LGBT Communities World Wide Take Two Steps Forward but One Step Back

There are a lot of newsworthy developments surrounding LGBT+ communities around the world right now.

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For example, knowing full well that he’ll be faced with a steep uphill battle, it seems that Pope Francis is on a mission to welcome LGBT+ community members and encouraging others of the Catholic faith to do the same. CBS News said that after Bishops meeting at the Vatican failed to come to an agreement on the issue of homosexuality, Pope Francis appeared to be “barely able to contain his frustration.” They also said that he cautioned bishops not to cling to doctrine with “hostile rigidity” and that “God is not afraid of new things.”

In addition, earlier this month Wyoming became the latest state to legalize same-sex marriage. It’s a pleasant change in a state that many still relate to the 1998 tragedy of Matthew Shepard, a gay student from the University of Wyoming who was the victim of a hate crime when two homophobic men beat him to death and left him tied to a fence. But as Wyoming’s recent acceptance and acknowledgement of same-sex marriage clearly demonstrates, things have changed since the Matthew Shepard murder and that hate crime doesn’t reflect the feelings of the majority of citizens.

Wyoming is just one state among many that are overturning previous bans on same-sex marriage. It’s a development that ABC News claims was inspired by the Supreme Court ruling on Oct. 6 that “refused to hear appeals from states that wanted to defend gay marriage bans.” As a result, more than 30 states have agreed to recognize same-sex unions.

As noted on Adam and Eve, we’ve seen positive growth from the government’s acknowledgement of LGBT rights over the last decades, from revoking the law that sodomy was unconstitutional to President Barack Obama signing a memorandum offering benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. However, there are some areas of the US and the world that are still lagging behind this trend.

Recently, members of LGBT communities from Africa who have sought asylum in the U.K. have been advocating for new practices from the government when accepting refugees. The U.K.’s Channel 4 recently interviewed Prossy Kakooza, a woman with first-hand experience in the matter. A Ugandan refugee, Kakooza claimed asylum in 2007 after spending time in a Ugandan prison because of her sexuality. While in prison, she was brutally beaten by police officers. However, when she attempted to claim asylum after the incident, British officials dismissed it as a “random attack of unruly police officers and nothing to do with sexuality.” As a result, she was forced to “prove” her need for asylum because of her sexuality by answering a range of highly personal questions about her sex life.

Unfortunately this happens all too often to those seeking asylum. Kakooza reported that, “Such is the dismissal for LGBT asylum seekers. The humiliation of having to describe what you like in the bedroom, how many people you’ve slept with and turning your whole life into being all about sex.” She went on to say the Home Office needs to take a look at cases individually while training their representatives to ask more appropriate questions.

This degrading interview is understandably a demoralizing and dehumanizing experience. While fearing for their lives at the hands of their own people, LGBT asylum seekers are being treated as if they are lying about their reasons for being persecuted in the first place. After years of trying to hide their true identities, to finally escape only to find the new government approaching it as if it were a choice can be just as painful for the victims.

Many places in the world have come a long way in the acceptance and welcoming of members of the LGBT community. However, it seems that even those at the forefront of the movements in Europe and the U.S., still have a long way to go in understanding the people experiencing the discrimination firsthand.

Brought to you by Adam and Eve

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Two Events This Week: Atlanta Social Science Tavern and Decatur Book Festival

There are two events of note this week that might interest you.

The Atlanta Social Science Tavern hosts two psychologists from the Veteran’s Administration for a discussion of what happens with the troops now that they are returning home, the issues returning troops face, and what the VA is doing to help. Meetup at Java Vino at 7:30 on Thursday 8/28. For more information see the Meetup site at

You can see me talk about my new book, The Polyamorists Next Door, at the Decatur Book Festival this coming Saturday 8/30 at 10am in the Marriott Auditorium. More information at

Cheers, Elisabeth Sheff

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The Atlantic Interviews Elisabeth Sheff

The Atlantic just came out with a new article on polyamory that correctly identifies me as the author of The Polyamorists Next Door, but incorrectly says I interviewed 40 people for the book. I actually interviewed 131 people for the book, 22 of whom were children between 5 and 17 years old. You can read the whole interview at

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Range of Non-Monogamies blogpost on Psychology Today

Check out my newest blogpost on Psychology Today, Seven Forms of Non-Monogamy, at


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See Elisabeth Sheff on HuffPost Live chat with Robyn Trask and Leon Feingold

See Elisabeth Sheff on HuffPost Live chat with Robyn Trask and Leon Feingold.

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See Elisabeth Sheff on HuffPost Live chat with Robyn Trask and Leon Feingold

In this segment Elisabeth, Robyn, and Leon chat with Josh Zepps at HuffPost Live

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See Elisabeth Sheff at the Decatur Book Festival

If you live in the Atlanta area and read books, you have no doubt heard of the Decatur Book Festival, the largest independent book festival in the United States. This year you can see me, Elisabeth Sheff, at the book festival on Saturday August 30 at 10am at the Marriott Conference Center Auditorium. For more information please see the Decatur Book Festival website at

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