Select a country to read more about #whereloveisillegal

Australia/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex sexual activity is legal.
  • Same-sex marriages has been legal since 2017.
  • Adoption is legally open to same-sex couples in the Northern Territory.
  • South Australia allows equal access to assisted reproductive treatment and unpaid surrogacy.
  • “New South Wales passed a bill in 2018 protecting LGBTIQ people from vilification, making it a crime to threaten or incite violence against people on the basis of a protected characteristic.”

STATISTICS:

  • A 2013 poll conducted by Pew Research indicated that 79% of Australians viewed that homosexuality should be accepted by society, making it the fifth most supportive country in the world behind Spain (88%) / Germany (87%) / Canada and Czech Republic (both 80%).
  • A 2017 survey of trans and gender-diverse youth in Australia found that 48% of participants had attempted suicide, and about three in four reported experiencing anxiety or depression.
  • There is no federal ban on “conversion therapy”, although local activists are lobbying to rectify it.
sources: The Guardian / Telethon Kids Institute / ILGA / Star Observer / Out In Perth


// Read stories from Australia

Brazil/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 1830.
  • Same-sex marriage was legalised nationwide on May 16th 2013.
  • LGBTI people can serve in the military and police force.
  • Same-sex adoption has occurred and is occurring because Brazilian laws do not specifically prohibit it.
  • Anti-discrimination laws including indirect discrimination and hate speech are illegal.
  • There are provincial level bans on “gay conversion therapy”.

STATISTICS:

  • In 2008 the National LGBT Conference was held in Brazil. The event, the first in the world to be organized by a government, was a result of demands made by civil society and the Brazilian government’s support of LGBTI people’s rights.
  • The São Paulo Gay Pride Parade is one of the biggest events of its kind in the world, if not the biggest.
  • “Brazil continues to have a high rate of deaths due to homo/lesbo/transphobia.”
  • Jair Mesias Bolsonaro, elected President in 2018, is publicly hostile to LGBTI recognition and has explicitly fascist stances. More than 40% of the population voted against him in the polls. “After the election, out of fear of same-sex marriage recognition being repealed, civil registry offices across the country saw a 25% increase in this type of marriage.”
sources: Equaldex / ILGA / G1


// Read stories from Brazil

Burundi/

LAWS:

  • No legal protection.
  • No legal recognition.
  • Same-sex sexual acts are illegal.
  • The Penal Code, Article 590 last amended in 2017, states that sexual relations with a person of the same sex will lead to a three month to 2 year maximum prison penalty and/or a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 francs (US$30 to $60).
  • The Penal Code, Article 572 states that “acts of indecency contrary to Burundian morals” (same-sex sexual acts other than intercourse) will lead to a 2 year maximum prison penalty and/or a fine, with the same penalties as Article 590.
  • Stated in the Decree Act No. 1/11 of 18 April 1992, sexual orientation-related civil society organizations may be denied registration from authorities because “the object of the association is contrary to the law, public order or morality.”

STATISTICS:

  • Same-sex sexual activity has been illegal since 2009
  • Constitutional ban of same-sex marriages since 2005
  • “Activists have reported being unable to register their groups except when they focus on HIV/AIDS issues”, as a result of the Decree Act No. 1/11 of 1992.
  • “In 2016, Burundi voted against the adoption of UN Human Rights Council Resolution 32/2 which created the mandate of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
sources: ILGA / HRC

 


// Read stories from Burundi

Cameroon/

LAWS:

  • No legal protection.
  • No legal recognition.
  • Name of Law/penal code revised in 2016: Cameroon Penal Code of 1967, article 347-1 outlaws same-sex relation, with a punishment of six months to 5 years in prison and a fine of CFAF 20,000 to 200,000 (US$35 to $350).
  • “Article 83 of the Law on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime (Law No. 2010/12 of 2010) criminalises electronic communication between individuals of the same sex for the purpose of sexual proposition.” Punishment would be one to two years of imprisonment or a fine of 500,000 to 1,000,000 CFA francs (US$850 to $1700). Penalties are doubled when the communication is followed by sexual intercourse.
  • “Sections 264 of the Penal Code (2016) criminalises the public utterance of any immoral speech and the drawing of the public’s attention to any occasion of immorality.” In other words, “a publicly uttered speech advocating ‘unnatural sexual indulgence’ would be considered immoral.”
  • “Law no 99/014 of 22 of December 1995 regulates NGOs in Cameroon, which are required to pursue aims that are in the ‘public interest’.”

