76 Countries Where Same-Sex Relationships Are Illegal

Expanding the LGBTQ Conversation
Dec. 9 2013 12:14 PM

A U.N. Video Shames the 76 Countries That Criminalize Same-Sex Relationships

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Dec. 10 is Human Rights Day, and this year, to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has made a video chronicling the history of LGBTQ rights at the U.N.

In many ways, it’s the kind of kumbaya creation that makes the United Nations so easy to mock. Accompanied by an instrumental version of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love,” the video celebrates milestones like “the first adopted U.N. resolution on the issue,” the first U.N. report, and “the first formal intergovernmental debate at the U.N. Human Rights Council.” But about 50 seconds in, the video shows a map of the 76 countries where same-sex relationships are criminalized, and suddenly those debates and resolutions don’t seem so silly. Videos won’t change the world, but the United Nations deserves praise for reminding its members that homophobic and transphobic violence are clear violations of the human-rights declaration they are pledged to support.

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 

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