel to mourn the day he took his own life. 
It's a poignant sign of why the daring and troubled star is still important today. 
One of Hong Kong's most popular male singers and actors of the mid-1980s, Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing was not afraid of provoking controversy with his overt sexuality and provocative performances during a more socially conservative era. 
And 15 years after his death, Cheung is still attracting new fans, including teenagers and millennials.
Lam, a 15-year-old who attended 1 April's vigil, was only a few months old when Cheung died. She told BBC Chinese she had "discovered him on YouTube".
"He was charismatic; especially when he went's gorgeous," she said.
Meanwhile, 25-year-old Wu travelled from Hunan province on mainland China with his boyfriend to mourn the icon.
Wu told BBC Chinese he drew strength from Cheung's "spirit of being true to oneself".
"He showed the [Chinese-speaking] world that gay people can be positive, bright and worthy of respect."

Christopher DoyleImage copyrightBBC CHINESE
Image captionCinematographer Christopher Doyle says Leslie was "not only a great singer or actor, but a rarely-seen true star"

Born in 1956, Leslie Cheung was one of Hong Kong's most famous stars during the golden era of Cantopop in the 1980s.
He was dashing, stylish and fitted the public idea of a perfect heterosexual male lover. But in reality, he was in a long-term relationship with his childhood friend, Daffy Tong. 
It was not an easy time to be gay. At that time, homosexuality was still viewed by many as an illness and abnormality in Hong Kong, especially after the emergence of the first local case of Aids in 1984. It was not until 1991 that adult gay sex was decriminalised in the territory.
"The LGBT movement in Hong Kong took off in the 1990s, when the community finally became visible to the public," Travis Kong, an associate professor of sociology researching gay culture at The University of Hong Kong, told BBC Chinese. 
And it was at this point that Cheung became more daring in his work. 

Cheung as an androgynous Peking Opera star in Farewell My ConcubineImage copyrightTOMSON (HK) FILMS CO., LTD. 
Image captionCheung as an androgynous Peking Opera star in Farewell My Concubine

He first came to international attention with his portrayal of Cheng Dieyi, the androgynous Peking Opera star, for the film Farewell My Concubine, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1993. 
He went on to star in Happy Together directed by Wong Kar Wai - a gay cinema classic about a couple who struggle to find a peaceful co-existence.
"Happy Together is different. It is a stereotypical heterosexual romance, but played by two men," said Kit Hung, a Hong Kong director.
Meanwhile, Christopher Doyle, the renowned cinematographer who worked with Cheung on various Wong Kar Wai films, told BBC Chinese: "He was so beautiful. We both wanted to convey through my lens the most beautiful, sincerest side of him.
"He enters our imagination audaciously... always showing us better possibilities."

Leslie Cheung's waxwork at Madame Tussauds waxworks in Hong KongImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionLeslie Cheung is remembered both for his films and music performances - and even has his own waxwork at Madame Tussauds

On stage, Cheung unleashed a sexually fluid charm.  His defining queer performance came in a 1997 concert where he danced intimately with a male dancer to his song Red. He wore a black suit with a pair of sparkling crimson high-heels.
At that concert he dedicated a classic love song to the two "loves of his life", his mother and his partner Daffy Tong. This is seen as the moment he came out of the closet. Cheung did not proclaim his sexuality as such, but confessed his love for a man.

Collage of screenshots showing Leslie Cheung wearing red heelsImage copyrightROCK RECORDS
Image captionCheung wore his iconic pair of red high heels in a 1997 concert

"In the 1990s, at times a gay man was still called 'Aids man' and 'pervert'," says Mr Kong. "In a society so oppressive to the LGBT community, the coming out of such a renowned superstar had a huge effect on the general public."
Despite his success across Asia, there were many who did not appreciate this side of Cheung. 
At the 1998 Hong Kong Film Awards, Happy Together was mocked by comedians, who described it as a film that would make the audience vomit. A music video he directed, featuring him topless with a male ballet dancer, was also censored by major local TV channel TVB.

Exhibition: "Ambiguously Yours: Gender in Hong Kong Popular Culture"Image copyrightPAN LEI
Image captionCheung's versatile images on stage ignited controversies

In 2000 Leslie became the first Asian star to wear a tailor-made costume by French fashion master Jean-Paul Gaultier in a concert. With waist-length hair, clearly visible stubble and a muscular build, Cheung also wore tight transparent trousers and a short skirt. 
He ended the concert with his self-revealing ballad I. "The theme of my performance is this: The most important thing in life, apart from love, is to appreciate your own self," he explained.
"I won't hide, I will live my life the way I like under the bright light" he sang. "I am what I am, firelight of a different colour."
But he was dismissed as a "transvestite", "perverted" or "haunted by a female ghost" in local media. He would dismiss that criticism as superficial and short-sighted. 
He remains such an iconic figure in Hong Kong's awakening to LGBT issues that the Mandarin Oriental Hotel is even the first stop of a walking tour on the city's LGBT history.

Crowds at Mandarin Oriental on the 15th anniversary of Cheung's deathImage copyrightBBC CHINESE
Image captionCrowds at Mandarin Oriental on the 15th anniversary of Cheung's death
Fans recreated Cheung's signature crimson high heels in RosesImage copyrightBBC CHINESE
Image captionFans recreated Cheung's signature crimson high heels in Roses

It was from here that he jumped to his death on 1 April 2003 after a long struggle with depression. It was a shocking moment for the city, and a devastating moment for fans. 
Tens of thousands turned out to bid him farewell and at the funeral, his partner Daffy Tong assumed the role traditionally preserved for the surviving spouse, a profound, public recognition of their relationship. 
Never legally married, Mr Tong's was the first name listed on the family's announcement of Cheung's death, credited "Love of His Life".
Same-sex marriage or civil unions are still not legal in Hong Kong, but in the city's collective memory, Cheung and Tong are fondly remembered as an iconic, loving couple.

