Asia’s Happiest Country is Latest to Decriminalize Same-Sex Relationships

Bhutan's LGBTQ community Image via SBS News
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Continually ranked as the happiest country in Asia, and eighth-happiest in the world, Bhutan’s parliament approved a bill to decriminalize same-sex relations on December 10, 2020, which also happens to be global Human Rights Day.

Bhutan has previously abided by Sections 213 and 214 of their penal code criminalized “unnatural sex” that alludes to the members of the LGBTQ community.

Members of Bhutan’s trans community | Image Credit: The Diplomat

As reported in Reuters, Lawmaker Ugyen Wangdi, the vice chairperson of a joint panel considering the changes, said 63 of the total 69 members of both houses of parliament had voted in favour of amending the oppressive law, with the remaining six members being absent. He goes on to say, “Homosexuality will not be considered as unnatural sex now.”

Director of LGBT+ group Rainbow Bhutan, Tsheten, added their comment to the celebratory occasion with, “I think the Bill being passed on Human Rights Day itself is a momentous day for everyone in Bhutan. I believe everyone who has stood up for the LGBT+ community in Bhutan is going to celebrate today as this is our victory.”

With the community rejoicing, the nation still waits on the next step to make the new bill a law, and that can only happen once the King gives his approval. Regardless, Bhutan’s LGBTQ citizens are breathing huge sighs of relief and happiness as they prepare for a new year ahead.

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