A lot of what Biscuit Barrel (the commenter formerly known as Flaming Fairy) predicted in the New Year thread seemed entirely plausible:
My prediction is that here in the UK, equal marriage will become a reality and the sky won’t fall in as a result. Boy will still meet girl and marry her, but all that will change is that girl will be able to marry girl and boy will be able to marry boy. Legal polygamy and the marriage of dog to man will not ensue. The various churches and faith groups in the various coalitions against decency and humanity will become ever more irrelevant and yet ever more strident in demanding a respect they aren’t prepared to extend to others.
Meanwhile, in direct contrast, in Africa, the heat will be turned up against LGBT people. I fully expect to see something very nasty happen in Uganda, for starters. I’m talking organised state violence against LGBT people. I would be sadly unsurprised to see this replicated elsewhere as we queers become a useful scapegoat for governments facing challenges on the domestic front.
I’m not so sure about the last bit – so far, as Bob from Brockley bleakly reports, that function is being reserved for more traditional scapegoats: Jews, Roma and immigrants.
But I certainly agree with Biscuit Barrel about the oddly polarised nature of LGBT related news stories. If you look at a site like Pink News you find a mixture of positive stories about the strides made in marriage equality on the one hand, and a stream of depressing news about state sanctioned homophobia on the other. This recent post by Adrian Tippetts on religious bigotry is well worth reading:
We know that wherever religion mixes with power, the results are fatal for LGBT people. In Iran, and Iraq, hundreds have been murdered and mutilated in the most grotesque ways imaginable, because of their sexuality. The abductions and death squads were a direct result of similar hate-inciting preachments in Baghdad soon after the fall of Saddam. The fact that pews are emptying in Europe is of relatively little consequence. It is in regions like Africa, where the Catholic Church’s influence and following is growing, and where both Christian and Islamist extremism is on the march, where the Pope hopes his message will hit home, and precisely where LGBT people are in fear of their lives most in the Christian world. It is therefore vital that we – the progressives, the media and politicians – speak out against this.
as is this, on Butterflies and Wheels, which draws a telling parallel between the Pope’s accusations that atheists diminish human dignity and the way in which some religious people only seem to recognize the full human dignity of those with the approved sexual orientation. Finally, an interesting piece on homosexuality in Tunisia by Michael Lucas:
Whenever I write about the threat of Muslim fundamentalism abroad, I get angry responses from American gays. But gay people from the regions I’m writing about, who read those same articles, write from across the world to thank me for calling attention to the misery they face under religious rule. And when I go to their countries, they reaffirm their gratitude in person. They worry desperately that their stories are not being heard; they believe that they will be abandoned by Western democracies more interesting in cozying up to the new regimes than in protecting the rights and lives of gay people, women and religious minorities.
Until recently it seems that laws against homosexuality were rarely enforced in (comparatively) liberal Tunisia, but Lucas reports that arrests and intimidation are on the rise. Although we might hope that only the first part of Biscuit Barrel’s prediction comes true, unfortunately the evidence at present points only to continuing polarisation with regard to LGBT rights around the world.