We’ve Looked But Not Seen: War on Queers and LGBTIcide

 

By 
Marko Karadzic

May, 2013

This piece was written while the author was completing a Master of Arts degree in Peace Studies at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

This paper is dedicated to all HUMAN BEINGS whose lives were taken by other HUMAN BEINGS led by homophobia, hatred, and discrimination.

I would also like to thank my professors Susan St. Ville and Larissa Fast, and my classmates Doris Maholo Saydee, Elizabet Valcheva, Katie Conlon, Melissa McCauley, and Sharon Kniss for their helpful comments on previous drafts of this paper. Special thanks to my mother, Miomira Karadzic, for her enduring love and support and my second family Ljilja and Ljupko Pavicic. 

Abstract

This paper explores whether LGBTI individuals and groups are recognized as a distinct minority group and whether violence against LGBTI groups and individuals is accounted for in the following indices that measure peacefulness:  (The Global Peace Index (GPI) - “the world's leading measure of national peacefulness” and The Positive Peace Index (PPI) - the “first known attempt to build an empirical derived index aiming to measure the latent variable of positive peace”); the implementation of peace accords (The Peace Accords Matrix (PAM) - “a unique source of qualitative and quantitative data on intrastate peace agreements signed since 1989.”); and freedom (The Freedom in the World Report - “the oldest, most authoritative report of democracy and human rights”). The objective of this paper is to help peacebuilders, practitioners, academics, and many others understand the gaps in these indices, and to highlight the way in which this silence reinforces violence against LGBTI individuals and groups. Moreover, this paper intends to help peacebuilders, politicians, academics, and activists to rethink their approaches in addressing violence and conflicts, in ways inclusive of the rights of sexual minorities.

Introduction

            “Consensual same-sex conduct is criminalized in more than 70 countries, with punishment including fines, flogging, and imprisonment and in seven countries, the death penalty. Laws that treat LGBTI people as criminals dehumanize them, reinforce stigma and prejudice, and provide legal cover for serious human rights violations. LGBTI people are targets for torture or ill-treatment by the government not only for their political beliefs or activism but also for their identity. For many, violence begins at home, in the classrooms and halls of schools, at the workplace, and in the streets.”[2]
-Freedom House
 
My work in the field of human rights and conflict transformation in Serbia and the Balkan region taught me that peacebuilding initiatives and attempts to measure their effectiveness are nothing more than imperfect. Just like human beings, both the peacebuilding initiatives and evaluation frameworks that have been applied are more or less subjective and strongly influenced by heteronormativity.[3] A view that promotes heterosexual relationships and male dominance is flagrant on all levels; this includes but is not limited to: waging wars, peacebuilding, and the act of reporting on both of them. And even though we have witnessed a gradual transition from patriarchal[4] approaches in peacebuilding in the last decades, women, minority groups, and children are still at the margins of peace processes and agendas. For example, it was only in recent years that crimes against women were addressed through the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).[5]  Nevertheless, “change is slow and in many cases non-existent,”[6] especially with regard to people whose sexual orientation and sexual identity differ from the majority. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) population has been persistently ignored, and the silence surrounding both physical and psychological violence against them has been tenacious. Crimes against LGBTI people are underreported, and impunity for violations against this minority has been a standard in many places around the globe. Unfortunately, a staggering amount of attacks, constant discrimination, and murders have not been sufficient for peacebuilders to properly address the ‘war on queers,’ even though violence against the LGBTI population may have multiple consequences on peace and stability.[7]

Recently, I looked at the 2014 Freedom in the World Report[8] and noticed that some countries are ranked ‘free,’ even though the LGBTI populations in those countries are subject to severe human rights violations. I ascertained the same when I looked at a few other reports that have measured peacefulness around the globe and the degree of implementation of peace accords. As a result, I decide to explore whether LGBTI individuals and groups are recognized as a distinct minority group[9] and whether violence against LGBTI groups and individuals is accounted for in the following indices[10] that measure: peacefulness (the Global Peace Index (GPI) “the worlds leading measure of national peacefulness”[11] and the Positive Peace Index (PPI) the “first known attempt to build an empirical derived index aiming to measure the latent variable of positive peace”[12]); the implementation of peace accords (the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM), “a unique source of qualitative and quantitative data on intrastate peace agreements signed since 1989.”[13]); and freedom (The Freedom in the World Report, “the oldest, most authoritative report of democracy and human rights”[14]). I discovered that, among the above-mentioned indices, only the Freedom in the World Report modestly recognizes the existence of the LGBTI population.

The intention of this paper is to help peacebuilders, practitioners, academics, and many others understand the gaps in these indices, and to highlight the way in which this silence reinforces violence against LGBTI individuals and groups. With this goal in mind, I first present information concerning the ongoing war on queers. I chose this expression ‘war on queers’ as a separate category encompassing the wide range of crimes against the LGBTI population. Second, I explore the Peace Accord Matrix. More precisely, I explore the PAM with regard to the South African Interim Constitution Accord,[15] since this peace accord was the first and the last to incorporate an LGBT human rights provision. From there, I explore the Global Peace Index, Positive Peace Index, and the Freedom in the World Report. Before the conclusion, I address the silence about anti-queer violence, more specifically repercussions and consequences of silence with regard to anti-LGBTI violence as a crime in itself.    

In this paper, I am neither searching for culprits nor underestimating the importance of the four measurement frameworks under investigation, but rather trying to initiate a discussion among peacebuilders about the underlying motives for remaining silent about anti-LGBTI violence. Moreover, I try to motivate and help peacebuilders, politicians, academics, and activists to rethink their approaches in addressing violence and conflicts, in ways inclusive of the rights of sexual minorities.

