In September 2018, India made a giant stride towards becoming a Rainbow Nation. The Supreme Court of India did what had to be done a long time ago by decriminalising section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. A vestige of India's British history, section 377 could have been used against the LGBT community since it criminalises "unnatural" sex. So when it was struck down, the event became a watershed moment in the queer history of India. The year 2018 was indeed special for the community. But India wasn't alone in its celebration. The year 2018 saw many such encouraging developments that boded well for the LGBTQ community.
1 The Biggest Marriage Equality Court Order
In January 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered that the Latin American countries make gay marriages legal. Sixteen countries Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Surinam were directed by the court order. A seven-judge panel stated that same-sex couples should be treated without discrimination in these countries. The ruling went out to become the biggest marriage equality court order in human history.
2 Trinidad and Tobago Decriminalises Same-Sex Sexual Activity
In April 2018, the Trinidad and Tobago government decriminalised same-sex sexual activities in a landmark judgement. The verdict was passed after an LGBTQ activist Jason Jones won filed a lawsuit to repeal sections 13 and 16 under the Trinidadian Sexual Offenses Act called the "buggery law." Justice Devindra Rampersad who ruled in favour of the lawsuit said that the law is unconstitutional since it impedes gay men's rights to sex.
3 Churches Bless Same-Sex Marriages
The LGBTQ community has faced a lot of antagonism from the religious conservatives. But in 2018, churches came forward in their acceptance of same-sex marriages. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, Evangelical Church of Hesse Electorate-Waldeck, United Methodist Church and Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia allowed the blessing of same-sex marriages. The Church of Scotland also voted in favour of drafting new church law to accommodate gay marriage. LGBT Pride Month 2018: A Glossary of Terms Associated With the LGBTQ Community.
4 Transgender No Longer a "Disorder" According to WHO
The World Health Organization make an announcement in June that it will no longer treat gender incongruence or transgenderism as a mental disorder. For the longest time, International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems considered Transgender identity as a mental problem. But as of 2018, it's no longer classified as a deviancy. Instead, it is now considered a sexual health condition, which helps healthcare systems offer healthcare needs with respect to the person's gender instead of biology.
5 #MeToo Storm
While #MeToo is known mostly for the stories of women's abuse, some gay and lesbian personalities also came out with stories of sexual harassment. One of the most notable people who was implicated include actor Kevin Spacey. The viral hashtag #MeQueer was used by many on the social media platform to share their experiences of abuse and discrimination. Many of these were stories from the queer community, highlighting the inhuman treatment they received from parents, teachers, peers and the society at large, on account of their sexuality.