Post-Colonial Moment: Hong Kong Revokes Anti-Sodomy Law

A judges has struck down Hong Kong's anti-sodomy laws last Wednesday. The law, which was brought to court by a 20-year-old gay man, sentences men under the age of 21 to life sentences for engaging in gay sexual contact.

As he left the High Court, the gay man, William Roy Leung, said his legal victory meant "I can finally have a loving relationship without being scared of jail for life imprisonment."

The judge ruled the laws "discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation" and "are demeaning of gay men who are, through the legislation, stereotyped as deviant."

The laws prohibited "gross indecency" or sexual intimacy between men if one or both are under 21. But heterosexual and lesbian couples who are 16 or older can legally have such relations.

Some Christian groups condemned Wednesday's decision, saying it would encourage more young people to try sodomy.

The LGBT community is treated differently throughout Asia. The Philippines and Thailand tend to be more tolerant, while ethnic Chinese cultures like Hong Kong are less open.

In a time when former colonies are trying to rid the chains of their former European colonist, many other countries would still like to keep the inherited laws, such as Jamaica. Is this a sign of change in the Global South concerning homosexuality?


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