That said, about 70 countries still criminalise homosexuality today. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Brunei and several more sentence gay people to death. Even the most gay-friendly societies are rife with discrimination, abuse and hate crimes. Moreover, the remarkable achievements of the past 50 years are no guarantee for the future. History rarely moves in a straight line. There is no reason to think that LGBT liberation will inevitably spread around the world, eventually reaching Saudi Arabia and Brunei. Indeed, violent homophobic backlashes are possible, even in the most liberal countries. Just last week the Guardian revealed shocking statistics that showed homophobic and transphobic hate crimes have doubled in the UK over the past five years.