23 March 2010

LGBT rights around the world

The following article links to a PDF file from the US Department of State, that summarizes LGBT rights in every nation worldwide, sorted by continent:

Bay Windows

Since Sarah has to travel to many nations around the world as part of her job, having this information will help out immensely with writing some of my scenes in the countries concerned. In a nutshell, Western Europe is still the most friendly region of the world, although East Asia is catching up surprisingly fast (well, not so much of a surprise to me), while Africa and the Middle East remain dismal.

Although Sarah's airline is about to start up its first-ever African route (serving Ghana and Nigeria) and adding its third Middle Eastern destination (Bahrain, in addition to Kuwait and Dubai), I don't think Sarah will ever be going to any of those places anytime soon - and given her seniority by now, she should be able to stick to her favorite European and Asian routes.

Another key may be to have Sarah personally document the fast-improving life for LGBTs in East Asia, from a non-Asian perspective. Now that will be a challenge for me. However, by having Sarah tell stories of improvement in Asia over the years, I could add yet another positive twist to the story. I want her, in particular, to report on all sorts of strong LGBT protection laws put in by the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan (the article says any business who discriminates against LGBTs can expect a very hefty fine), and/or rulings coming out of South Korea's Human Rights Commission - not to mention transpeople in pop culture in both countries plus other Asian destinations.

And while modern developments are featured, traditional culture still needs to play a part. Sarah's first trip to Hong Kong will certainly involve Kwan Yin, and I intend to send her to Monastery of Ten Thousand Buddhas, where I was absolutely overwhelmed by the number of Kwan Yin statues there; in fact, she may be even more overcome with emotions. And during my Seoul stay, I had decided that Sarah would write a travelogue for United's inflight magazine, Hemispheres, featuring Seoul's shaman sights, as well as some blurb on the role of transgender women as shamans (mudang); that idea is still a go, of course, and yes, Sarah will write the article as an openly transgender lesbian employee.

Sarah must also discuss nasty surprises even in "friendly" Europe - be they from Jamaican thugs in southern London, Surinamese thugs in Amsterdam, or neo-Nazi skinheads and Slavic homophobes in Germany. She may have some REAL difficulties in Amsterdam in particular, but I want her to be able to overcome them with help of some kind locals.

It's kind of hard to motivate myself to get back to writing still, but it looks like my work will wind down significantly in a few months, so let me see what happens then. For now I'm too busy enjoying my newfound solitary living. In the meantime, I have confirmed my New Orleans visit; although the most logical airline for New Orleans is Delta (after all, the Delta name itself refers to the Mississippi Delta), I am sticking to Sarah and United while my elite privileges still last. See you on board, Sarah! (And of course, I'd LOVE to travel to Japan toward the autumn. Given my travel patterns, Nawlins and Japan are the two most glaring gaps in my travels, and I sincerely hope to fill those gaps this year.)

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