It is apparent that the queer identified in Zimbabwe has not yet been socially accepted enough to even begin to look at the ways marriage laws discriminate against them. The most basic rights that are assumed when looking at the discrimination of LGB community and what are thought of as given human rights seen through a North American lense do not exist. The most basic laws of protection from active discrimination in public do not exist. Thus, to try and apply our notion of equal marriage rights within this society would be like trying to run before learning to walk. There are more pressing rights that need to be addressed, such as changing the laws that make ____ punishable by death for the LGB people who live within Zimbabwe before marital status and how the laws surrounding marriage are oppressive can begin to be examined.
From the previous three examples, it is clear that there is disparity in the application of sexual rights as they relate to marriage in different countries. For every border crossed there must be a new intersectional cross of social and political understanding to create a workable definition of sexual rights. Therefore, it is an exercise in calculating pie to the last digit when trying to create a transnational definition of sexual rights as they relate to LGB marriage: impossible. When LGB rights related to marriage in one country (United States) leads to a gray area and difficulty adoption, while in another it leads possible death (Zimbabwe), you are comparing apples and blood. They might both be red, but I would only recommend eating one for breakfast.
These definitions of what are and are not "sexual rights" can be confusing at times. For instance, an LGB individual from Canada where homosexual marriage is legal might not understand how homosexual relationships are legal in Japan, yet marriage is not. This does not even begin to scratch the surface of the issues which might arise when say, a Canadian LGB identified individual...
Further complicating the matter is the fact that this individual might try to demand rights they feel they are entitled to, having come from a country that allows same sex marriage. The resident government may not be willing to allow such acts to be entertained within its boundaries. Another delicate part in applying this definition is in a case where the law allows all practices related to LGB but does not provide for their protection. This makes such individuals vulnerable to discrimination and unfair treatment both in the public and private sector. A good example is Japan where homosexuality is allowed but there are no anti-discrimination laws put in place to protect such individuals.
Another factor that has led to the increased challenge in transnational application of sexual rights is the fact that most international organizations do not provide a proper guideline on what constitutes such rights thus there are no universally binding laws with regard to sexual rights. This gives each country or territory a chance to formulate its own definition of sexual rights and implement them without the fear of being subjected to any ruling. This has led to gross abuse of the rights of such individuals, such as is the case in Zimbabwe, but these individuals have no concrete body to forward their claims to since they have no legislations to defend them.
The case presented above clearly indicates that there is a dilemma in the application of sexual rights transnationally. This cannot necessarily be solved as many foreign bodies try to do by waving the magic "We must talk about homosexual rights within the HIV / AIDS crisis" wand. The antiviral fairy cannot sprinkle her chemically concocted T-cell enhancing dust into the eyes of law makers and make a universally acceptable law around LGB marriage. While it is not disputed that many aspects of social life may appear challenged on the international scene when homosexual marriage is presented as a matter of "rights," perhaps emphasizing 'the equal' aspect of rights might make the notion a more acceptable one on an international stage.
Engelke, M. "We wondered what human rights he was talking about': Human rights,
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Mandigo, J. "New blow for gay rights in Zimbabwe." Institute for war and peace reporting.
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