War on Queers

In “five countries and in parts of two others, homosexuality is still punishable with the death penalty, while a further 70 imprison citizens because of their sexual orientation.”[16] There were “1,123 reported killings of trans people in 57 countries worldwide from January 1st 2008 to December 31st 2012.”[17] However, these examples are just a small portion of what has been happening to queers around the world. Moreover, information on anti-LGBTI violence is not widely available, because either authorities are not willing to investigate attacks as hate crimes, victims fear hostility and discrimination and do not report the attacks, or homophobic offenses are disguised as something else. Those anti-LGBTI crimes that are reported, despite these obstacles, shock the human conscience as particularly egregious. For example, in Iraq, the extermination of gay people started in 2009 as noted in the Human Rights Watch Report, “They Want Us Exterminated:”

…Murders are committed with impunity … with corpses dumped in garbage or hung as warning on the street. The killers invade the privacy of homes, abducting sons and brothers…they interrogate and brutalize men to extract names of others people suspected of homosexual conduct. They specialize in grotesque and appalling tortures: several doctors told Human Rights Watch about men executed by injecting glue up their anuses…How many have been killed will likely never be known: the failure of authorities to investigate compounds the fear and shame of families…[18]
 
In Uganda, an anti-LGBTI bill was endorsed in February 2014.[19] The bill aims to ‘eradicate’ all those who are perceived as sick products of Western culture, or more precisely: the LGBTI population. If I use the term genocide, [20] to describe the situation in Uganda, I inevitably provoke another exhausting discussion among jurists and academics over the meaning and scope of the definition of genocide. Even though, one can say that in a strictly legal sense, it is inappropriate to use the term genocide in this particular case, I emphasize that the crime in Uganda is equally atrocious as genocide and for those who are not willing to recognize it as such, I introduce the term LGBTIcide. Because the government of Uganda and its supporters have introduced legal measures with the explicit intention to completely destroy a group distinct from the majority by their sexual orientation and gender identity.

The LGBTI population has been under constant attack also in more democratic countries,[21] such as in Brazil, South Africa, Serbia, and the US. For instance, in Brazil 338 LGBTI persons were killed in 2012, which was 27% more than in 2011.[22] Another example is Serbia where LGBTI activists receive 30 threats per month on average.[23] The Pride Parade in Serbia has been banned for the third consecutive year because of security concerns.[24] The following statement reveals the circumstances of the lives of LGBTI people in Serbia:

After enduring repeated discrimination and abuse from an early age and fleeing to the city of Novi Sad for better life, I.J. was approached on October 31 by two large men in tracksuits and beaten in the head. No one stopped to help and when he finally awoke, the city emergency services refused to send an ambulance to pick him up.[25]
 
Similar examples abound in the Southern hemisphere as well. In South Africa, often touted as the first African country to introduce pro-LGBTI legislation, “despite formal constitutional protections… black lesbian women are still refused entry into nation’s most public spaces and are punished for their same-sex desires and relationships.”[26]  As noted by a famous South African photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi: “The thought of lesbian rape, attempted rape and assault, terrifies me as I do not know when it will ever stop.”[27] In the United States of America, reported anti-gay attacks have reached their highest level in the last few years.[28]

This paper does not identify the wide variety of root causes driving enormous hatred against the LGBTI population. However, it does highlight that the silence and resulting ignorance about the ongoing war on queers causes passive perpetuation and, in some cases, active promotion of the war on queers.

Measures of Peace Accords Implementation, Peacefulness, and Freedom 

“Who decides what the priorities are, how they are measured, and when the outcome is good enough?”[29]
 
In the last couple of decades, a growing number of reports, measurement systems, indices, and indicators have been used to measure the implementation of peace accords, degree of freedom, level of peacefulness, and so on. Through these types of indices, our rights, needs, interests, freedom, and social interactions have been reduced to numbers and generalizable conclusions that may not accurately represent the reality of our everyday lives. Yet, even though most of these indices have important practical and analytical advantages, they may, at the same time, be equally misleading, inaccurate, and finally unfair on other levels, especially with regard to LGBTI people.

If one takes into account the above-mentioned crimes, appalling attacks, discrimination, and stigmatization of the LGBTI population, it is hard to believe that:
1.      The Peace Accords Matrix “comprehensively examines the provisions of peace accords,”[30] without paying attention to the LGBTI clause in the South African Interim Constitution Accord;
2.      The Global Peace Index ranks properly state’s “harmony achieved by the absence of war, conflict or violence or fear of the aforementioned,”[31] without taking into account the ongoing war on queers;
3.      The Positive Peace Index “measures the strength of the attitudes, institutions, and structures of 126 nations to determine their capacity to create and sustain a peaceful environment”[32] without paying attention to anti-LGBTI violence and its consequences; and
4.      The Freedom Report properly assesses “global political rights and civil liberties in 195 countries”[33] without paying more attention to homophobia and its consequences.
I explore each of these statements in turn.

Peace Accords Matrix / South African Interim Constitution Accord

The Peace Accords Matrix[34] was established to “examine comprehensively the provisions of peace accords and how they are implemented.”[35] The database offers both qualitative and quantitative analysis on intrastate peace accords signed since 1989,[36] and organizes the “provisions of each accord in five categories: 1) institutional provisions, 2) security-related provisions, 3) human rights provisions, 4) provisions related to external actors, and 5) other provisions.”[37] Besides comparative analysis of comprehensive peace accords, the PAM database has followed the implementation of the provisions. For the reason that, “the chances that a conflict will reoccur increase when the provisions of the accord are not implemented.”[38] The PAM researchers explained:

The comparative understanding of peace processes, that the database provides helps peace practitioners address contentious issues and prepare protagonists to engage in negotiations. It helps explain how peace processes advance and what obstacles can derail a process in the implementation phase.[39]
 
I draw attention to four aspects of the PAM as particularly relevant to my research: a) comprehensiveness; b) human rights provisions; c) relationship between conflict reoccurrence and lack of implementation; and d) improvement of peace processes through research. I use these variables in order to explain why the PAM needs to be updated. 

