The impact of double discrimination
Evudence indicate that there are positive impacts of decriminalizing sex work. With decriminalization, sex workers can work in an environment with decaresed discrimination and stigma. Such envrionemnt allows sex workers to take legal action on any cases of violence and harassment. Without discrminationand stigma these individuals can acess education, hosuing and health care openly without fear of judgement from the other members of the society. Decrminalization also allows for the creation of networks that support sex workers’ rights to better conditions.
On the contrary, crminalization of buyers of sex adversely affects the safety of sex workers especially those living in the streets. As a homeless LGBTQ sex worker, there are risks involved when one fails to screen their clients well. For instance if the laws targets the clients, sex workers tend to find themselves in situations with high risk of violence that may lead them to forcefully engage in unprotected sex due to poor screening of clients. In the long-run the sex worker is exposed to the risks of HIV infection. There are countries that prosecute sex workers based on the possession of condoms and there are some that have polcies that make it difficult to negotiate the use of condoms. A 2014 repot by The Lancet indicates that in the next ten years there is a chance to reduce HIV infections by 33-46% if sex work is decriminalized.
About 72 countries worlwode crminalize homosexuality with punishments that range from imprisonments to death penalty. Some countries have goen to an extent of bannimg any LGBTQ-related advertisments or promotions. Countries such UK, Australia and some states in USA have allows ‘gay panic’ defence where gay perpetrators of a particular crime get reduced sentence for fear of ‘unwanted homosexual advances’ in prison. Some states in the USA also allow ‘transgender panic defence. Lesbians in some regions face hostile environments allowing forced marriages and ‘corrective rape’.
The crminalization of LGBTQ relantionships and sex work is underpinned by regressive religious and moral beliefs. Besides the role of legistlative reform, transphobia and homophobia extends beyond decriminalization or law leiberation. It will take many years and generations to change the attitudes and mindsets of people towards the LGBTQ community. Laws can be changed to support the rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ sex workers but people will retain their own prejudices and beliefs. According to a Pakistani sex worker,
“Discrimination and disapproval of the LGBT community, along with the associated social stigma, mostly stem from religious and patriarchal beliefs and make it difficult for LGBT people to have steady relationships. Nevertheless, the LGBT community is still able to socialize, organize, date and even live together as couples, but usually only secretly…Members of the LGBT community always face discrimination due to their sex orientation or practices. Society does not accept and falsely believes that they must be punished under Islamic Law. They do not have right to live and work openly because society believes they negatively affect their children and all LGBT activities are out of Islamic beliefs.”
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