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If you're an LGBTI traveller, red on this map means danger
Do you enjoy 'non-traditional sexual relationships'? Then mind where you travel.
Do you enjoy 'non-traditional sexual relationships'? Then mind where you travel.
Over the last two decades, same-sex marriage and legal protection for the LGBTI community has become commonplace throughout many countries. But that has only widened the gulf with other parts of the world, where homosexuality remains illegal, criminal and in some cases even punishable by death.
This map was published by the Australian company Travel Insurance Direct as a risk guide for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex tourists and travelers.
Coded in the colors of the rainbow flag, the map ranks countries from places with the broadest legal recognition and protection (purple) to those where the law is used to prosecute rather than protect LGBTI people (red).
In all, 72 countries and territories around the world criminalize sexual relationships between men (but only 45 have legal interdictions in place against sexual relationships between women). In many of these countries, homosexuality can result in a jail sentence. In nine - Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Mauritania (1), Sudan (2), Nigeria (3), Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Somalia (3) - same-sex relationships are punishable by death.
Here's an overview, following the color scheme of the map, going from worst to best.
Homosexuality is illegal in 'red' countries. There are specific laws against same-sex acts, which can land you in jail. This is the case in the following countries:
- In the Americas: Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana.
- In Africa: in most countries across the continent, from the Muslim north (Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, to name but a few) to the Christian south (Kenya, Angola, Namibia, among others).
- In Asia: across most of the Middle East – with some notable exceptions – and then in a contiguous zone from Iran all the way to Myanmar. Also in Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.
'Orange' countries have no laws on their books against homosexuality as such but are considered intolerant towards LGBTI people. Here, LGBTI travelers can expect discrimination, prejudice and intolerance both from government officials and in society at large. These countries include popular destinations such as Vietnam and Madagascar, and also:
- In the Americas: Venezuela and Suriname.
- In Africa: the West African nations of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin and Ivory Coast; the Central African countries of CAR, both Congos and Gabon; and Djibouti in the northeast and Madagascar in the southeast.
- In Asia: the Central Asian countries of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan; the South East Asian countries of Laos and Cambodia; and North Korea.
Yellow means homosexuality is no longer illegal in these countries, but they do not provide any legal protection specifically for LGBTI people either. That lack of official support often signals pervasive hostility in society against LGBTI people.
- In the Americas, this is the case across Central America, including in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama; in Haiti and the Dominican Republic: and in Paraguay.
- In Africa, we're talking about four small countries and one large one: Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, Lesotho and Mozambique.
- In Europe, Russia, Turkey and the three Caucasian countries (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) are in the 'yellow' camp.
- In Asia, four Middle-Eastern countries are coded yellow: Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Bahrain; as well as Kazakhstan, China and Indonesia (although homosexuality has been banned in the west-Sumatran province of Aceh; and a nationwide prohibition of same-sex relations is currently under discussion).
In 'green' countries, homosexuality has been legalized and some legal protection for LGBTI people is provided, often by applying general anti-discrimination laws.
- In the Americas: Mexico, El Salvador, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
- In Europe: Belarus, Ukraine, the post-Yugoslav states of Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Macedonia; Albania and Bulgaria (as the only EU member state in this color category); and Monaco.
- In Asia: Israel in the Middle East; Nepal in Central Asia; and Mongolia, South Korea and Japan in the north; and Thailand and the Philippines in Southeast Asia.
'Blue' countries have legalized homosexuality and offer a wide range of legal provisions for LGBTI people – but not all. They do not (yet) have same-sex marriage, for example. They are:
- In the Americas: Costa Rica and Chile.
- In Europe, most of the EU's eastern member states: the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), the four members of the Visegrad Group (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary), the two ex-Yugoslav members (Slovenia and Croatia), plus Romania and Greece. Italy is the only western European EU member state in the blue category, which also includes Switzerland and Andorra.
'Purple' countries have legalized same-sex marriage and generally also offer broad legal protection to LGBTI people. They include:
- In the Americas: Canada and the U.S. in the north, and Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina in the south.
- In Africa: South Africa, as the glaring exception.
- In Europe, an unbroken stretch of countries from Portugal to Finland, and including the offshore nations of Ireland, Iceland and the UK.
- In Asia/Pacific: Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan.
Of course, cultural acceptance of LGBTI people can often be at great variance with the legal situation. For instance, in Russia, lesbian sex has never been illegal and male homosexuality has been legal since 1993. Yet being openly gay in Russia often leads to discrimination and violence. A Russian law against the 'promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships' to minors can be used to target LGBTI activists.
