LGBT rights in Mongolia

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LGBT rights in Mongolia Mongolia
Mongolia (orthographic projection).svg
Same-sex sexual intercourse legal status Legal since 1993
Gender identity/expression Transgender people allowed to change legal gender marker following a medical procedure to affirm their gender
Discrimination protections Hate crimes and hate speech outlawed
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
No
Adoption No

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Mongolia do not fully enjoy the rights that non-LGBT people are afforded, though there has been substantial improvements since the 1990s. Homosexuality was criminalised in Mongolia in 1961 through its 1961 Criminal Code.[1] Following Mongolia's peaceful transition to a democracy in the 1990s, homosexuality was legalised and awareness about LGBT people has become more prevalent. Hate crimes and hate speech on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity have been outlawed in the country since 1 July 2017.[2] Households headed by same-sex couples are, however, not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples.

There is only one NGO that states "advocacy for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Mongolia" to be its mandate, and it is the LGBT Centre (active since 2007, the main engine behind the policy and legislative changes in the country around LGBTI rights).[3] Historically, the first gay men's human rights organisation was established in March 1999, and was called Tavilan (meaning "destiny" in Mongolian), the first gay women's human rights organisation, MILC, was established in December 2003 following the failure on the part of the founders of Tavilan to redraft the bylaws of the NGO to include other sub-communities within the LGBT community. The organisation Zaluus Eruul Mend was established in 2003 to continue the HIV work of Tavilan.

Legality of same-sex sexual acts[edit]

Genghis Khan banned homosexual acts in the Mongol Empire, hoping to expand the Mongolian population which was about 1.5 million at the time, while the rival Song Dynasty, which dominated today’s central China, was 100 million strong.[4][5]

The Khalkha Mongols, like many early Siberian peoples, seem to have placed a rather high regard on heterosexual fertility and intercourse and therefore viewed homosexual affairs as a sort of deviation.[6]

After being criminalized in 1961, all mentions of homosexuality were removed from the Mongolian Criminal Code in 1993, effectively legalising private and consensual same-sex sexual activity. The age of consent is 16, regardless of sexual orientation.

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Marriage is defined as a heteronormative institution in the Article 16 (11)[7] of the Mongolian Constitution as "Marriage is based on the equality and mutual consent of a man and a woman who have reached the age determined by law. The State protects the interests of the family, motherhood, and the child."[8]

Discrimination protections and hate crime laws[edit]

LGBT flag map of Mongolia

Until recently, violence and discrimination against LGBT people in Mongolia were fairly common and often not reported to the police. In 2001, a lesbian woman was raped, abducted and stabbed by two men. In 2009, an ultra-nationalist neo-Nazi group kidnapped three transgender women and sexually assaulted them. None of these crimes was reported to the police for fear of victimization.[9] In February 2014, a gay man was sexually assaulted by a neo-Nazi group.[10] Following public outcry from the LGBT community and civil society organizations, the Government of Mongolia announced in May 2014 that it would consider anti-discrimination legislation to protect LGBT people.[11]

On 3 December 2015, the Mongolian Parliament adopted a new Criminal Code that prohibits hate crimes, with the protected grounds including sexual orientation, gender identity and health status. The Criminal Code's coming into force was planned for 1 September 2016, however, the newly elected Cabinet postponed the date to 1 July 2017. In August 2017, the LGBT Centre began training more than 100 police officers on what hate crimes are and how to properly handle them.

