Religion plays an important role in structuring civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people GLBT. Religious proscriptions against homosexuality were almost universally codified into law until the late 20th century, and laws against homosexuality and denying civil rights to homosexual remain in place in most nation states. The advent of the civil rights movement for GLBT persons has generated considerable backlash both in nations where civil rights have been secured, as well as in nations where many political leaders and movements view the extension of civil rights to GLBT persons as an external cultural threat.
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This is a worldwide phenomenon; same-sex marriage, for example, has been legalized in locales within North and South America, Europe, and Africa, while laws regulating same-sex intimacy have eroded within locales on every continent. This dissertation argues that this marks the emergence of a norm, embodied in a discourse asserting that states should legally enshrine LGBT rights. My intervention is to argue that norms, such as a norm regarding LGBT rights, do not contain any "fixed" content.
Yet surveying the various panel discussions left me confused. Gay people were once policed as criminal subversives, depicted in the popular culture as deviants, and pathologized by the medical establishment as mentally ill. Now most of America views homosexuality as benign. Only 30 years ago, 57 percent of Americans believed consensual gay sex should be illegal.
Same-sex marriage has been legalized in in twenty-seven countries, including the United States, and civil unions are recognized in many Western democracies. Yet same-sex marriage remains banned in many countries, and the expansion of broader lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender LGBT rights has been uneven globally. International organizations, including the United Nations, have issued resolutions in support of LGBT rights, but human rights groups say these organizations have limited power to enforce these newly recognized rights.
Social movements may focus on equal rights, such as the s movement for marriage equality, or they may focus on liberation, as in the gay liberation movement of the s and s. Earlier movements focused on self-help and self-acceptance, such as the homophile movement of the s. Although there is not a primary or an overarching central organization that represents all LGBT people and their interests, numerous LGBT rights organizations are active worldwide.
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Gay rights movementalso called homosexual rights movement or gay liberation movementcivil rights movement that advocates equal rights for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals; seeks to eliminate sodomy laws barring homosexual acts between consenting adults; and calls for an end to discrimination against gay men and lesbians in employment, credit lending, housing, public accommodations, and other areas of life. Religious admonitions against sexual relations between same-sex individuals particularly men long stigmatized such behaviour, but most legal codes in Europe were silent on the subject of homosexuality. Beginning in the 16th century, lawmakers in Britain began to categorize homosexual behaviour as criminal rather than simply immoral. In the s, during the reign of Henry VIIIEngland passed the Buggery Act, which made sexual relations between men a criminal offense punishable by death.
But such moves have yet to translate into national legislation and marriage equality remains unrecognized by the government. The situation prompted 13 same-sex couples to sue the government in February alleging unconstitutional treatment. Transgendered people can change their sex on their family registries in Japan but to do so they must jump through multiple hoops including having to go through invasive gender reassignment surgery.