STATISTICS:

  • Homosexuality was criminalised in 1972.
  • In 2018, although Cameroon “accepted the SOGIESC recommendation to investigate police violence motivated by sexual orientation, real or perceived, there have been 137 documented arrests in the last 5 years.”
  • “There is some political will to eradicate HIV from key population groups and the National Health Plan 2018-2022 identifies men who have sex with men (MSM) and trans women as a vulnerable population.”
  • Because of the 1995 Law no 99/014, “groups report that they face obstacles in the process of obtaining legal recognition and some groups have had to exclude any reference to LGBT people to become legally registered.”
  • UN joint (12 CSOs) shadow report of October 2017, documented cases of extortion and blackmail by police officers based on perceived or actual sexual orientation, noting at least 67 cases in 2016.
  • In 2014, 4 cases of “corrective rape” against lesbian women were document, and 7 cases in 2016.
  • Between 95% and 99% of society are “against homosexuality because their religions are against homosexuality”.

EXTRAS:

sources: HRW / ILGA / OHCHR / Acodevo / OMCT


// Read stories from Cameroon

China/

LAWS:

  • Type of law: Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 1997.
  • No recognition of unions or same-sex marriage.
  • Adoption by same-sex couples is illegal.
  • Adoption of Chinese children by foreign LGBT couples and individuals is prohibited by the Chinese authorities.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation.
  • Transsexuals are allowed to change their legal gender, but only after sex reassignment surgery.
  • in May 2018, China’s Cyber Security Law (GB/T 35273-2017) “has included “sexual orientation” into the scope of protection in terms of personal information. This is the first time that the term “sexual orientation” is clearly and explicitly spelled out in the national regulations and provisions and a positive step towards the respect of the right to privacy.”
  • “Same-sex sexual acts were decriminalised in the territories of Hong Kong in 1991 and Macau in 1996 respectively.”
  • Since 2008, Article 6(2) of Law No. 7 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment in Macau.

STATISTICS:

  • The earliest law against a homosexual acts in China dates from the Zheng He era of the Song Dynasty, punishing “young males who act as prostitutes with a fine of 100 blows with a heavy bamboo and a fine of 50,000 cash.
  • “Trans identities are still on the list of mental illness of the 2001 edition of Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders.” Based on that classification, the current regulations regarding gender affirmation surgery require psychiatric or psychological treatment for at least one year in order to apply for sex reassignment surgeries, resulting in “unwanted conversion therapy” being imposed on transgender people.
  • Beijing LGBT Center released a survey report in 2017 which reveals that 11.9% out of 1,640 respondents had been coerced to receive these types of “conversion therapy” by their parents or guardians.
sources: ILGA / Sex, Law, and Society in Late Imperial China / Beijing LGBT Center


// Read stories from China

Colombia/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex sexual activity was decriminalised in 1981.
  • Since 2015 same-sex couples can jointly adopt children, and same-sex couples can adopt the biological child of their partner.
  • Anti-discrimination laws on the grounds of sexual orientation were passed in 2011.
  • LGBTI people can serve in the military and police force.
  • A law of violence against women encompasses bisexual and lesbian women; the murder of a transgender woman is recognized as femicide.
  • In 2016, Colombia’s Constitutional Court issued Decision SU214/16, establishing that notaries could no longer refuse to register same-sex marriages.”

STATISTICS:

  • In C-577 of 2011, the Constitutional Court held that while marriage may be defined as between a man and a woman under the Constitution, same-sex couples cannot be prohibited from legal recognition of their relationship. This de facto led to the judicial recognition of civil partnerships though no legislative reform has been introduced.”
  • In 2016, Colombia affirmed commitment – along with 55 other countries – to a Call for Action to ensure equitable and inclusive education for all, free from discrimination and violence. This Call for Action is the 2030 UNESCO Agenda for education inclusive of young LGBTI people.
sources: Equaldex / ILGA

 


// Read stories from Colombia

Democratic Republic of the Congo/

LAWS:

