Comparative paper & its Discrimination Against Homosexuals in Russia

Introduction

Cases of inequality and discrimination have been on the increase in society. The main factors associated with discrimination and inequalities in society are gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, ethnicity, and even economic class[1]. For example, most African societies tend to segregate women as they consider them less important, thus do not involve them in major decision-making processes. Further, most of the African societies prefer educating the boy child at the expense of the girl. In addition, these inequalities manifest themselves in how the African societies receive the birth of children, where they receive boys with a lot of joy than girls. On the other hand, regarding economic power, some societies prefer involving the upper class in major decision-making processes, while ignoring the lower class. These societies do so, because of the misconception that poor people cannot contribute anything significant to society.

Apart from economic and gender inequalities, social orientation has become a new phenomenon causing inequality in society.  It is arguable that despite pressure from different superpowers and activist groups, aimed at stopping these cases of inequality, they have been on the increase. For example, recently, Uganda and Russia passed the anti-homosexual law prescribing punitive measures for persons found engaging in homosexual behaviors[2]. Hence, based on this fact, focusing on sexual orientation inequalities is highly fundamental. As such, this research paper provides a comparative analysis into the plight of this group of persons in the two countries.

Main body

Sexual orientation is a major source of inequality in Russia that arose when the government recently passed laws criminalizing homosexual behaviors. However, in spite of this fact, it is arguable that the criminalization of homosexuality is not a recent issue in Russia, as it has been there since the year 1992[3]. For example, facts show that before the Russian government introduced the antigay policies, its provincial parliaments and regional cities already had the laws in place.

The draconian anti-gay laws passed by Vladimir Putin sought to prohibit people’s engagement in homosexual acts. In this regard, the law prohibited any person from putting on attires related to homosexuality as well as discussing issues of homosexuality. The violation of these laws would see a person serving a jail term of 14 years or facing a penalty of around 3,100 dollars[4]. The inception of the antigay law almost led the Sochi Olympics to backfire as most gay athletics feared arrests when they went to Russia. The passing of the antigay law received many critics from the west and other human rights activists based in different parts of the world. The law received many critics, as people it viewed it as a move aimed at infringing the rights of homosexuals. For example, the American bureau of democracy referred to the laws as a move aimed at enhancing nationwide discrimination and social stigma towards the gay community.

Apart, from prohibiting the discussion of LGBT issues, the law enhanced discrimination and stigma towards the gay community in the country. Because of stigma enhancement towards this community, it has been very difficult for them to access various social services in the country. For example, most of them do not receive high-quality medical attention, unlike their colleagues who engage in heterosexual behavior. Such cases are evident especially in situations where gay people visit health centers, to report that they have a sexually transmitted infection. Apart from not receiving proper medical care, the gay community experiences numerous embarrassing moments. For example, there are people who use social media in attacking the gay community calling them all sought inhuman names. Further, in some cases people use social media in calling the LGBT community for meetings, thus creating an opportunity for humiliating them, especially on camera. In addition, facts have it that the passing of the antigay laws in Russia put the gay community into a lot of homophobia[5]. Because of people putting the gays in a homophobic situation, most of them experience acts of hostility and violence, such as people pouring urine on them. Apart from subjecting people to physical violence, others subject gay people to emotional violence, such as attacking them with violent words in public.

In addition, the homophobic beliefs held by the Russian people, make them prejudiced against homosexuals. Consequently, this led to the discrimination of homosexuals in the workplace, where they get unfair treatment when it comes to employment opportunities. For example, currently, most employers in Russia disregard gays in employment, despite having the necessary professional qualities. Similarly, most people in Russia segregate homosexuals in the church and even schools, since they believe that their acts are dirty, immoral, and unacceptable before God. For example, most churches in the country hold the opinion that homosexuality is a sin and as such, people should not freely mingle with homosexual people. Therefore, by referring to homosexuality as a dirty and unacceptable act in the country, most people hate homosexuals, thus do not like mingling with them. In addition, some people in the country segregate gays because they view them as inferior, and as such do not deserve equal treatment just like other members of society.  On the other hand, in schools, people discriminate against gays, as they view them to be dirty and unfit to mingle with anybody[6].

However, it is worth noting that discrimination against homosexuals, criminalization of gay behavior, and other forms of homosexuality are not a major issue in Russia only, but also in Uganda. For example, recently, the Ugandan government adopted the anti-gay act 2014 that saw the criminalization of homosexuality in the country. Therefore, because of the inception of this law, it is against the law for any person to engage in any form of homosexual behavior, including lesbianism, and gays in Uganda. As such, in the event a person engages in the act, he or she is likely to serve in prison for life6. Further, unlike the Russian, antigay bill, the Ugandan one prohibits counseling and reaching out to lesbians and gay people. Therefore, this implies that any person found reaching out or counseling gays or lesbians is liable to face a jail term of several years. The president of Uganda resolved to pass the bill after realizing that gay people did not have any special problem. President Museveni realized that gays do not have any special problem after scientists established that genes for homosexuality do not exist.

