You might have heard that 2013 was a landmark year for gay rights. After all, the U.S. doubled the number of states with marriage equality, meaning that more than 37 percent of Americans live in areas with marriage equality. In addition, the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense Of Marriage Act, which barred same-sex spouses from receiving federal benefits. Fifty-five senators have come out in favor of marriage equality, including three Republicans. Also, I would argue that the Human Rights Coalition's red equality symbol became the most viral Facebook campaign of all time.While the Human Rights Coalition has called 2013 "the year of greatest accomplishments for the LGBT movement," I would argue that 2013 has been the worst year for equality in recent history. Although social opinions have become much more open and accepting in the U.S., the world as a whole took regressive measures against LGBTQIPA citizens. In June 2013, Russia passed an anti-propaganda law which, according to BBC News, effectively banned public gay rights events in Russia. The reasoning for the law was to protect children from pedophilia, a dangerous homosexual stereotype. Since the law was passed, reports of attacks on homosexuals has increased dramatically in Russia. With the Sochi Olympics coming up, many of you have probably heard or read about these new laws. Many Western nations are sending openly homosexual athletes as delegates to the games in protest of LGBTQIPA rights (or lack thereof) in Russia. An even more regressive decision for this movement came from India's Supreme Court. A 2009 lower court decision had decriminalized homosexual activity in India, but the Supreme Court overturned this decision in December 2013. According to CNN, the law will increase harassment of homosexuals by police and could increase arrests as well. In any case, India's LGBTQIPA population has been dehumanized by this decision and is subject to more discrimination than before the decriminalization was repealed.In May 2013, Nigeria's legislature passed a same-sex prohibition bill that, if signed by their president, would criminalize same-sex civil unions and gay rights organizations. This law would prohibit these activities nationally, but several northern Nigerian provinces already have strict laws against homosexuality.The state of LGBTQIPA affairs internationally may seem daunting, but we can take small actions to raise awareness about these issues. Awareness can go a long way: Nigeria's president has not signed the same-sex prohibition bill because of pressure from Western countries who send economic and military aid to Nigeria. If you would like to raise awareness about these important issues, join us as we observe a Day of Silence on the opening day of the Sochi Olympics (Feb. 7), as an act of solidarity for the LGBTQIPA citizens of the 76 countries worldwide who must be silent about their sexual orientation or risk imprisonment and even death. To learn more, join our facebook event "Day of Silence and Solidarity." Of course, those required to speak for academic purposes, a job, etc. are welcome to participate to the best of their ability. Help start a global conversation about LGBTQIPA rights. We have already turned the tide in America. Let's turn our focus to the voiceless around the world. Christian Neal is a Lovett College senior.