Now this was a new one on me.
It's a somewhat quirky story of a teen fleeing Nicaragua because he is homosexual and persecuted. The upshot being that he can't prove he's gay so he is denied asylum.
Sounds like some awful film plot. Anyway...
It includes the information:
In Nicaragua, a 1992 amendment to the penal code criminalized same-sex relationships, and the law is vague enough that individuals campaigning for gay rights or providing sexual health information could also be prosecuted, according to a 2006 Amnesty International report.
"The law criminalizing sodomy was introduced in 1992 and [there] was a concerted effort to put it on the books despite lobbying and criticism by human rights groups," said Mr. Khaki (his lawyer) , who has represented other gay Nicaraguan refugee claimants with success.
Particularly bizarre, in the reporting of this story, is the language used:
"Soft-spoken with delicate features, wearing a pink-checked shirt, Mr. Orozco certainly looks the part."
Later, lawyer Khaki states:
"I think the decision shows a lack of understanding of issues facing queer kids from homophobic cultures and what they have to deal with in terms of gender stereotypes"
Did he just say "queer"? Ouch. And that's from his own lawyer. Anyway, that's not point.
The point, I guess, is that I was surprised that homosexuality was still illegal in Nicaragua. As a fiercely Catholic country I should have suspected it but I suppose I never gave it any thought.
Although gay men and lesbians had taken part in the revolution--some of them having had prominent roles--glbtq rights were not high on the agenda of the Sandinista government. Roger N. Lancaster suggests that the political risks of taking up such an issue, which was sure to meet with hostility from the Roman Catholic church, were seen as too dangerous. While some in the Sandinista movement decried homosexuality as decadent or bourgeois, a few voices were raised in support of equal rights. For the most part, glbtq people were simply ignored.
For your information GLBTQ stands for gay,lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer. That word again. Is it acceptable after all? Or is the word here used ironically? Did I miss a meeting?
That's a shock. Certainly, as I understand it, it's a law that is not normally enforced. But the fact it is there, and it can be used at the whim of any homophobic official, must be of concern.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I'm not. Not that there is anything wrong with that.