Gender identity and expression[edit]

An amendment made in June 2009 to Article 20(1) of the Civil Registration Law allows transgender people to change their legal gender on birth certificates or citizen identification cards following a medical procedure to affirm their new gender.[12]

Hate crimes and hate speech on the basis of gender identity are outlawed in the country.[9]

Sex education[edit]

Mongolia's sex education curriculum introduced in 1998 includes discussion on LGBT and sexual health issues, though teachers may choose whether to cover these topics. Several LGBT students have reported discrimination and bullying at schools.[12]

Living conditions[edit]

As of present, LGBT people lack visibility in Mongolia. In 2009, after more than 10 failed attempts, the Mongolian Government registered the LGBT Centre, the sole non-governmental LGBT human rights organisation.[13] Initially, the State Registration Agency refused to register the organization because it "conflicts with Mongolian customs and traditions and has the potential to set a wrong example for youth and adolescents."[9]

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia has been celebrated in Mongolia since 2011, with events organised by the LGBT Centre.[14] In 2013, the first Pride week was organised by members of the LGBT community.[12] Since 2014, the LGBT Centre has been organising "Equality and Pride Days" annually to promote non-discrimination and equality.[15]

There is a gay bar in Ulaanbaatar, and multiple LGBT groups have emerged over the years. The first LGBT group, Tavilan (Mongolian: тавилан), was founded in 1999 and successfully registered as an NGO, but had its license revoked in 2000. It continued to operate informally.[16]

Ignorance about LGBT issues tends to be quite prominent in Mongolian society. There are "no serious religious barriers" to homosexuality, as the dominant religion, Tibetan Buddhism, is silent on homosexuality. Indeed, homophobia is regarded as a form of nationalism, as many Mongolians believe homosexuality to be a "product of the West".[17]

United Nations[edit]

Mongolia has supported landmark LGBT reforms at the United Nations. In 2011, it signed the "joint statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity" at the United Nations, condemning violence and discrimination against LGBT people.[18] In 2016, it supported the appointment of an independent expert to identify what causes violence and discrimination against LGBT people and to find ways to protect them.[19]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1993)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 1993)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes (Since 2017)
Hate crime laws include sexual orientation and gender identity Yes (Since 2017)
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military Emblem-question.svg
Right to change legal gender Yes (Since 2009)
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood Emblem-question.svg

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Уголовное преследование мужеложства в РСФСР". Википедия (in Russian). 2017-04-03.
  2. ^ "Эрүүгийн хууль, 2015 он".
  3. ^ "Нүүр | ЛГБТ Төв | The LGBT Centre". ЛГБТ Төв | The LGBT Centre. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  4. ^ Onon, Urgunge (2001) The Secret History of the Mongols: The life and times of Chinggis Khan. Abingdon: Routledge-Curzon. p.11. ISBN 978-0700713356. "And anyone found indulging in homosexual practices should be executed."
  5. ^ Pritchard, Gemma (29 August 2007). "Genghis Khan's constitutional ban on homosexuality revealed". PinkNews.
  6. ^ "Cross-Cultural Codes on Twenty Sexual Attitudes and Practices", Gwen Broude and Sarah Greene
  7. ^ "Монгол Улсын Үндсэн хууль".
  8. ^ Mongolia – Constitution
  9. ^ a b c "Inside Mongolia's Only Gay Bar". Gawker. 3 June 2016.
  10. ^ Gardener, Lisa (22 June 2014). "Mongolia plans anti-discrimination laws". aljazeera.com. Al Jazeera. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  11. ^ Mongolia Considers Anti-Discrimination Law to Protect LGBT Citizens Human Rights Campaign
  12. ^ a b c BEING LGBT IN ASIA: MONGOLIA COUNTRY REPORT
  13. ^ Shadow Report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights regarding Mongolia's Protection of the Rights of LGBTI Persons
  14. ^ Seidman, Lila (16 May 2016). "Mongolia celebrates 6th International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia".
  15. ^ "ТЭГШ ЭРХ, БАХАРХАЛ". LGBT Centre (in Mongolian).
  16. ^ When was Tavilan established and does it continue to operate?
  17. ^ Mongolia: Tales of a Dusty City, Friendly Nomads and a Few LGBT Natives
  18. ^ "Over 80 Nations Support Statement at Human Rights Council on LGBT Rights » US Mission Geneva". Geneva.usmission.gov.
  19. ^ Mongolia backs UN watchdog for LGBT rights