Similarly, like in Russia, the signing of the antigay law received many critics from different corners of the world. The critics originated from the heads of state of different countries, including President Obama, and even human rights groups as well as civil societies[7]. As such, currently, President Museveni faces sanctions from the US government because of passing the laws, as well as the chances of not receiving any financial assistance from the west. Most of the people, who objected to these laws, viewed them as draconian and meant to violate people’s rights. Despite, these critics, the laws are in force, thus it is currently illegal for any person to engage in any form of homosexual behavior in Uganda.

Similarly, the gay community and lesbians in Uganda face discrimination including homophobia just like their counterparts in Russia based on their sexual orientation. Because of homophobia, most Ugandans hate and fear gays, thus do not like mingling or associating with them as friends or close associates. For example, in a household, most people do not like associating or identifying with gay people as part of their family members. Consequently, lack of attention and support from family members and friends, lead to the development of psychological problems among homosexuals. Similarly, in the employment sector, this group of people receives a lot of discrimination from the employees. For example, most Ugandan employers disregard gay people when it comes to employment or existing job opportunities. The Ugandan employers disregard gay people despite their academic qualifications, as they believe that employing such people will tarnish the name as well as the image of the companies.

Discrimination of gay people in Uganda not only applies in employment but also in other vital sectors in the country. For example, most churches in Uganda do not accept or tend to be skeptical about the idea of homosexual members being part of their congregation. These churches discourage homosexuality since they consider the acts sinful, dirty, as well as ungodly. Further, most churches in Uganda discriminate against homosexuals as they consider the behavior immoral and against the teachings of God. Similarly, the gay community receives a lot of discrimination in the health sector as well as learning institutions in the country. For example, most health services institutions in the country do not provide the necessary medical care to gays. This state of things mostly applies to homosexuals especially in situations where they are seeking treatment for sexually transmitted infections[8]. Most healthcare practitioners do so since they view homosexuality as a form of prostitution. Further, health practitioners provide treatment to gay people, while calling them bad names, unlike people who engage in heterosexual behavior. Moreover, most people in Uganda do not like electing leaders who are homosexual, since they view them as inferior.

Despite discrimination based on sexual orientation being a major problem in Russia, it is arguable that the Russian government is doing very little to alleviate the problem. This situation exists despite LGBT movements winning a lot of political support from the western countries including the United States, and other commonwealth states. For example, existing facts show that up to now the Russian government has not instituted any law banning homosexual propaganda among its youths. Despite this fact, another worst thing is that the Russian ruling party known as the United Russian is about to accept an anti-homosexuality and child adoption law[9]. Acceptance of the law will stop homosexual couples living abroad, and in Russia from adopting kids of Russian origin. Further, the law will prevent homosexual marriages and single citizens from adopting children of Russian origin. It is arguable that these restrictions will discriminate against homosexuals from the right of having families and children.

The Russian government seeks to prohibit the adoption of young children by homosexual parents, because of the view that doing this will inculcate immoral values in the children. Adoption of children by homosexual parents will inculcate immoral values in them especially when they see their homosexual parents engaging in unnatural sexual acts. Consequently, repetition of the acts may distort the perceptions of the children, especially on human associations9. Thus, the Russian government refers to these acts as a defilement of the children by teaching them about men having sex with fellow men and women with their fellows.

In addition, the Russian government prohibits marriages among people of the same sex since it sticks to the values of the Orthodox Church. Thus, it would be very wrong to allow marriages between people of the same sex as this is against Christian teachings. Further, president Putin’s administration discourages same-sex marriages since it considers reproduction as a duty of all its citizens. Thus, being that homosexual parents cannot reproduce it would rather be pointless to allow the occurrence of such marriages as free choice is not part of the Russian government.

Denying gay couples the room for adopting children by the Russian government received many critics from various corners. For example, some nongovernmental organizations and human rights activists viewed the move, as denying the community the right for having families and children. Further, other people viewed the move as one aimed at discriminating against the gay community. Despite these pressures, the Russian government under the leadership of President Putin is still steadfast in prohibiting homosexuality in the country[10].

On a similar note, the Russian government has not instituted any law prohibiting discrimination against gay people in the employment sector. As such, the gay community in the country still experiences a lot of discrimination when it comes to employment. Further, the Russian government has not instituted any law prohibiting discrimination against gay people in learning institutions. Therefore, the gay community is still experiencing a lot of discrimination in the church as well as in the schools. Discrimination of this nature is now putting the community in a state of depression and low self-esteem, as most of them feel unwanted in society10.

