Obtaining accurate numbers of people living within any given country that identify as LGBTQ+ is near impossible, with estimates varying dramatically given that gender and sexual identifiers are not typically featured in or being asked as part of the censuses that are usually carried out every ten years. Using a low and conservative 5% estimate based on the world’s total population would likely mean that the LGBTQ+ community in any given country would often be classified and considered as a minority group.
The concept of a homeland for a minority group is not a new one, with many modern-day countries formed based entirely on the principle of unity and freedom for members of that given group. Identifying as LGBTQ+ is clearly not a person’s ethnicity; however, the desire for a person to be their true self and live free from persecution is something that binds everyone across the global community together. Though the forming of a new nation might be considered by many drastic, some might find the idea convenient, especially for those that want to ignore and brush aside gender and sexual identities. In this modern social media era, you will often see remarks from online trolls responding to members of the LGBTQ+ telling them to leave and go and live all together. Though these comments are usually intended to silence and isolate, are there any merits to altogether? And how realistic is a nation as a proposition?
Nestled between Egypt and Sudan in Northern Africa are 800 square miles or 2,060 square kilometres, roughly the size of Rome is the unclaimed land known as ‘Bir Tawil’. Bir Tawil has a warm moderate climate throughout the year and even has a coastline facing the Red Sea, south of the popular coastal resorts of Eilat (Israel) and Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt). Bir Tawil exists due to political boundaries, as neither Egypt nor Sudan had included the area while drawing up their country’s political boundaries resulting in the area becoming unclaimed. Bir Tawil has no inhabitants and is predominately made up of desert land; however, the area has a lot of potential. Over the years people from around the world have travelled to this oasis to claim it, but all have failed as none had lived in or resided within Bir Tawil before making their claim.
The free republic of Aparadiso (as I have called it) would not be an exercise in rounding up the world’s LGBTQ+ community, but instead a safe haven for those living in fear of persecution whether they might be around the world. The concept of a homeland, free of discrimination is a model that has worked before, take modern-day Israel. Israel was officially formed after world war two as a safe haven for members of the Jewish faith, and anyone around the world that is of Jewish heritage can apply for citizenship under the law of return.
Why then could not Aparadiso become the homeland for the LGBTQ+ community?
With an estimated GDP of 1.22 trillion US dollars, the equivalent GDP of many countries around the world, the little nation of Aparadiso would have reasonable economic weight. With a potential population of up to 198 million, this new nation could be a role model for inclusion, offering citizenship to all that need it, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity. By no means is this article intended to undermine or play down the hard work and achievements of many that have fought hard over the years to change the laws within their respective countries for the benefit of all living there. The sad reality, though, is even with the progress made, there are still so many living in countries in which being their true self could ultimately kill them, so could Aparadiso be that far-fetched?