PAM’s founders have defined ‘comprehensive peace agreements’ in the following way: “While more than 140 peace agreements have been signed since 1989, only about 37 are comprehensive, meaning the major parties in the conflict were involved in a negotiation process and all substantive issues underlying the dispute were included in the negotiation process.”[40] However, the PAMs attempt to “examine comprehensively the provisions of peace accords and how they are implemented”[41] should mean that, besides the common provisions of peace accords, the Matrix explores and follows the implementation of distinctive provisions found in some of the accords. Unfortunately, Matrix founders have looked at but not seen that the South African Interim Constitution Accord[42] was the first and the last peace accord to incorporate an LGBT human rights provision by outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Some may argue that because this is the only peace accord of its kind, its anti-discrimination LGBTI clause does not deserve special attention. However, I propose that the Matrix researchers should have seen this peace accord as a unique opportunity for exploring and better understanding the connections between anti-LGBTI violence, social cohesion, and peacebuilding. Moreover, if, as strategic peacebuilders suggest, “positive peace is a comprehensive, all-encompassing goal that may require changes in virtually all sectors of society,”[43] then the South African peace accord was a perfect ground for exploring the inter-linkages between LGBTI human rights and peacebulding.

The PAM’s indicators of human rights include 15 “different rights-related provisions”[44] such as: women, children, education, minority rights, and reparations. ‘Minority rights’ are understood as national, ethnic, religious or linguistic.[45] In its explanatory part, the Matrix emphasizes that: “without addressing victims of conflict and vulnerable groups, such as children and women, peace processes are less likely to succeed.”[46] Therefore, I argue that the inclusion of LGBTI rights, as a specific category of minority rights, is equally important, especially considering that five to ten percent (according to some sources)[47] of women and children suffer double victimization because they belong to an LGBTI minority.  

I accept the PAM’s premise that “the chances that a conflict will reoccur increase when the provisions of the accord are not implemented.”[48] Building on this argument, the Matrix should have followed the LGBT clause as well. For the reason that, if conflict transformation efforts do not address all sectors of society and all causes of violence, there is a great possibility that violence, hatred, and discrimination could simply be redirected and reshaped towards a new enemy – the LGBTI community. A Protestant chaplain and professor of religion David Comstock explains it in the following way: “There are sufficient sources of anxiety in our society – fear of war, terrorism crime, the drug traffic, poverty, homelessness, and AIDS [and so on] – to encourage the kind of scapegoating that can lead to anti-gay/lesbian [LGBTI] violence.”[49] Ignorance of anti-queer violence is ignorance of sources of violent patterns of behavior that are consequently “suppressing differences and unwittingly perpetuating unhealthy power arrangements.”[50] Therefore, following the implementation of the LGBTI clause would have been a great chance for the Matrix researchers to explore how, why, and when violence redirects towards an LGBTI minority.

Finally, if the PAM researchers would like to improve peace through the research process, they should have recognized the South African peace accord as an opportunity to properly address appalling atrocities against LGBTI individuals and groups. Doing so, they may have influenced the work of all those who have power to impact the situation in the field. In this way, damaging instances to the LGBTI cause could have been avoided.

Global Peace Index

The Institute for Economics and Peace published its seventh Global Peace Index (GPI) Report in 2014, in which 162 independent states were ranked by their level of peacefulness “according to 22 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, which gauge three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or international conflict; and the degree of militarization.”[51] The indicators are divided into two groups: internal and external, and they are designed to measure peace in a state or an entire region. Since the term peace is broadly used in everyday conversations and within different contexts, for the sake of clarity, the GPI defines it as:
Harmony achieved by the absence of war, conflict or violence or fear of the aforementioned. Applied to nations, this would suggest that those not involved in violent conflicts with neighboring states or suffering internal wars or violence have achieved a state of peace.[52]
 
Immediately after the first report was published in 2007, a scholar and social activist Riane Eisler noticed the following about the GPI: “It fails to include the most prevalent form of global violence; violence against women and children, often in their own families. To put it mildly, [she added,] this blind spot makes the index very inaccurate.”[53] Likewise, I would like to add the LGBTI population and violence against them on the list of omissions among the GPI indicators. If the GPI is designed “to evaluate harmony achieved by the absence of war, conflict, or violence or fear of the aforementioned,”[54] it is difficult to argue safety, security, harmony, and non-violent coexistence among people can be measured without taking into consideration the human rights, security, and well-being of the part of the entire population that is LGBTI. For instance, in Brazil in 2012, one gay person was killed every 26 hours.[55] The violence in Brazil does not qualify as a conflict or war because of the academic definition of conflict (internal) used by the GPI researches: “A contested incompatibility that concerns government and/or territory where the use of armed forces between two parties, of which at least one is the government of a state, results in at least 25 battle related deaths in a year.”[56] Without an intention to change the definition, I argue that terms and definitions should not be a barrier to uncovering the real state of peacefulness, since peacefulness cannot be fully understood if the ‘war on queers’ is overlooked and is not addressed as a specific category.

The GPI indicator on prison population[57] (number of jailed population per 100,000 people) is yet another example of the GPI downsides. Simply using the numbers without adequate qualitative analysis is misleading. For example, in some countries LGBTI individuals might be incarcerated only because of their sexual identity. Therefore, counting all jailed people and using numbers as an indicator with regards to peacefulness is highly questionable. In addition, the GPI measures “the likelihood of violent demonstration based on a question: are violent demonstrations or violent civil/labor unrest likely to pose a threat to property or the conduct of business over the next two years?”[58] Based on anecdotal evidence from Serbia, I make an assumption that in many places there would have been violent demonstrations if governments had allowed the LGBTI population to enjoy its human rights. Aggressive homophobic groups and individuals are most likely to violently prevent sexual minorities from enjoying the human right to freedom of peaceful assembly, just as they have been doing in Serbia. The report emphasizes that the “likelihood of violent demonstrations registered a 1.3% improvement in peace in the last year which was mainly driven by a relatively calmer situation in many Arab Spring countries like Libya, Algeria, Iraq, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.”[59] However, if the report took into consideration the LGBTI rights in aforementioned countries, the findings would lead to an opposite conclusion. For example, given the conditions in Iraq and Saudi Arabia if an LGBTI group of people and their international supporters decide to organize a gay pride march, it would not be hard to imagine an outbreak of extreme violence. Therefore, it would be useful for the GPI to consider the number of countries in which there is a likelihood of violent demonstrations just because the LGBTI population intends to enjoy their basic human rights.

