In response to the United Nation's June resolution to promote equality based on sexuality and gender identity, the GlobalPost is launching a 12+ part special report that will focus on the struggle for LGBT rights around the world. Over the next two months, the website will feature stories, videos, and photos about queer people from 13 different countries.
The project starts close to home -- two stories about Dan Choi and the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell have already been posted. Using an interactive map, readers will be able to explore published and upcoming stories in "The Rainbow Struggle."
While some of us in queer communities may be aware of international efforts for equality, LGBT issues are frequently framed only as national issues in the mainstream media. GlobalPost aims to bring attention to how truly universal the struggle is. Their project promises to look at local problems with an understanding that no man is an island.
The report is ambitious, but the plan looks solid. With a focus on the impacts of globalization, The Rainbow Struggle will explore political, religious, and financial connections to pro- and anti-LGBT movements. While the countries covered are home to a wide array of social landscapes, anti-queer tactics are startlingly similar around the globe. The project hopes that by telling stories that go overlooked, they can bring light to the benefits and drawbacks of a more connected world. LGBT rights director of Human Rights Watch, Graeme Reid, explains the dilemma:
“Globalization has had paradoxical effects — on one had it has facilitated the gay movement and on the other provoked a backlash. New possibilities for communication and connectivity have given impetus to international solidarity. But globalization has also seen the growth of religious fundamentalisms. Many people feel that their traditional way of life is changing too rapidly, and LGBT people are often the scapegoats."
In the upcoming weeks, you can read about corrective rape in South Africa, honor killings in Turkey, and marriage equality in Argentina. Even countries that are we often consider progressive don't escape the report's critical eye; Sweden's transgender sterilization laws are challenged as well as the success of Spain's conservative Popular Party.
In any revolution, there's a need for moderates and radicals, the mainstream and the fringes, and everything in between. GlobalPost, whose mission is" help fill the enormous void that has grown up in coverage of the world by US news organizations" might not be Newsweek in popularity or influence, but we're getting somewhere. As queer stories spread from whispers among friends out to newspapers, TV, and magazines, we become harder to ignore. Here's to homos all over the world.