Human rights analysis of homosexuality. Focus study: Estonia
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My thesis has three main foci: the history of homosexuality, the social acceptance of the homosexuals and the treatment of homosexuality in the legislation, all these issues will be investigated and exemplified by means of Estonia. The question, which guided me through my research, is simple: How is homosexuality perceived in present day Estonia? For this I chose to focus on a few basic parameters, the most important being: what is homosexuality? For this purpose I looked at the history and compared other states to Estonia because in my opinion only by comparative analysis one can truly understand a nation and get an accurate measurement of the perception of homosexuality. The quest for appropriate literature on the aforementioned areas displayed that, even though homosexuality is after ethnicity the second biggest form of discrimination in the EU, not many governments, even within the EU, encourage research about this very delicate topic. For many states discriminating in present day works by simply ignoring the existence of homosexuality, even more than claiming homophobia. When you are from a different ethnicity it is hard for a government to deny your existence, visibility is shown. For a person with a different sexual orientation this is very different. Fear of discrimination leads to a closeted lifestyle, a closeted lifestyle leads to a lack of visibility in society and a lack of visibility leads to a government that does not see the problem. The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, answered in the New York’s Colombia University when asked about the execution of homosexuals in his country: "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country." General laughter followed from the crowed. "In Iran we do not have this phenomenon, I don't know who has told you that we have it," he said. (BBC News, 2007) Many conservative states believe that homosexuality is a choice or a disease which can be cured and that is spreading due to the tolerance it experiences in many 'Western countries'. Many countries believe that if you prevent the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality, it will not arise in society. Even closer in one of the Baltic states, Lithuania, just last month they approved a law making it illegal to talk about homosexuality in schools and places where youth is present. (The Baltic Times, 2009) When looking at history it becomes clear that homosexuality has been defined differently in different areas and that the concept of ‘a homosexual relationship’ is something very new. The general belief in the West is the necessity for acceptance of homosexuality and by trend it can be said that when a country develops in human rights, it will accept homosexual behaviour. For many conservative countries, like Poland and Lithuania, a development is not making homosexuality a part of the society but is keeping a society with the traditional perception of a relationship between a man and a woman where the natural conception of children is present. If the sexual deviant that homosexuality is, becomes a part of society, it will mean the destruction of the society as homosexuality leads to a lack of children, diseases like AIDS and is often put on the same line as alcoholism, drugs addicts and criminals. Throughout the years this has been discussed a lot and the differences within countries are still there in present day society. Acceptance of homosexuality is still far from well developed, in many states. For Estonia I conducted my own interviews and additionally based my chapters on the research done by Judit Strömpl and by talking with lawmakers in Estonia. I compared Estonia with Russia and Belgium. I chose these countries because of the different level on development. Belgium is known for its total acceptance towards homosexuality, Estonia is developing towards more inclusion and Russia still has no urge to include homosexuality in its society, only pressure from the EU leads to certain legal protections. As homosexuality is still so widely unknown and the numbers of homosexuals for example within Estonia is relatively unknown it is important to first explain things. My main goal with this thesis is to inform people about the history, the development in history and the present day society.