The abovementioned examples are far from an exhaustive list but enough to show that the findings of the GPI, even though useful, do not accurately reflect reality. Adding new indicators inclusive of LGBTI concerns may or may not change the final rankings in the report, but definitely they would raise crucial issues and change approaches in peacebuilding and conflict transformation.[60]

Positive Peace Index

In 2014, the Institute for Economics and Peace published the second edition of the Positive Peace Index (PPI), which “measures the strength of the attitudes, institutions, and structures of 126 nations to determine their capacity to create and sustain a peaceful environment.”[61] As described in the report, “the PPI is based on a statistical framework which groups these attributes into eight key categories known as the ‘Pillars of Peace.’ These pillars have been identified as describing what underpins a peaceful society.”[62] Through eight domains or pillars, each consisting of 3 indicators, the PPI explores the peacefulness of a society through: “well-functioning government; sound business environment; equitable distribution of resources; acceptance of the rights of others; good relations with neighbors; free flow of information; high levels of capital; and low levels of corruption.”[63] This unique approach, as described by its authors, evaluates “the set of attitudes, institutions and structures which when strengthened, lead to a more peaceful society.”[64] However, the Index does not take into account anti-queer violence and discrimination, which raises important questions about its comprehensiveness and accuracy. Furthermore, one could argue that today the tolerance and peacefulness of a society can be measured on the basis of a single indicator: tolerance and attitudes towards LGBTI people because this population has become a scapegoat in the modern world.

The PPI pillar - acceptance of the rights of others - is comprised of the three following indicators: “empowerment index, gender inequality, and hostility to foreigners and private property rights.”[65] Moreover, this domain is “designed to include both the formal institutions that ensure basic rights and freedoms as well as the informal social and cultural norms that relate to the behaviors of citizens. These factors relate to tolerance between the different ethnic, linguistic, religious, and socio-economic groups within a country.”[66]Unfortunately, this PPI pillar entirely excludes from its focus the treatment, acceptance, and attitudes towards the LGBTI population, neglecting the fact that “positive peace is a comprehensive, all-encompassing goal that may require changes in virtually all sectors of society.”[67]In addition, since the findings with regard to this domain are based on information from different sources, such as the U.S. Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, and reports from Amnesty International, and other relevant human rights organizations that have been reporting on the rights of sexual minorities, it is unclear why the PPI excludes the LGBTI population from its scope of interest. Finally, while it can be debated that including an LGBTI indicator would not change the PPI’s findings, I argue that excluding this specific indicator misleads those who would really like to understand ‘what underpins a peaceful society.’[68]

The Freedom in the World Report

Freedom House has been publishing the Freedom in the World Report since 1972. The publication offers an assessment of “global political rights and civil liberties in 195 countries.”[69] As emphasized by the report’s authors, this is the “oldest and most authoritative report of democracy and human rights.”[70] As such, the report has been widely used by different stakeholders and for different purposes, such as policymaking, advocacy, education, and academic research.[71] The report “assesses the real-world rights and freedoms enjoyed by individuals, rather than governments or government performance per se. Freedom House does not equate legal guarantees of rights with the on-the-ground fulfillment of those rights. While both laws and actual practices are factored into the ratings decisions, greater emphasis is placed on implementation.”[72] Therefore, it should have valuable information that can be used in assessing the success of peacebuilders and other relevant stakeholders involved in a process of conflict transformation, state building, and peacebuilding. 

The Report differs from the above-mentioned frameworks and databases in that it reports on democracy and human rights or, more precisely, political rights and civil liberties. In addition, this report does take into account LGBTI rights. The authors of the last 2014 Report explained, “a few minor changes to the sub-questions used by the analysts to score their countries were also made, including more specific references to LGBT rights.”[73] In the part on civil liberties and rule of law, there is a specific question with regard to LGBTI rights: “Are members of various distinct groups - including ethnic and religious minorities, LGBT people, and the disabled - able to exercise effectively their human rights with full equality before the law?“[74] In addition, in the part on personal autonomy and individual rights, the authors assess if governments directly or indirectly control the choices of people with regard to, among other things, same-sex relationships.[75] They have made a significant step forward in comparison with the PAM, GPI, and PPI.

However, one can still point out significant irregularities with the report’s findings. First, for example, Serbia and Brazil are rated 2 out of 7, for both civil and political liberties on the rating scale in which “1 represents the greatest degree of freedom and 7 the smallest degree.”[76] By recalling just some of the above-mentioned information about the lives of the LGBTI population in both of the countries, it is hard to imagine that number or grade 2 accurately reflects their lives. Simply, a game of numbers and generalizations of this kind neither reflects nor properly describes reality. If you look at the ‘Map of Freedom’ that “reflects the findings of Freedom in the World 2014,”[77] you will see Serbia, Brazil, and South Africa rated as ‘free’ countries. While South Africa might be free for richer white LGBTI people, it is far from free for the rest of the LGBTI population. In addition, Serbia is everything but free for LGBTI. These discrepancies, for the awareness of human rights, should not be ignored.