  • The Penal Code only prohibits same-sex sexual behaviour with a person younger than 21 years, for different-sexrelationships the age of consent is 18.
  • Subject to prosecution under public decency provisions in the penal code and articles in the 2006 law on sexual violence.
  • No recognition of same-sex unions.
  • Constitutional ban since 2005 of same-sex marriages.
  • No adoptions allowed by same-sex couples.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning gender identity/expression.
  • Same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults are not expressly criminalized, Article 176 of the Criminal Code— which criminalizes activities against public decency—is used in practice as the legal basis to criminalize LGBT persons.
  • “Article 2 of Criminal Code Article 176 contains a definition of “vulnerable groups”, which includes sex workers and “homosexuals”. This law is today the only legal text in force that can be used to offer protection to LGBT people, although mainly with respect to men who have sex with men. Unfortunately, this means that lesbians and trans people must use the label of one of the groups identified as “vulnerable groups” to have access to care.”

STATISTICS:

  • DRC continues to drive out LGBTQI+ refugees towards Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
  • “There are numerous documented instances of arbitrary arrests and blackmail perpetrated by the police in which this provision is used to persecute and repress public displays of affection, non- normative gender expressions, among others.”
  • “According to a joint submission by 6 SOR NGOs to the 2017 UPR, most organisations have been denied registration when they make reference to LGBT persons in their constitutions.”
source: ILGA / OHCHR


// Read stories from Democratic Republic of the Congo

Gabon/

LAWS:

  • There is no law criminalizing consensual same-sex relations between consenting adults.
  • No recognition of same-sex unions or same-sex marriages.
  • No adoptions allowed by same-sex couples.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation.

Statistics:

  • Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in Gabon, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples.
  • There is a high number of people living with HIV/AIDS and not receiving treatment, particularly women.
  • The National Health Plan does not recognize gay and bisexual men as a key population.”
  • Gabon remains a highly discriminatory environment for LGBT people, which may be why LGBT reporting of incidents is so low. In August 2016, the UN reiterated the need for non-discrimination legislation inclusive of sexual orientation/gender identity.”
source: ILGA


// Read stories from Gabon

Indonesia/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex sexual activity is legal nationwide, excepting the provinces of Aceh and South Sumatra.
  • Same-sex marriage and unions are not recognized.
  • Same-sex couples are not eligible to adopt.
  • No anti-discrimination laws in place.
  • Aceh Province : criminalizes same-sex activity under Sharia law (into effect on 23 October 2015). The law stipulates a punishment of 100 lashes and/or up to approximately eight years in prison. The regulation applies to local residents and to foreigners in the province for the crime of Liwat (male penetration) and Musahaqah (female same-sex sexual activity)
  • South Sumatra Province : Classifies and penalises same sex relations as “immoral behaviour”.
  • Indonesia’s Pornography Law, which includes ‘bodily movements’ in its coverage and imposes heavy fines as well as long prison terms, has also been used to target LGBTQ people.”
  • Age of consent for same-sex acts is 18, for different-sex acts is 16 (under Law on Child Protection, 2002).
  • “In February 2016, the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) released the Circular to All Broadcasting Companies on Effeminate Men which prohibits all broadcasting companies from representing sexual and gender diversity in men. In the same month, it also released a statement banning TV and radio programmes that “promoted” the LGBT lifestyle on the basis that it was in violation of the Broadcasting Program Standards (2012) in the name of protecting children.”
  • In 2016 “the Indonesian Ulema Council released a fatwa that rejected ‘all forms of propaganda, promotion and support towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) in Indonesia’, with the Council’s chairman, Maruf Amin, declaring that ‘LGBT activities and campaign are forbidden in Islam and other Abrahamic religions.’”
  • Batam City: City Ordinance No. 6/2002 about Social Ordinance, Social Order. Article 9 forbids the setting up of LGBT associations (explicitly mentioned).
  • Banjar: District Ordinance No. 10/2007 on Social Order (Banjar, South Kalimantan Province) mentions “abnormal” homosexual and heterosexual acts (in addition to “normal” ones) in its definition of “prostitute”. No explanation is given for “normal” or “abnormal” acts. It also prohibits the formation of organisations “…leading to immoral acts”, that are “…unacceptable to the culture of [local] society”.
  • Pariaram: Regional Regulation on Peace and Order of Kota Pariaram No 10/2018: Article 25 regulates the activities transgender women and those whose activities disturb public order. Article 26 meanwhile prohibits the activities of women and men who commit immoral (asusila) acts between the same sexes.

