Being a student at a Indiana University in Bloomington and a gender studies major at that I feel am I a little spoiled with the LGBTI friendly environment around me. Spending time in my small hometown in northern Indiana over break showed me just how different communities can feel towards GLBTI issues. As I was searching the internet tonight trying to decide what I wanted to blog about, I came across many news articles that highlighted the struggles that exist with the rights of the LGBTI community all over the world.
In my Gender 215 class this term we watched a movie entitled, Missionaries of Hate that documented the recent anti gay bills that have been in the works in Nigeria. As described in an article as draconian the bill will call for harsh punishments such a prison time for simply identifying as homosexual. The article and film both explained that many Africans feel that homosexuality is a product of Western Influence. This claimed is protested in the film, but I began to wonder if instead of homosexuality, homophobia was brought over by Americans. Missionaries of Hate explained how many American evangelicals have traveled to Africa and shared false information about gay people to the local Nigerians, fostering homophobia out of fear.
As I looked through articles online I found that homophobia in American stems from many people not just evangelicals as I read of the high numbers of youth committing suicide as a result of gender/sex discrimination. Though the number of tormented GLBTI youth is alarming it was reassuring to see that seven specialty GLBTI suicide prevention groups were founded this week, to further these strategies.
Throughout my research this week I gladly noted that treatment and understanding of GLBTI issues are growing and is not just reduced to the very accepting community I am surrounded by. Though this news is comforting I realized I must not overlook the many other issues such as anti gay bills, and ever present discrimination, because even though GLBTI acceptance may be on the rise there is still much hate and discrimination that must be stopped.

-Claire Amick

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