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Where is it illegal to be gay ?

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, or ILGA, lists 78 countries with criminal laws against sexual activity by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people (LGBTIs), but that’s a slight understatement.


The ILGA total as of early 2014 would 81 countries if you included Indonesia, where two large provinces outlaw homosexual acts, as well as political entities that aren’t fully accepted by the international community — Gaza/Palestine and the Cook Islands, a self-governing country whose residents all have citizenship in New Zealand. ILGA also includes the Central African Republic in its tally, because of its law against same-sex intimacy in public places.


That total would actually be 82 countries if you were to include Russia, which does not have a law against homosexual acts but is in the midst of an anti-gay crackdown on the basis of its new law against “gay propaganda.”


Back in 2012, based on a separate, nearly complete count, St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation cited a total of 76 countries.  That list was used in that year’s Spirit of 76 Worldwide program aimed at repealing those laws. 


The tiny nations of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean and São Tomé and Príncipe, in the Atlantic Ocean off the shores of central Africa, recently decriminalized homosexuality and were dropped from this list in 2014.

Mozambique, on the southeastern coast of Africa, with a population of 24 million, adopted a new Penal Code in the second half of 2014 and was dropped from this list in early 2015.



Africa:


1 Algeria
2 Angola
3 Botswana
4 Burundi
5 Cameroon
6 Comoros
7 Egypt
8 Eritrea
9 Ethiopia
10 Gambia
10 Ghana
12 Guinea
13 Kenya
14 Lesotho
15 Liberia
16 Libya
17 Malawi (enforcement of law suspended)
18 Mauritania
19 Mauritius
20 Morocco
21 Namibia
22 Nigeria
23 Senegal
24 Seychelles
25 Sierra Leone
26 Somalia
27 South Sudan
28 Sudan
29 Swaziland
30 Tanzania
31 Togo
32 Tunisia
33 Uganda
34 Zambia
35 Zimbabwe


Benin had been included in some editions of the ILGA report, but homosexuality is not illegal there, though the age of consent is higher for same-sex relations than for heterosexual relations. It was removed from this list in May 2014.


Asia, including the Middle East:


36 Afghanistan
37 Bangladesh
38 Bhutan
39 Brunei
40 India
41 Iran
42 Kuwait
43 Lebanon (law ruled invalid in one court)
44 Malaysia
45 Maldives
46 Myanmar
47 Oman
48 Pakistan
49 Palestine/Gaza Strip
50 Qatar
51 Saudi Arabia
52 Singapore
53 Sri Lanka
54 Syria
55 Turkmenistan
56 United Arab Emirates
57 Uzbekistan
58 Yemen


One Middle Eastern country, Iraq, was listed separately by ILGA in 2014 under the heading “Legal status of homosexual acts unclear or uncertain.” In Iraq, there is no civil law against homosexual acts, but homophobic violence is unchecked. Militias and self-appointed sharia judges reportedly have imposed sentences for homosexual behavior.


Americas:


59 Antigua & Barbuda
60 Barbados
61 Belize
62 Dominica
63 Grenada
64 Guyana
65 Jamaica
66 St Kitts & Nevis
67 St Lucia
68 St Vincent & the Grenadines
69 Trinidad & Tobago


In the United States, anti-sodomy laws were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, but they are still on the books in 13 states: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina,  Texas, Utah and Virginia.


Conservative state legislators refuse to repeal the laws and, in some cases, police still enforce them.  Reportedly, in the past few years more than a dozen LGBT people were arrested for violating those laws, but those arrested were freed because prosecutors won’t seek convictions based on defunct laws.


Oceania:


70 Cook Islands
71 Indonesia (Aceh Province and South Sumatra)
72 Kirbati
73 Nauru
74 Papua New Guinea
75 Samoa
76 Solomon Islands
77 Tonga
78 Tuvalu


Europe:


No country in Europe has a law against homosexuality. The last one, Northern Cyprus, repealed its law in January 2014.


Also in Europe and worth mentioning but not on that list of countries with laws against homosexuality are:


  • Russia, which enacted an anti-gay propaganda law in 2013 prohibiting any positive mention of homosexuality in the presence of minors, including online;
  • Ukraine, which has considered, but so far has not adopted a similar law against “gay propaganda.”
  • Moldova, which adopted and then repealed such a law in 2013.


For more information, download the ILGA report on state-sponsored homophobia and maps of countries that recognize and those that reject gay and lesbian rights.

Also check out the amazing 76crimes.com for updates and up to the minute information.