Daffy Tong, partner of Entertainer Leslie Cheung, looks at his waxwork unveiled at Madame Tussaud waxworks in Hong Kong, 31 March 2004. Leslie, Cheung one of Hong Kong's most acclaimed entertainers, leapt to his death 01 April 2003Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionDaffy Tong beside a waxwork of Leslie Cheung at Madame Tussauds in Hong Kong

Hong Kong still lacks anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT communities but queer identity and sexual fluidity are no longer so taboo and are part of the social landscape. 
Last year a museum in Hong Kong held an exhibition "Ambiguously Yours: Gender in Hong Kong Popular Culture". The first exhibit visitors encountered upon entering the venue was a pair of sparkling crimson high-heels - the pair Cheung wore performing Red in 1997.
"The highest achievement for a performer is to embody both genders at the same time," Cheung once proclaimed: "For art itself is genderless."
If you are feeling emotionally distressed and would like details of organisations which offer advice and support, click here. In the UK you can call for free, at any time, to hear recorded information on 0800 066 066. In Hong Kong you can get help here.

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October 19, 2017

World Medical Body Condemns Forced Men Anal Exams As Unscientific and Unethical

A medical report filled out by a doctor in Kampala, Uganda, after conducting a forced anal examination on a man suspected of consensual same-sex conduct. 
A medical report filled out by a doctor in Kampala, Uganda, after conducting a forced anal examination on a man suspected of consensual same-sex conduct.
© 2016 Neela Ghoshal/Human Rights Watch

(Nairobi, October 17, 2017) – Doctors, medical professionals, and national medical associations should heed the World Medical Association’s October 2017 resolution to end forced anal examinations on people accused of homosexual conduct, Human Rights Watch said today. The General Assembly of the World Medical Association (WMA), an international organization consisting of national medical associations from 111 countries, condemned the use of forced anal examinations to seek evidence of consensual homosexual conduct.
Forced anal examinations, based on long-discredited 19th century science, often involve doctors or other medical personnel forcibly inserting their fingers, and sometimes other objects, into a person’s anus to attempt to determine whether that person has engaged in anal intercourse. The exams, relied upon as “evidence” in prosecutions for consensual same-sex conduct in some countries, have no scientific basis, violate medical ethics, and constitute cruel, degrading, and inhuman treatment that can rise to the level of torture.
“The jury is no longer out. There is no excuse for governments to continue conducting forced anal exams on people accused of homosexuality,” said Neela Ghoshal, senior researcher on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights at Human Rights Watch. “The World Medical Association has added its voice to an overwhelming consensus that forced anal exams are unethical, unscientific, and unjustifiable on any grounds.”
The World Medical Association resolution calls on doctors to stop conducting the exams. It calls on national medical associations to issue written communications prohibiting their members from participating in them, and to educate doctors and health workers about “the unscientific and futile nature of forced anal exams and the fact that they are a form of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” It also calls on the World Health Organization to make an official statement opposing forced anal exams as unscientific and in violation of medical ethics, which would build on an existing reference that condemns the practice.
The resolution, proposed by the South African Medical Association with the support of Human Rights Watch, has been through a year-long review and feedback process, allowing all members to comment in advance of adoption. It passed unanimously, with two abstentions.
At the General Assembly session, the association also adopted a revised “Physician’s Pledge,” which calls on doctors to refrain from discrimination on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation.
Several countries that have not yet eradicated forced anal examinations have made recent progress toward ending them, Human Rights Watch said. Governments in Lebanon and Tunisia have taken steps toward banning forced anal exams. Tunisia recently accepted a recommendation to end the exams during its Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council, although it remains to be seen whether Tunisia will rigorously enforce the ban. In both cases, national medical associations played a key role in shifting their governments’ positions. The Kenya Medical Association, in September, became the latest medical association to condemn the use of forced anal examinations, although the Attorney General’s Office has attempted to defend their use.
Other countries lag behind. In Egypt, men and transgender women arrested on charges of “debauchery” are systematically referred to the Forensic Medicine Authority, a branch of the Justice Ministry, for forced anal examinations, and the results are regularly used in court to put people behind bars on the grounds of their presumed sexual orientation. Since late September, according to Egyptian human rights activists, at least five Egyptians have been subjected to forced anal exams as part of a vicious crackdown after several young people waved rainbow flags at a concert.
And in Tanzania in late 2016, police resorted to forced anal examinations to seek “proof” of homosexual conduct for the first time, as far as Human Rights Watch has been able to determine, as part of a broader campaign against LGBT people and their allies. Neither the Egyptian Medical Association nor the Medical Association of Tanzania, both members of the WMA, have publicly condemned the exams.
Other countries in which Human Rights Watch has documented the use of forced anal exams between 2010 and 2015 include Cameroon, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and Zambia. Human Rights Watch has received reports of government authorities ordering forced anal exams on people accused of homosexual conduct in Syria and the United Arab Emirates, but has not been able to independently verify these allegations.
“Doctors play a critical role in upholding ethical standards and are often part of the moral compass of society,” Ghoshal said. “In Egypt, in Tanzania, and in all countries in which people are being subjected to forced anal examinations, doctors should take the lead in ending these horrific abuses.”

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