STATISTICS:

  • Indonesia allows its provincial governments to establish certain Islamic based laws, such as criminal sanctions for homosexuality. These local penalties exist in some provinces where provincial bylaws against LGBT rights was passed in September 2014. The bylaws extend Sharia (Islamic law) to non-Muslims, criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual acts as well as all zina (sexual relations outside of marriage). This sharia-based criminal code permits as punishment up to 100 lashes and up to 100 months in prison for consensual same-sex sex acts, while zina violations carry a penalty of 100 lashes.
  • Over the past few years, the Communications Ministry has been trying to ban same-sex dating applications on mobile phones albeit unsuccessfully.”
  • “In 2016, the Indonesian Psychiatrists Association (PDSKJI) classified “homosexuality”, “bisexuality” and “transsexualism” as mental disorders, which “can be cured through proper treatment”.”
  • In October 2018, opposition leader Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi attributed an earthquake that took place in Indonesia to LGBT activities there.”
sources: Equaldex / Jakarta Post / ILGA / Human Rights Watch / Malay Mail


// Read stories from Indonesia

Iran/

LAWS:

  • No legal protection.
  • No legal recognition.
  • Type of laws: Outlaws same-sex relations.
  • Sentence for breaking laws: Death penalty.
  • Additional Sentencing: Sodomy: death penalty; lesbianism: 100 lashes; death penalty upon fourth conviction.
  • Criminalises same-sex relations between women.
  • Name of Law/penal code: Islamic Penal Code of Iran, 1991, articles 108-134.
  • Penal Code of Iran 233-234 of 2013: male same-sex sexual intercourse leads to death penalty or caning.
  • Islamic Penal Code Articles 235-240 of 2013: same-sex sexual acts other than intecourse leads for all genders leads to 100 lashes.
  • The government uses the Law on Computer Crimes (Law No. 71,063 of 2009) to shut down newspapers and websites with content related to sexual orientation.
  • Article 237 of the Islamic Penal Code of 2013: Homosexual acts of a male or female person such as kissing or touching as a result of lust, shall be punishable by thirty-one to seventy-four lashes of ta’zir punishment of the sixth grade.
  • Article 698 of Islamic Penal Code provides for imprisonment of between two months to two years and flogging of up to 74 lashes if the press undermines Islam’s bases and commandments, and public and private rights.

STATISTICS:

  • “Iran’s opaque judicial system creates enormous difficulties for journalists and human rights advocates to examine judicial cases, what makes it very difficult to ascertain to what extent convictions are based—exclusively or not— the specific provisions that impose the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual acts.”
  • “Following an arrest, LGBT people are often made to reveal the names of other LGBT people they know. Individuals have also reported experiencing constant surveillance by the state’s intelligence service.”
  • “Health-care professionals have been reported to regularly tell gay and lesbian patients that their same-sex attraction and gender non-conformity are a sign of Gender Identity Disorder that must be treated with “reparative” therapies or sex reassignment surgeries, which are often carried out without prior consent.”
  • “Though the State is formally accepting of transgender people who have undergone gender reassignment and provides loans specifically to fund gender reassignment surgery, there remains significant societal discrimination and violence. Many gay and lesbian Iranians have tried to flee from Iran to avoid being forced to undergo gender reassignment.”
  • “In January 2011, Ali Larijani, the Speaker of Parliament justified the use of the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual conduct on the basis that it is ‘effective in keeping society safe from perversion.’”
sources: ILGA / Vocativ / Justice For Iran / BBC News / 6Rang


// Read stories from Iran

Iraq/

LAWS:

  • Type of laws: In 2003 the Penal Code of 1969 was reinstated in Iraq. This code does not prohibit same-sex relations.
  • No recognition of same-sex unions or same-sex marriages.
  • No adoptions allowed by same-sex couples.
  • No laws concerning gender identity/expression.
  • LGBTI people are not allowed to serve in the military.
  • Article 401 of the Penal Code: Any person who commits an immodest act in public is punishable by a period of detention not exceeding 6 months plus a fine not exceeding 50 dinars or by one of those penalties.

