The new anti-LGBT criminal laws in Brunei have caused international outrage that spans far beyond the country’s small south-east Asian’s shores. Actions including celebrities vowing to boycott all Brunei owned hotels and outcries across social media are amongst the protesting of the newly introduced laws stating that Brunei will punish gay sex by stoning offenders to death.
Confusions as to why Brunei laws are going backwards rather than following suit of the acceptance of gay sex in other Asian countries, such as the decriminalisation of LGBTQIA+ identities in India in September last year, have been expressed internationally.
The matter was discussed today on the BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show, where Pragya Pallavi – the first openly gay artist to emerge out of India since the country’s law change – talked about her opinion. Having commented on her own new found freedom in India as part of the LGBT community, Pragya said that she was “agitated and upset” by Brunei’s new laws, stating that the country is “being regressive and going backwards”.
Having recently released ‘Girls You Rule’, a track that was released on International Womens Day and that was described by Gay Times as “a stunning celebration of queer love”, Pragya is set to release her album ‘Queerism’.
The album will be a homage to members of the LGBTQIA+ community and will celebrate same sex love. It is set to release on May 17th – the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and promises a variety of styles including disco, EDM, hip-hop, jazz-soul, Indian fusion, funk and dancehall.
These developments show that parts of the world are progressing with a modernised notion, but sadly as Brunei’s newest laws have shown, this development is not one that all countries yet share.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, urged Brunei’s government to “stop the entry into force of this draconian new penal code”.
“Any religion-based legislation must not violate human rights, including the rights of those belonging to the majority religion as well as of religious minorities and non-believers,” she said in a statement (TheGuardian).