But, as plenty of LGBTI people know all too well, they don't need to travel far to encounter discrimination, or worse. A 2015 report by the UN listed hundreds of hate crimes against LGBTs around the world, concluding that they suffered “pervasive violent abuse, harassment and discrimination" in all regions of the world – including in 'purple' countries.
Brazil, for example, reported 310 documented murders in 2012 in which homophobia or transphobia was a motive. The Organization of American States reported 594 hate-related killings of LGBT people in its 25 member states between January 2013 and March 2014. And in the U.S., the report states, bias-motivated crimes based on sexual orientation rank second only to racist incidents in the hate crime category.
Among the report's recommendations: investigate and prosecute alleged hate crimes, prohibit incitement of hatred and violence on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity, and change laws to remove offenses relating to consensual same-sex conduct. Or in terms of this map: more purple, and deeper purple.
Strange Maps #894
Got a strange map? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) Only applies to Muslim men.
(2) For a third conviction.
(3) Only in local jurisdictions that have adopted sharia law.
How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.
- A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
- It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
- While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Tribalism and discrimination<p>One question the "Genetic Pressure" series explores: What would tribalism and discrimination look like in a world with designer babies? As designer babies grow up, they could be noticeably different from other people, potentially being smarter, more attractive and healthier. This could breed resentment between the groups—as it does in the series.</p><p>"[Designer babies] slowly find that 'everyone else,' and even their own parents, becomes less and less tolerable," author Eugene Clark told Big Think. "Meanwhile, everyone else slowly feels threatened by the designer babies."</p><p>For example, one character in the series who was born a designer baby faces discrimination and harassment from "normal people"—they call her "soulless" and say she was "made in a factory," a "consumer product." </p><p>Would such divisions emerge in the real world? The answer may depend on who's able to afford designer baby services. If it's only the ultra-wealthy, then it's easy to imagine how being a designer baby could be seen by society as a kind of hyper-privilege, which designer babies would have to reckon with. </p><p>Even if people from all socioeconomic backgrounds can someday afford designer babies, people born designer babies may struggle with tough existential questions: Can they ever take full credit for things they achieve, or were they born with an unfair advantage? To what extent should they spend their lives helping the less fortunate? </p>
Sexuality dilemmas<p>Sexuality presents another set of thorny questions. If a designer baby industry someday allows people to optimize humans for attractiveness, designer babies could grow up to find themselves surrounded by ultra-attractive people. That may not sound like a big problem.</p><p>But consider that, if designer babies someday become the standard way to have children, there'd necessarily be a years-long gap in which only some people are having designer babies. Meanwhile, the rest of society would be having children the old-fashioned way. So, in terms of attractiveness, society could see increasingly apparent disparities in physical appearances between the two groups. "Normal people" could begin to seem increasingly ugly.</p><p>But ultra-attractive people who were born designer babies could face problems, too. One could be the loss of body image. </p><p>When designer babies grow up in the "Genetic Pressure" series, men look like all the other men, and women look like all the other women. This homogeneity of physical appearance occurs because parents of designer babies start following trends, all choosing similar traits for their children: tall, athletic build, olive skin, etc. </p><p>Sure, facial traits remain relatively unique, but everyone's more or less equally attractive. And this causes strange changes to sexual preferences.</p><p>"In a society of sexual equals, they start looking for other differentiators," he said, noting that violet-colored eyes become a rare trait that genetically engineered humans find especially attractive in the series.</p><p>But what about sexual relationships between genetically engineered humans and "normal" people? In the "Genetic Pressure" series, many "normal" people want to have kids with (or at least have sex with) genetically engineered humans. But a minority of engineered humans oppose breeding with "normal" people, and this leads to an ideology that considers engineered humans to be racially supreme. </p>
Regulating designer babies<p>On a policy level, there are many open questions about how governments might legislate a world with designer babies. But it's not totally new territory, considering the West's dark history of eugenics experiments.</p><p>In the 20th century, the U.S. conducted multiple eugenics programs, including immigration restrictions based on genetic inferiority and forced sterilizations. In 1927, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that forcibly sterilizing the mentally handicapped didn't violate the Constitution. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote, "… three generations of imbeciles are enough." </p><p>After the Holocaust, eugenics programs became increasingly taboo and regulated in the U.S. (though some states continued forced sterilizations <a href="https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/" target="_blank">into the 1970s</a>). In recent years, some policymakers and scientists have expressed concerns about how gene-editing technologies could reanimate the eugenics nightmares of the 20th century. </p><p>Currently, the U.S. doesn't explicitly ban human germline genetic editing on the federal level, but a combination of laws effectively render it <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">illegal to implant a genetically modified embryo</a>. Part of the reason is that scientists still aren't sure of the unintended consequences of new gene-editing technologies. </p><p>But there are also concerns that these technologies could usher in a new era of eugenics. After all, the function of a designer baby industry, like the one in the "Genetic Pressure" series, wouldn't necessarily be limited to eliminating genetic diseases; it could also work to increase the occurrence of "desirable" traits. </p><p>If the industry did that, it'd effectively signal that the <em>opposites of those traits are undesirable. </em>As the International Bioethics Committee <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote</a>, this would "jeopardize the inherent and therefore equal dignity of all human beings and renew eugenics, disguised as the fulfillment of the wish for a better, improved life."</p><p><em>"Genetic Pressure Volume I: Baby Steps"</em><em> by Eugene Clark is <a href="http://bigth.ink/38VhJn3" target="_blank">available now.</a></em></p>
It's hard to stop looking back and forth between these faces and the busts they came from.