STATISTICS:

  • “Various persons perceived as gay were brutally and quickly executed extra-judicially in regions under the control of the Islamic State Organisation (Da’esh). The security forces of the organisation (Diwan al-Hesba) subjected the areas under their control to severe restrictions and penalties, including the execution of men and women accused of being gay, imposing the death penalty by throwing them from buildings (carried out from the tops of tall buildings) and later stoned. Since the military defeat of ISIS in December of 2017, there have not been reports of executions in Iraq.“
  • “Though there is no formal legal prohibition against same-sex sexual intimacy, there have been cases of same-sex couples and individuals prosecuted for same-sex sexual intimacy on the basis of other criminal provisions such as “prostitution” and “public indecency”. There also remains a significant threat of violence against people on the basis of their same- sex desire or gender expression—those perceived as non-heterosexual or gender non-conforming—across the country.”
  • In a 2018 report by LGBT advocacy group IraQueer, it was found that there has been at least one annual killing campaign targeting queer individuals carried out by different groups. This included ISIS (10%), armed groups like Asa’eb Ahl Al-Haq (31%) and the government (22%). Non-state actors are also a significant source of violence, with family members making up 27% of the violence committed.”
sources: GJPI / ILGA / OHCHR


// Read stories from Iraq

Israel/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex sexual activity was legalized in 1988.
  • Limited recognition of unregistered partnerships since 1998.
  • Legal recognition of same-sex marriages performed abroad (recognized since 2006).
  • Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation was prohibited in 1992.
  • Legal recognition of civil unions (with similar legal rights as legally married couples).
  • There are no legal protections from hate crimes.

STATISTICS:

  • Although same-sex marriages are not performed in the country, Israel recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, making it the first and only country in Asia to do so.
  • Since 2017, male same sex couples have been denied the right to adopt children through surrogacy.
  • In 2016, Israel affirmed commitment – along with 55 other countries – to a Call for Action to ensure equitable and inclusive education for all, free from discrimination and violence. This Call for Action is the 2030 UNESCO Agenda for education inclusive of young LGBTI people.
  • “A bill which would have banned conversion therapy performed on minors was rejected by the legislature in 2016. However, the Israel Medical Association (which represents around 90% of the country’ doctors) issued a ban on “conversion therapy” that would result in the expulsion of any doctor who performs such practices.”
  • Palestinian human rights activists regularly accuse the Israeli government of “pink washing,” or trying to portray the country as progressive by comparing it to “backwards” Palestinian and Muslim societies. Indeed, aside from a pilot programme allowing bisexual and gay men to donate blood, Israel’s track record on LGBTI issues over the previous two years tarnishes the country’s claims of social liberalism and tolerance.”
sources: ILGA / Reuters / Middle East Eye


// Read stories from Israel

Jamaica/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults is criminalized; although, “homosexuality” in and of itself is not a crime.
  • There is a 10 year maximum prison penalty for male only.
  • No legal protection for LGBTIQ+ people: No anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation.
  • No legal recognition for LGBTIQ people: No recognition of same-sex unions or same-sex marriages.
  • The act of “buggery” (anal penetration) is illegal for all genders, with a sentence of up to 10 years in prison with or without hard labour if convicted, under the Offences Against the Person Act, Article 76 of 1969.
  • Gross indecency is an offense, but only when committed between two male persons. The act of “gross indecency” or “serious indecency” is an act other than sexual intercourse by a person involving the use of the genital organs for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire. Under the OAP Act, Section 79 of 1864, there is a maximum of 2 years prison penalty with or without hard labour.
  • Men can be detained without a warrant under suspicion of intent to commit indecent acts for loitering between 7pm and 6am.
  • In 2009, Jamaica introduced a new Sexual Offences Act which establishes the rules for the ‘Sex Offender Register and Sex Offender Registry’ at Sections 29 – 35, operative as of October 2011). Under this law, anyone convicted of a “specified offence” must be registered as a “sex offender” and comply with specific obligations. Articles 76, 77 and 79 of the Offences Against the Person Act (cited above) fall under the category of “specified offences” as per Article 2 of the law’s First Schedule.

