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Jingzhu Chu
Workshop: Discrimination and Homophobia

in THAILAND, 29/03/2013

There were three presentations at this workshop: (1) Impact of Homophobia and Transphobia on LGBTQ individuals in Singapore (Bryan Choong, Oogachaga, Singapore); Legal Recognition and Social Acceptance of Homosexuality in Asia … and what’s next? (Jingshu Zhu, China/Netherlands); andLBT Discrimination in China (Gong Yu, Common Language, China).

In March 2012, Oogachaga conducted an online survey. Results were released in May, on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), and distributed to ministries, even to schools, where LGBT awareness training isn’t allowed. The complete results are available HERE.

Jingzhu Chu and Leiden Law School’s Kurt Waaldijk are trying to quantify the progress of gay rights and acceptance using two metrics:

a) Eight stages of legal rights: decriminalization, equal age of consent, non-discrimination in employment, non-discrimination in goods and services, same-sex cohabitation, registered partnership, adoption, same-sex marriage.

b) The DHN index: the percentage of people who say they’d Dislike a Homosexual Neighbor, based on reports from the World Values Survey. (E.g. DHN=90 means 90% of people wouldn’t be comfy with a gay neighbor.)

They can therefore chart gay legal rights vs. gay acceptance on a graph – and then play it over time. Here’s what happened in a few countries between 1990 and 2012:

You can see that countries follow irregular paths – in Australia, South Africa and Brazil, law reforms took place before social acceptance; in the Czech Republic, Portugal, Argentina and India, society changed before the laws did. There’s also been a clear social backlash against gay people in Colombia, Croatia, and Slovenia.

But what about Asia specifically? What can we guess?

Common Language has been surveying China's policies of discrimination against queer women. They’ve held focus group discussions in Beijing, Suzhou and Jinan, and they’re planning to submit the evidence to lawyers in July 2013 so they can sue for anti-discrimination legislation (Article 12 already protects workers against discrimination based on “nationality, race, sex or religious belief”). By August 2014 they’ll also have a report for advocates to understand the real situation of LBTs in China. ( Ng Yi-sheng)

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