Similarly, like Russia, the Ugandan government and all the associated institutions have not instituted policies aimed at addressing the issue of discrimination and inequality among homosexuals in the country.  This state of things exists in the country despite numerous pressures from the west advocating for the revocation of the antigay act or law. It is arguable that Uganda has more strict antigay policies than Russia. For example, currently, the Ugandan government does not allow any activities aimed at championing the rights of the homosexuals, including holding peaceful demonstrations. Further, the country does not allow any person or agency to provide counseling services to homosexuals10. As such, people viewed the Ugandan antigay policies as more strict than those of Russia, which only prohibit discussion of homosexual issues in the presence of children.

Lack of proper policies protecting the gay community put it in a major crisis in the country, as discrimination against the population is on the increase. The Ugandan government is against establishing policies protecting the community from discrimination, as doing this is another way of legalizing homosexuality in the country. Consequently, homosexuals find it very difficult to obtain employment in the country as most employers discriminate against them. Employers avoid employing homosexuals because of the view that they will tarnish the image of their companies. Similarly, it has become very difficult for homosexuals to access healthcare as most of them hide in the closets for fear of arrests and prosecution9. Therefore, these facts imply that homosexuals are suffering in Uganda from discrimination in all quarters of vital sectors in the country.

Conclusion

From the analysis of the two countries, it is evident that homosexuality is a reality in the world. Despite the existence of this reality, homosexuals suffer from different problems in the two countries including homophobia, and high levels of discrimination. For example, the gay community receives a lot of discrimination in the health sector as well as learning institutions in the two countries8. As such, most institutions for providing health services do not provide the necessary medical care to homosexuals, especially in situations where they are seeking treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Most healthcare practitioners do so because they view homosexuality as a form of prostitution and thus society must condemn it.  Similarly, homosexuals face a lot of discrimination in the employment sector, as the employers hate employing them due to the belief that they will tarnish the image of their companies7. In addition, most people in the two countries disregard electing homosexual leaders, since they view them as inferior.

Therefore, because of these problems, it is vital for governments of the two countries to come up with substantial measures and policies for protecting homosexuals against discrimination. In this regard, it is vital for the governments to do so, as homosexuals are normal human beings, deserving all the rights for protection and equal treatment. As such, there is the need for the governments to institute policies that will ensure that homosexuals receive equal treatment in the employment, health care, education sectors, and even in leadership. Doing so is essential because it will make homosexuals feel appreciated and part of the entire society. Further, doing so is essential because it will enable maximum utilization of the skills possessed by people from the gay community[11].

Bibliography

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[1] Antonova, Maria. “Homophobic Fever.” Russian Life, 2014: 105-119.

[2] Boyd, Lydia. “The Problem with Freedom: Homosexuality and Human Rights in Uganda.”

Anthropological Quarterly, 2013: 697-724.

[3] Clark, Fiona. “Discrimination against LGBT people triggers health concerns.” Lancet, 2014:

500-512.

[4] Boyd, Lydia. “The Problem with Freedom: Homosexuality and Human Rights in Uganda.”

Anthropological Quarterly, 2013: 697-724.

[5] Joseph, Sebastian. “Pressure escalates on Winter Olympic brands to act against Russia’s anti-gay Laws.” Marketing Week, 2014: 64-109.

[6] O’Reilly, Lara. “Google takes stand on Russia’s anti-gay laws with doodle.” Marketing Week,

2014: 45-113.

[7] Seitz-Wald, Alex. “Evangelicals Are Winning the Gay Marriage Fight–in Africa and Russia.”

National Journal, 2014: 14-98.

[8] Boyd, Lydia. “The Problem with Freedom: Homosexuality and Human Rights in Uganda.”

Anthropological Quarterly 86, no. 3 (Summer2013 2013): 697-724. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 26, 2014).

[9] Lewis, Gregory B. “Does Believing Homosexuality Is Innate Increase Support for Gay Rights.”

Policy Studies Journal 37, no. 4 (November 2009): 669-693. Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed March 26, 2014).

[10] Overby, L. Marvin. “Etiology and Attitudes: Beliefs about the Origins of Homosexuality and

Their Implications for Public Policy.” Journal of Homosexuality 61, no. 4 (April 2014): 568-587. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 26, 2014).

[11] Nyanzi, Stella. “Dismantling reified African culture through localized homosexuality in

Uganda.” Culture, Health & Sexuality 15, no. 8 (September 2013): 952-967. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 26, 2014).