STATISTICS:

  • Eighty-eight percent of respondents to a 2012 survey by Humans Rights First believe that male homosexuality is immoral and nearly 84 percent believe that female homosexuality is immoral.
  • More than 75 percent of respondents in the survey are against repealing the “buggery” law and 65 percent oppose amending the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms to protect the rights of members of the LGBTQI+ community.
  • Thirty-seven percent of Jamaicans believe that leadership is not doing enough to protect the LGBT community from violence and discrimination.
  • A 2008 poll of more than 1000 Jamaicans showed that more than 70% of Jamaicans felt that homosexuals are not entitled to the same basic human rights as other people in Jamaica.
  • Victims of discrimination and violence seeking asylum abroad, “place great emphasis on the existence of sodomy laws in Jamaica, alleging that it legitimises structural discrimination against LGBT people.”
  • After successful Pride celebrations in 2017, Montego Bay Pride march was held again in October 2018 and its organiser, Maurice Tomlinson, claimed that even though the event was incident-free, there was fear among participants.”
sources: Human Rights First / ILGA / Jamaica Observer / The Gleaner


// Read stories from Jamaica

Jordan/

LAWS:

  • The Jordanian Penal Code of 1951 (modified in 1960) is in force, having no prohibition on sexual acts between persons of the same sex.
  • No recognition of same-sex unions or same-sex marriages.
  • No adoptions allowed by same-sex couples.
  • No laws concerning gender identity/expression.
  • No legal protection from employment discrimination, hate crimes, etc.

STATISTICs:

  • The Jordanian penal code no longer permits family members to beat or kill a member of their own family whose “illicit” sexuality is interpreted as bringing “dishonor” to the entire family. As of 2013, the newly revised Penal Code makes honor killings, as a legal justification for murder, illegal.
  • Jordanian government has shown its willingness to censor free speech of the queer community. “In July 2017, the Jordanian Audiovisual Commission blocked access to an LGBTQIA-inclusive online magazine on the basis that they had not applied for a license.” My.Kali, a publication covering human rights and LGBTQ issues, has been blocked for a year for publications, and an event they were involved in in 2018, was cancelled by Jordanian authorities.
sources: BBC / ILGA / CPJ


// Read stories from Jordan

Kenya/

LAWS:

  • Type of laws: Same-sex sexual activity is outlawed.
  • Sentence for breaking law: 10 years – life imprisonment.
  • No recognition of same-sex unions.
  • Constitutional ban since 2010 on same-sex marriages.
  • No adoptions allowed by same-sex couples.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation.
  • No legal protection from employment discrimination, hate crimes, etc.
  • Penal Code, Section 162 last amended in 2003, subjects all genders to a maximum of 14 years of imprisonment for “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”.
  • Penal Code, Section 163 last amended in 2003, subjects any person who attempts to commit acts against the order of nature to 7 years of imprisonment.
  • Penal Code, Section 165 last amended in 2003, subjects men to a maximum of 5 years of imprisonment for “gross indecency” whether in public or private.
  • Section 12 of the Film and Stage Plays Act restricts the exhibition of films according to the discretion of the Kenya Film Classification Board. According to the Board’s Classification Guidelines (2012) films with themes that “glamorise a homosexual lifestyle” are either age-restricted to those above 18 years old or banned.”
  • In March 2018, the Kenya Court of Appeals at Mombasa ruled the practice of forced anal examinations unlawful.

STATISTICS:

  • Traditional female same-sex marriage is practiced among the Gikuyu, Nandi, Kamba, Kipsigis, and to a lesser extent neighboring peoples. Approximately 5–10% of women in these nations are in such marriages. However, this is not seen as homosexual, but is instead a way for families without sons to keep their inheritance within the family. The couples are considered married, though the terms used for them are mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.
  • “In April 2018, the Kenyan Film Board issued a ban against the film “Rafiki” on the basis that it was intended to promote lesbianism in Kenya though this was temporarily lifted for seven days by a High Court judge after the film was nominated at the Academy Awards. In 2014, the Board also banned another film, “Stories of Our Lives” similarly for “promoting homosexuality.”
  • NGLHRC’s Because Womxn has reported increased vulnerabilities and discrimination against LBQ women on account of multiple biases of gender and sexual orientation. This has resulted in marginalization, violence and exclusion of LBQ women not only by the general society but also within the LGBTIQ community. These intersections and multiplicity of discrimination grounds become more relevant and subtler in asylum cases for LGBTIQ persons who face rights violations and protection challenges during asylum processing.”
  • LGBTIQ refugees from Somalia, DR Congo, Sudan have been driven out towards Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda as a result of geo-conflicts.” At Kakuma Camp in Kenya, LGBTIQ refugees have faced have faced many acts of violence, discrimination and harassment.
  • Activists and groups have been documenting and fighting discriminations based on sexual orientation including ongoing litigation challenging criminalization of same sex relations in Kenya, refusal of registration of NGLHRC in Kenya and the recently (2018) successful challenge against forced anal examination in Kenya.”
  • Forced anal examinations and HIV testing have been carried out to find “proof” of proscribed consensual same-sex sexual acts.
  • In September 2017, the Kenya Medical Association resolved to “condemn and discourage any form of forced examination of clients, even in the guise of discovering crimes, and to advise practitioners to always conduct consenting procedures for all clients they examine”. It also vowed to “organise a forum to address the health needs and rights of members of the LGBTIQ community.”
  • Most mistreatment of LGBTIQ+ refugees in Kenya goes undocumented.
  • In June 2018, the Refugee Coalition of East Africa (RefCEA) was launched in Kenya, serving as a ‘community-based organisation led for and by LGBTI migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers’.”
  • In 2018 the institution published a Report on the Rights of Intersex Persons in Kenya.