Moreover, freedom has different meanings for each of us. In most countries, LGBTI people have been closeted, persecuted, killed, discriminated against, etc., and, as long as the report does not take this into consideration, the findings will be incomplete and even misleading. Freedom is a personal thing and it cannot be generalized, it cannot be numerically described, even less so by coloring countries into three colors. Thus, while I consider report findings on civil and political rights useful, I nonetheless strongly oppose their general conclusions in regards to freedom, especially if they do not take into full consideration the lives of LGBTI people.

Silence surrounding the ‘war on queers’

“Silence is a form of communication as multifaceted as speech and as such conveys a broad range of contextually situated social meanings.”[78]
 
As Judith Herman noticed, “survivors who grew up in abusive families have often cooperated for years with family rule of silence.”[79] By using an analogy, I can say that LGBTI people in many places around the world have likewise been surviving traumatic events not only within their own families but also within their societies where community rules of silence have been equally applied. In homophobic and less tolerant states, countries, and regions, most LGBTI victims are left with only one option: to remain silent and to participate in “preserving the family [and/or societal] secret [by] carrying the weight of a burden that does not belong to them.”[80] They have been the victims of a cruel reality in which silence confirms that not all lives count as lives.[81] Dispute resolution and communication specialists, Pearce and Littlejohn noticed that “Because the discourse of heterosexism dominated our society until recently, the interests and ideas of homosexuals were hidden, marginalized, and suppressed.”[82] 

Pearce and Littlejohn in their book ‘Moral Conflict’ explain that “the social reality of a group or culture is based on certain moral assumptions, and in the ordinary course of events, people expect these to go unchanged.”[83] On the one hand, the majority is the keeper of those ‘moral assumptions’, and their ally is suppression. Here, the term “suppression [is used] to designate those conditions in which difference is left unexpressed, silent, hidden, glossed…”[84] On the other hand, there is a small (LGBTI) minority willing to challenge suppression through expression; where the term expression is understood as “engagement, confrontation, debate, and other forms in which the moral difference is uncovered and made explicit.”[85] However, challenging the suppression of differences is a demanding task, if not impossible, since the rules, regulations, policies, and above-mentioned peacebuilding indices and their measurement frameworks have been strongly influenced by heteronormativity and heterosexism[86] that have been silencing the truth about anti-queer violence.[87] As Pearce and Littlejohn explained:

The contradiction between expression and suppression remains acute, for those who take [a peacebuilder’s] role. [Peacebuilders] face a paradox; a better society requires that opposing moral conditions be expressed, but the clash resulting from this expression can damage society. To avoid the harms of open moral clash, [peacebuilders] must calm, override, or eliminate the conflict. [But by doing this,] they may end up suppressing moral differences and unwittingly perpetuating unhealthy power arrangements.[88]
 
Regrettably, besides the aforementioned measures and for the sake of a vague, abstract goal of ‘peace’, many other peacebuilders, academics, politicians, and even human rights activists have been choosing, either knowingly or not, to ignore or diminish the fact that there is an ongoing ‘war on queers.’ In this way, they have been creating unhealthy and unhappy societies that nourish violent patterns of behavior.

Famous peace scholar Peter Wallensteen argues that “wars in seemingly distant places affect the entire planet”;[89] thus, the war on queers, even though ignored by many, has negatively affected not only those who belong to an LGBTI minority, but also the whole of humanity. Violence generates violence, especially if approved or simply ignored. Therefore, in order to solve this long lasting hatred and violence against the LGBTI population, the first step has to be a ‘vocal’ recognition, and formal incorporation of LGBTI people as a separate category in all conflict transformation and peacebuilding initiatives. The PAM, GPI, PPI, and the World Freedom Report can play a leading role in this regard. They can be a voice for voiceless, consequently creating conditions conducive for justpeace.[90] The opposite – perpetuating an “approach of [ignorance and/or] minimization - can be extremely destructive and shortsighted.”[91] 

Conclusion

Appalling atrocities, attacks, and discrimination against a minority of people that differs from the majority by their sexual orientation and gender identity have been flagrant but still fervently denied and silenced. Heteronormativity and homophobia[92] have framed and shaped international human rights norms, markets, politics, education, religion, media, and peacebuilding approaches by minimizing or entirely denying the existence of the LGBTI minority.

One could say that peace negotiations may fail and murders may be prolonged if one insists on LGBTI issues through the initiation of a peace process. Just as negotiations over accountability for gross violations of human rights, negotiations over LGBTI rights may provoke rage and prolong the conflict and hostilities.[93] This paper, however, does not argue that negotiating a cease fire in Syria, for example, needs to embrace negotiations about queer rights. Specifically, this paper argues that a peacebuilding framework without an LGBTI component cannot create a peaceful, tolerant, and free society, in which there is no space for violent communication. Furthermore, a “transition to peace or a new political order implies that overt conflict has ended, this does not mean that all forms of political violence, or the threat of violence, have ceased… the conflict can emerge in new forms.”[94] More often than many care to admit, this new form of violence is anti-LGBTI violence. This may be due to the fact that in transitional periods public expectations tend to rise, including those of the LGBTI minority. LGBTI people become more visible, challenging suppression through expression mechanisms. Thus, if hatred and discrimination against them are not timely and appropriately addressed, the minority often becomes a scapegoat for all transitional failures. Consequently, violence against LGBTIs remains a generator of hatred and violence. Therefore, the “inclusion of queer theory and queer legal theory in transitional justice will allow for greater flexibility and space to look at how violence against sexual and gender minorities intersects with other historical and current forms of oppression.”[95] The PAM has a unique opportunity to take a pioneering role in emphasizing this, especially because its authors have been following the South African Peace Accord. In this way, they would prove that they are taking a truly comprehensive approach that tends to help peacebuilders in achieving justpeace.