- A quarantine project gone wild produces the possibly realistic faces of ancient Roman rulers.
- A designer worked with a machine learning app to produce the images.
- It's impossible to know if they're accurate, but they sure look plausible.
How the Roman emperors got faced<a href="https://payload.cargocollective.com/1/6/201108/14127595/2K-ENGLISH-24x36-Educational_v8_WATERMARKED_2000.jpg" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ2NDk2MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyOTUzMzIxMX0.OwHMrgKu4pzu0eCsmOUjybdkTcSlJpL_uWDCF2djRfc/img.jpg?width=980" id="775ca" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="436000b6976931b8320313478c624c82" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="lineup of emperor faces" data-width="1440" data-height="963" /></a>
Credit: Daniel Voshart<p>Voshart's imaginings began with an AI/neural-net program called <a href="https://www.artbreeder.com" target="_blank">Artbreeder</a>. The freemium online app intelligently generates new images from existing ones and can combine multiple images into…well, who knows. It's addictive — people have so far used it to generate nearly 72.7 million images, says the site — and it's easy to see how Voshart fell down the rabbit hole.</p><p>The Roman emperor project began with Voshart feeding Artbreeder images of 800 busts. Obviously, not all busts have weathered the centuries equally. Voshart told <a href="https://www.livescience.com/ai-roman-emperor-portraits.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Live Science</a>, "There is a rule of thumb in computer programming called 'garbage in garbage out,' and it applies to Artbreeder. A well-lit, well-sculpted bust with little damage and standard face features is going to be quite easy to get a result." Fortunately, there were multiple busts for some of the emperors, and different angles of busts captured in different photographs.</p><p>For the renderings Artbreeder produced, each face required some 15-16 hours of additional input from Voshart, who was left to deduce/guess such details as hair and skin coloring, though in many cases, an individual's features suggested likely pigmentations. Voshart was also aided by written descriptions of some of the rulers.</p><p>There's no way to know for sure how frequently Voshart's guesses hit their marks. It is obviously the case, though, that his interpretations look incredibly plausible when you compare one of his emperors to the sculpture(s) from which it was derived.</p><p>For an in-depth description of Voshart's process, check out his posts on <a href="https://medium.com/@voshart/photoreal-roman-emperor-project-236be7f06c8f" target="_blank">Medium</a> or on his <a href="https://voshart.com/ROMAN-EMPEROR-PROJECT" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">website</a>.</p><p>It's fascinating to feel like you're face-to-face with these ancient and sometimes notorious figures. Here are two examples, along with some of what we think we know about the men behind the faces.</p>
Caligula<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ2NDk4Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3MzQ1NTE5NX0.LiTmhPQlygl9Fa9lxay8PFPCSqShv4ELxbBRFkOW_qM/img.jpg?width=980" id="7bae0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ce795c554490fe0a36a8714b86f55b16" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="992" data-height="558" />
One of numerous sculptures of Caligula, left
Nero<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ2NTAwMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NTQ2ODU0NX0.AgYuQZzRQCanqehSI5UeakpxU8fwLagMc_POH7xB3-M/img.jpg?width=980" id="a8825" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9e0593d79c591c97af4bd70f3423885e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="992" data-height="558" />
One of numerous sculptures of Nero, left
A popular and longstanding wave of thought in psychology and psychotherapy is that diagnosis is not relevant for practitioners in those fields.
Scientists regenerate damaged spinal cord nerve fibers with designer protein, helping paralyzed mice walk again.
- Researchers from Germany use a designer protein to treat spinal cord damage in mice.
- The procedure employs gene therapy to regenerate damaged nerve fibers that carry signals to and from the brain.
- The scientists aim to eventually apply the technique to humans.