EXTRAS:

sources: Gender and Language in Sub-Saharan Africa / ILGA / NGLHRC / RefCEA / KNCHR


// Read stories from Kenya

Kuwait/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex sexual activity is illegal.
  • Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment.
  • No recognition of same-sex unions or same-sex marriages.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning gender identity/expression.
  • No legal protection from employment discrimination, hate crimes, etc.
  • The Penal Code of Kuwait was enacted through Law No. 16 of 1960, Article 193 and last amended in 2007: “Sexual consensual acts between men of consenting age (21+ years old) will be prosecuted with up to 7 years imprisonment”.
  • Penal Code Article 198 last amended in 2007 makes all genders liable to a maximum 1 year prison penalty for a “lewd act or signal in a public place” and/or subject to a fine of up to 1000 Dinar ($3284 USD).
  • Cross dressing and non-normative gender expression has been illegal since 2008: Article 198 of the Penal Code of 2007.
  • Article 21 (Law No. 3 of 2006) of the Press and Publications Law of 1960 prohibits the publication of anything that would insult the public morals or instigate others to violate the public order or to violate the laws or to commit crimes, even if the crime did not occur. This law was extended to include online publications pursuant to the Law Regulating Electronic Media (Law No. 8 of 2016).”
  • Article 27 (Law No. 3 of 2006) of the Press and Publications Law: “Without prejudice to any severer penalty which is stipulated in another law, the chief editor and article writer or the author shall be penalized if he published in the newspaper what was prohibited under article 21, he shall be penalized by fine which shall not be less than 3,000 Dinar and not more than 10,000 Dinar”. (Minimum $9852 USD)
  • Article 6(4) of the Law on Clubs and Public Welfare Societies (Law No. 24 of 1962) states that “societies and clubs are not allowed to seek achieving any purpose that is illegal or defies ethics or related to purposes stipulated in the statute”. NGO registration is mandatory under articles 2 and 3 and an implausible prospect for SOR CSOs groups.”

STATISTICS:

  • In 2017, it was reported that Kuwait deported 76 men suspected of being gay.
  • A report shows how the authorities detain trans- persons through a provision that was added to the criminal code in 2007 and prohibited “imitating the opposite sex”.
  • In 2017, the Ministry of Information prohibited the screening of a Disney film (The Beauty and the Beast) that contained a same-sex kiss.”
  • In 2017, the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice reiterated its concern about Article 198, and noted that it has received reports of discrimination against women on the basis of their gender identity and expression. It added that ‘according to the information received, transgender people in Kuwait are an isolated, discriminated and vulnerable group who face harassment and threats’.”

EXTRAS:

sources: HRW / ILGA / Albawaba News / Gulf News / OHCHR


// Read stories from Kuwait

Lebanon/

LAWS:

  • No recognition of same-sex unions or same-sex marriages.
  • No adoptions allowed by same-sex couples.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning gender identity/expression.
  • No legal protection from employment discrimination, hate crimes, etc.
  • Penal Code, Article 534 of 1943 punishes all genders for “intercourse against nature” with a maximum prison penalty of 1 year.
  • Article 532 of the Penal Code prohibits the possession, making, or distributing of materials that may incite others to immorality… The exposing of public morals by any of the ways mentioned in Article 209 shall be punished with imprisonment from one month to one year and a fine from 20,000 Lira to 100,000 Lira.”
  • The Ottoman Law on Associations prohibits organisations that are founded on an ‘unlawful basis’ and requires notification to the government upon the founding of an organisation, which will respond with a receipt that officially recognises the organisation.” (See below)