The Dalai Lama said that:

He hoped the [GPI], would encourage countries to strive for peace. Compiling and maintaining an index of which countries are the most peaceful and publishing the results will undoubtedly make the factors and qualities that contribute to that status better known and will encourage people to foster them in their own countries.[96]
 
I would completely agree with the Dalai Lama but only if I were not aware of the fact that academic definitions used by the GPI have been creating gay-free lenses that ignore the ongoing war on queers and LGBTIcide in countries like Uganda, for example. The Dalai Lama’s statement, together with the one offered in the GPI report, describing it as the “world's leading study on global levels of peacefulness,”[97] is powerful but at the same time dangerous. More precisely, because both present and future peacebuilders, academics, and politicians may believe that the report is holistic and comprehensive. Thus, they could build their peacebuilding work, research, and approaches exclusively on the findings from the report believing that they have taken into account all relevant peacebuilding indicators. For that reason, the GPI should specifically refer to the LGBTI minority. If not, the report should present valid reasons for not doing so.

As already mentioned, achieving positive peace is not possible if a sizable group of people is under threat and discriminated against. In addition, the future of a place that raises its children on hatred and violence is questionable and far from the ideal of a positive peace. Therefore, the PPI will remain incomplete and questionable without specific LGBTI indicators.

The World Freedom Report, even though it incorporates modestly the status and treatment of the LGBTI population, should change its rankings and mappings. As I have demonstrated in previous sections, one country may be free for a certain group of people but still hostile towards another. Therefore, without explaining and emphasizing this, even though the report’s intentions might be noble, the consequences of such a generalization may negatively affect the lives of many around the world.

The evaluation of peacebuilding activities, methods, and actions, as peacebuilding evaluation expert Culbertson argues, may have different purposes but one of the most important is learning.[98] The PAM, GPI, PPI and Freedom Report can contribute to this learning by including specific indicators for the LGBTI minority. In this way, they would greatly contribute to a process that would break the vicious circle of silence in regards to the ‘war on queers.’ Specifically, peacebuilders would pay more attention to this type of violence. More research would factor in anti-LGBTI violence for peacebuilding processes. Second, textbooks would include more information on this topic (for example, by promoting tolerance and preparing future peacebuilders to properly address different types of violence). Third, the media would be more fully informed on this issue. And finally, LGBTI people around the world who have been suffering discrimination could regain hope since they would see a movement willing to speak up for their struggle and give a voice to their silence.[99] The emergence of such a movement would symbolize a major shift in global attitudes towards LGBTI rights conveying the empowering message of recognition: a shift away from simply looking to actually seeing.


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[1] “Conflict transformation is a way of looking as well as seeing. To look is to draw attention or to pay attention to something. Seeing seeks insight and understanding.” (John Paul Lederach, The Little Book of Conflict Transformation, (Pennsylvania: Good Books, 2003), 8-9.)

[2] “LGBT Rights,” Freedom House, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.freedomhouse.org/issues/lgbti-rights#.Uy9Wo_16dSU

[3] Heteronormativity: “Denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation.” (Oxford Dictionaries, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/heteronormative)

[4] Patriarchy is the: “Manifestation and institutionalization of male dominance over women and children in the family and extension of male dominance over women in society in general.” (Gary David Comstock, Violence Against Lesbians and Gay Men (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), 96.

[5] Elisabeth Rehn and Ellen Johanson Sirleaf, Women, War and Peace: The Independent Experts’ Assessment on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Women’s Role in Peacebuilding (New York: United Nations Development Fund for Women, 2002), 90.

[6] Ibid. , 90.

[7] Katherine Fobear, “Queering Truth Commissions,” Journal of Human Rights Practice, (June 2013): 1-18, accessed May 1, 2014, doi: 10.1093/jhuman/hut004.

[8] Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House, 2014, 1-23, accessed May 1, 2014, http://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/FIW2014%20Booklet.pdf

[9] Sherry Joseph and Pawan Dhall, “No Silence Please, We’re Indians! –Les-Bi-Gay Voices fro India,” in Different Rainbows, ed. Drucker Peter (London: Millivres Ltd, 2000), 163.

[10] The PAM is not strictly an index, but like other indices it measures a particular aspect of peace thus, in this paper indices refers to all four measurement systems: the GPI, PPI, PAM, and The Freedom in the World Report.

[11] “Global Peace Index,” Vision of Humanity, accessed May 1, 2014. http://www.visionofhumanity.org/#/page/indexes/global-peace-index

[12] Global Peace Index 2013: Measuring the State of Global Peace, Institute for Economics and Peace, Vision of Humanity, 2014, 95, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.visionofhumanity.org/pdf/gpi/2013_Global_Peace_Index_Report.pdf

[13] “Peace Accords Matrix,” Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, accessed May 1, 2014, https://peaceaccords.nd.edu/about

[14] Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2014#.U2G...

[15] “Peace Accords Matrix, Human Rights, Interim Constitution Accord,” Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, accessed May 1, 2014,   <https://peaceaccords.nd.edu/matrix/status/5/human_rights>

[16] Lucy Rogers et al. , ”Where is it Illegal to be Gay?,” BBC: News World, February 10, 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-25927595

[17] “Constant Rise in Murder Rates,” Trans-Respect versus Trans-phobia: Worldwide, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.transrespect-transphobia.org/en/tvt-project/tmm-results/march...

[18] “Iraq - They Want us Exterminated: Murder, Torture, Sexual Orientation and Gender in Iraq,” Human Rights Watch, (2009): 2.

[19] “Male Survivors of Sexual Violence in Kampala Demand for Better Services,” Refugee Law Project, School of Law, Makerer University, A Center for Justice and Forced Migrants, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.refugeelawproject.org/files/others/Male_Survivors_of_Sexual_V...

