… so if you read that thing by Bareebe and House I noted yesterday, you may have noticed their mention without naming of other nations of the Commonwealth (beyond this recent way-over-the-top example in Uganda) that have nasty, regressive laws generally making life unpleasant for LGBT types.

I got curious about that. So I cross-referenced the Wikipedia pages on states of the Commonwealth and LGBT rights by country or territory. Spreadsheeted it, y’know. Nothing fancy. Just tried to focus on: do they have laws against (picking the one that seemed to stand out) same sex sexual activity and do they enforce them…

Result, from my quick count: of the 54 member nations of the Commonwealth, 38 have laws against same-sex sexual activity. Generally these are prison sentences, some to life, some involving hard labour, corporal punishment, so on. In seven of these, the laws aren’t generally enforced, leaving 31 in which they are. There are an additional seven (beyond the 38) with less clearcut situations—the laws aren’t clear, or are in transition, it’s being legalized or proposed legalized, or just somewhat discriminatory. Including Canada, in which consenting same sex sexual activity is legal, but the age of consent laws are different for same-sex sex.

Also of interest, several (I counted five) of the nations that made it onto this list as having issues (and note that a list of nations without the same would be shorter by half) were, in fact, signatories to the UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity, and, so far as I can see, still enforce laws against consensual same sex sexual behaviour.

… so, okay, that checks out. And yes, in fact, this is the kind of thing I sometimes do with a bit of time to kill in the middle of the night, in case anyone were wondering.

As a pattern, it appears also the laws are in part a legacy of British colonialism, which I guess isn’t surprising, given that generally common element in the history of these nations. In fairness, I don’t know how in general and did not research how the cultures in each locale actually treated same sex sexual behaviour prior to the coming of the British, so whether that’s entirely about the onetime empire’s attitudes is harder to quantify, at least through a quick exercise like this.

Anyway: it’s fair enough to say, I guess, if anyone’s looking for a few more high commissions to picket (or otherwise address), this could prove a project with some duration.