Last edited: February 14, 2005

Amnesty Says Gay Abuse Rampant

Associated Press, June 22, 2001

By Katherine Roth

NEW YORK—Homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people are tortured and mistreated in at least 30 countries, including the United States, Amnesty International said in a report issued Friday.

It said same-sex relations are illegal in 70 nations and 17 U.S. states. The human rights group said government inaction and occasional provocation drive the violence.

"There is an overriding tolerance of abuse because of the social stigma attached to homosexuality and (because of) defined gender norms," said William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

The report documented alleged cases of torture and mistreatment in Uganda, Pakistan, Argentina, Russia and the United States.

Among them were cases in which people were antagonized while in custody, physically and sexually assaulted, subjected to unnecessary medical or psychiatric treatment and forced to flee their countries because of persecution based on their sexual identity.

The report noted that homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people—whom it defined as those with a compelling sense that their sexual identity does not conform to their bodies—are frequently subjected to torture and abuse by state agents in police stations and prisons.

It said many countries—and U.S. states—consider same-sex relations a crime and that in some countries these types of relations are punishable by the death penalty.

Anti-sodomy laws exist in Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia, as well as Puerto Rico, it said.

To stop torture and mistreatment based on sexual identity, the group urged the repeal of such laws and said forced medical "treatments" designed to "cure" homosexuality should be banned.

It also called for the protection of refugees fleeing torture based on sexual identity, and government prohibition of all types of discrimination based on sexual identity.

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