[20] A crime “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”(UN General Assembly, Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 9 December 1948, A/RES/260 accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/topic,4565c225e,45dea9d32,3b00f0873,0.html )

[21] “Maps of State Laws and Policies,” Human Rights Campaign, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/maps-of-state-laws-policies

[22] Fabian Les Brathwaite, “Study: One LGBT Brazilian Murdered Every 26 Hours in 2012,” Queerty: Free of an Agenda – Excepth That Gay One, March 11, 2013, http://www.queerty.com/study-one-lgbt-brazilian-murdered-every-26-hours-...

[23] World Report 2014: Serbia, Human Rights Watch, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2014/country-chapters/serbia

[24] Ibid.

[25] Sasa Miloseivc, “Serbia: for Gays, a Ghetto in Modern Europe,” GlobalPost, December 22, 2011.

[26] Thomas Kylie, “HomophobiaInjustice and ‘Corrective Rape' in Post-Apartheid South Africa,” Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and Centre for Humanities Research, University of Western Cape, (2013): 1.

[27] Ibid.

[28]  Brian Mustanski, “Are Violent Hate Crimes Against LGBT People on the Rise?,” Psychology Today, June 12, 2013, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-sexual-continuum/201306/are-violent-hate-crimes-against-lgbt-people-the-rise

[29] Jake Sherman, “Measuring Effectiveness in Peace-Building and State-Building,” in Measuring What Matters in Peace Operations and Crisis Management, by Meharag Sarah Jane (Kingston, Canada: School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada), 211.

[30] Joshi Madhav and John Darby, “The Peace Accords Matrix,” Peace Policy, (May 2, 2012), accessed May 1, 2014, http://peacepolicy.nd.edu/2012/05/02/introducing-the-peace-accords-matrix/

[31] Global Peace Index 2013: Measuring the State of Global Peace, Institute for Economics and Peace, Vision of Humanity, 2014, 51, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.visionofhumanity.org/pdf/gpi/2013_Global_Peace_Index_Report.pdf

[32] Ibid. , 2.

[33] Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2014#.Uzz...

[34] Joshi Madhav and John Darby, “The Peace Accords Matrix,” Peace Policy, (May 2, 2012), accessed May 1, 2014, http://peacepolicy.nd.edu/2012/05/02/introducing-the-peace-accords-matrix/

[35] Ibid.

[36] “Peace Accords Matrix, About PAM,” Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, accessed May 1, 2014, peaceaccords.nd.edu/about

[37] Joshi Madhav and John Darby, “The Peace Accords Matrix,” Peace Policy, (May 2, 2012), accessed May 1, 2014, http://peacepolicy.nd.edu/2012/05/02/introducing-the-peace-accords-matrix/

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Joshi Madhav and John Darby, “The Peace Accords Matrix,” Peace Policy, (May 2, 2012), accessed May 1, 2014, http://peacepolicy.nd.edu/2012/05/02/introducing-the-peace-accords-matrix/

[41] Ibid.

[42] “Peace Accords Matrix, Human Rights, Interim Constitution Accord,” Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, accessed May 1, 2014,   <https://peaceaccords.nd.edu/matrix/status/5/human_rights>

[43] Hal Culbertson, “The Evaluation of Peacebuilding Initiatives,” in Strategies of Peace: Transforming Conflict in a Violent World,” ed. Philpott Daniel and Powers F. Gerald (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 73.

[44] Joshi Madhav and John Darby,"Introducing the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM): A Database of Comprehesive Peace Agreements and their Implementation, 1989-2007." Peacebuilding, 1:2,  (May, 2013): 265, accessed May 1, 2014, doi:10.1080/21647259.2013.783259.

[45] “Peace Accords Matrix,” Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, accessed May 1, 2014, https://peaceaccords.nd.edu/about

[46] Joshi Madhav, and John Darby, "Introducing the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM): A Database of Comprehesive Peace Agreements and their Implementation, 1989-2007." Peacebuilding, 1:2,  (May, 2013): 266, accessed May 1, 2014, doi:10.1080/21647259.2013.783259.

[47] Daniel Luzer, Is the Gay Population a Lot Bigger Than Even Kinsey Predicted?,” Pacific Standard: The Science of Society, October 23, 2013, accessed May 1, 2014,  http://www.psmag.com/culture/gay-population-lgbt-homosexual-sex-kinsey-6...

[48] Joshi Madhav and John Darby, “The Peace Accords Matrix,” Peace Policy, (May 2, 2012), accessed May 1, 2014, http://peacepolicy.nd.edu/2012/05/02/introducing-the-peace-accords-matrix/

[49] Gary David Comstock, Violence Against Lesbians and gay Men (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), 135.

[50] Barnett W. Pearce and Stephen W. Littlejohn, Moral Conflict: When Social Worlds Collide (Thousands Oaks, London, New Delhi: SAGE Publications, Inc., 1997), 131.

[51] Global Peace Index 2013: Measuring the State of Global Peace, Institute for Economics and Peace, Vision of Humanity, 2014, 1, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.visionofhumanity.org/pdf/gpi/2013_Global_Peace_Index_Report.pdf

[52] Ibid. , 51.

[53] Riane Eisler, “Dark Underbelly of the World's Most 'Peaceful' Countries: Some Nations That Rank Well in the Global Peace Index are Notorious for Violence Against Women and Children,” The Christian Science Monitor, July 27, 2007, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0726/p09s01-coop.html

[54] Global Peace Index 2013: Measuring the State of Global Peace, Institute for Economics and Peace, Vision of Humanity, 2014, 51, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.visionofhumanity.org/pdf/gpi/2013_Global_Peace_Index_Report.pdf

[55] Fabian Les Brathwait, “Study: One LGBT Brazilian Murdered Every 26 Hours in 2012,” Queerty: Free of an Agenda – Except That Gay One, March 11, 2013, http://www.queerty.com/study-one-lgbt-brazilian-murdered-every-26-hours-...

[56] Global Peace Index 2013: Measuring the State of Global Peace, Institute for Economics and Peace, Vision of Humanity, 2014, 91, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.visionofhumanity.org/pdf/gpi/2013_Global_Peace_Index_Report.pdf

[57] Ibid. , 39.

[58] Global Peace Index 2013: Measuring the State of Global Peace, Institute for Economics and Peace, Vision of Humanity, 2014, 89, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.visionofhumanity.org/pdf/gpi/2013_Global_Peace_Index_Report.pdf

[59] Ibid. , 30.

[60] Paul Schwartzentruber, Measuring Peace: A Critical Appraisal of the Global Peace Index 2010, Peace Magazine 26:4 (2010): 22 -24, accessed May 1, 2014, http://peacemagazine.org/archive/v26n4p22.htm  

[61] Global Peace Index 2013: Measuring the State of Global Peace, Institute for Economics and Peace, Vision of Humanity, 2014, 2, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.visionofhumanity.org/pdf/gpi/2013_Global_Peace_Index_Report.pdf

[62] Ibid.

[63] Ibid. , 95.

[64] Ibid. , 98.

[65]  Global Peace Index 2013: Measuring the State of Global Peace, Institute for Economics and Peace, Vision of Humanity, 2014, 95, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.visionofhumanity.org/pdf/gpi/2013_Global_Peace_Index_Report.pdf

[66] Ibid. , 96.

[67] Hal Culbertson, “The Evaluation of Peacebuilding Initiatives,” in Strategies of Peace: Transforming Conflict in a Violent World,” ed. Philpott Daniel and Powers F. Gerald (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 73.

[68] Global Peace Index 2013: Measuring the State of Global Peace, Institute for Economics and Peace, Vision of Humanity, 2014, 2, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.visionofhumanity.org/pdf/gpi/2013_Global_Peace_Index_Report.pdf

[69] Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2014#.Uzz...

[70] Ibid.

[71] Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.freedomhouse.org/report-types/freedom-world#.Uy9OP_16dSU

[72] Methodology: Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world-2014/methodology#.U2LbE...

[73] Methodology: Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world-2014/methodology#.U2LbE...

[74] Ibid.

[75] Ibid.

[76] Ibid.

[77] Map of Freedom 2014, Freedom House, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/MapofFreedom2014.pdf

[78] Marita Eastmond and  Mannergren Johanna Selimovic, “Silence as Possibility in Post War Everyday Life,” The International Journal of Transitional Justice, 6:3 (2012): 502-524, accessed May 1, 2014, doi: 10.1093/ijtj/ijs026

[79] Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror (New York: BasicBooks, A Division of HarperCollins Publishers, 1992), 200.

[80] Ibid.

[81] Judith Butler, “Violence, Mourning, Politics,” Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 4:1 (2003): 10, accessed May 1, 2014, doi: 10.1080/15240650409349213

[82] Barnett W. Pearce and Stephen W. Littlejohn, Moral Conflict: When Social Worlds Collide (Thousands Oaks, London, New Delhi: SAGE Publications Inc., 1997), 130.

[83] Barnett W. Pearce and Stephen W. Littlejohn, Moral Conflict: When Social Worlds Collide (Thousands Oaks, London, New Delhi: SAGE Publications Inc., 1997), 129.

[84] Ibid.

[85] Ibid.

[86] Joseph Sherry and Dhall Pawan, “No Silence Please, We’Re Indians! – Les-Bi-Gay Voices from India,” in Different Rainbows, ed. Drucker Peter (London: Millivres Ltd, 2000), 163 – 167.

[87] Ibid. , 129 – 131.

[88] Barnett W. Pearce and Stephen W. Littlejohn, Moral Conflict: When Social Worlds Collide (Thousands Oaks, London, New Delhi: SAGE Publications Inc., 1997), 131.

[89] Peter Wallensteen, “Strategic Peacebuilding: Concepts and Challenges,” in Strategies of Peace: Transforming Conflict in a Violent World, ed. Philpott Daniel and Powers F. Gerard (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 45.

[90]  “Justpeace: An orientation toward conflict transformation characterized by approaches that reduce violence and destructive cycles of social interaction and at the same time increase justice in human relationship.” (John Paul Lederach, The Moral Imagination: The Art of Soul of Building Peace (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 182.

[91] Bernard Mayer, Staying With Conflict: A Strategic Approach to Ongoing Disputes (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009), 62.

[92] Sherry Joseph and Pawan Dhall, “No Silence Please, We’re Indians! – Les-Bi-Gay Voices from India,” in Different Rainbows, ed. Drucker Peter (London: Millivres Ltd, 2000), 163.

[93] Robert C. Johansen, “Peace and Justice? The Contribution of International Judicial Processes to Peacebuilding,” in Strategies of Peace: Transforming Conflict in a Violent World, ed. Philpott Daniel and Powers F. Gerard (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 214.

[94] Audrey R. Chapman, “Approaches to Studying Reconciliation,” in Assessing the Impact of Transitional Justice: Challenges for Empirical Research, ed. Van Der Merwe Hugo et al. (Washington DC: The Endowment of the United States Institute of Peace, 2009), 155.

[95]  Katherine Fobear, “Queering Truth Commissions,” Journal of Human Rights Practice, (June 2013): 1-18, accessed May 1, 2014, doi: 10.1093/jhuman/hut004.

[96] Duncan Campbell, Norway Rated Worlds’s Most Peaceful Country,” The Guardian, May 30, 2007, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/may/30/duncancampbell

[97] Duncan Campbell, Norway Rated Worlds’s Most Peaceful Country,” The Guardian, May 30, 2007, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/may/30/duncancampbell

[98] Hal Culbertson, “The Evaluation of Peacebuilding Initiatives: Putting Learning into Practice,” in Strategies of Peace: Transforming Conflict in a Violent World, ed. Philpott Daniel and Powers F. Gerard (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 83,

[99] Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror (New York: BasicBooks, A Division of HarperCollins Publishers, 1992), 9.