Statistics:

  • Lebanon was the first Arab country to declassify homosexuality as a “disease”.
  • In May 2018, an organiser of Beirut Pride was detained for organising a demonstration that incite immorality. In January 2019, the Ministry of Telecom reportedly ordered a ban on Grindr (an online dating app mostly used by gay men).”
  • “An LGBT group which applied for registration in 2004 never received any receipt though subsequent groups which did not describe themselves using any term related to sexual orientation or gender identity were successfully recognised. In May 2018, Lebanese General Security officers attempted to shut down a conference on LGBT Rights organised by the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFE) on the basis that it ‘promoted homosexuality’ and drug abuse.”
  • Though forced anal examinations are now rarely used as evidence in Article 534 proceedings, following a 2012 advocacy campaign known as “Tests of Shame”, the police continue to perform them, as well as conduct HIV and drug tests on arrested persons without their consent. According to activists, the number of arrests under Article 534 has increased between 2012 and 2016.”
  • The Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH), a sexual health NGO, launched a week of programmes on discrimination in the medical sector against LGBT people in March 2017. In 2018, LebMASH hosted a conference where doctors criticised “conversion therapy” for causing suicidal thoughts and depression.”

EXTRAS:

sources: Huffington Post / ILGA / Middle East Eye / SBS News / HRW / HRW / Openly News


// Read stories from Lebanon

Malawi/

LAWS:

  • Type of law: Outlaws same-sex relations.
  • Sentence for breaking law: 10 years – life.
  • Additional Penalties: Sexual acts between men: up to 14 years in prison; sexual acts between women: 5 years in prison.
  • No recognition of same-sex unions or same-sex marriages.
  • No adoptions allowed by same-sex couples.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation.
  • Sterilization is required for change concerning gender identity/expression
  • No legal protection from employment discrimination, hate crimes, etc.
  • Penal Code, Article 153 last amended in 2011: all genders who commit “ carnal knowledge against order of nature” are liable to a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison with or without corporal punishment.
  • Penal Code, Article 154: Any person who attempts to commit any of the offences specified in Article 153 shall be guilty of a felony and shall be liable to imprisonment for seven years, with or without corporal punishment.
  • Penal Code, Article 137(a) and 156 last amended in 2011: all genders who commit “gross indecency” are liable to a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison with or without corporal punishment. “Gross indecency” between females was introduced in 2010.

STATISTICS:

  • The Penal Code prohibits “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”, attempts to commit “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”, and acts of “gross indecency”. However, in November 2012, President Joyce Banda suspended all laws that criminalized homosexuality. In July 2014, the Justice Minister announced that Malawi would no longer arrest people for same-sex sexual activity and review its anti-gay laws.
  • In 2010, Malawi amended its penal code to include criminal penalties for sexual relations between consenting adult women.
  • In Malawi, organisations working on LGBT issues were able to receive legal status after they strategically chose to register as a human rights organisation and used non-descriptive names to avoid additional scrutiny.”
  • The Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act (Marriage Act) of 2015 states that marriage is “a union between two adults of “opposite” gender or sex, and that sex is one’s status at birth”.
  • 2018 Human Rights Watch study found that LGBT people face “routine violence and discrimination in almost all aspects of their lives”, including police abuse and arbitrary detention.”
sources: ILGA / HRW 


// Read stories from Malawi

Malaysia/

LAWS:

  • Outlaws same-sex relations.
  • Same-sex female sexual relations are not outlawed.
  • No recognition of same-sex unions or same-sex marriages.
  • No adoptions allowed by same-sex couples.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning gender identity/expression.
  • LGBTI people are not allowed to serve in the military.
  • No legal protection from employment discrimination, hate crimes, etc.
  • Malaysia Penal Code, 2006, section 377A-377B: all genders who commit “intercourse against the order of nature” are liable to a maximum of 20 years in prison and/or whipping.
  • Penal Code section 377D: all genders who commit “acts of gross indecency” are liable to a maximum of 2 years in prison.
  • Under Section 7(3)(a) of the Societies Act 1966, the Registrar of Societies shall refuse to register a local society where it appears that such a local society is unlawful or is likely to be used for ‘unlawful purposes’.” (See below)
  • Several states in Malaysia have instated Islamic Sharia law, criminalising same-sex sexual acts with up to three years imprisonment and whipping. The Sharia law in the Malaysian state of Pulau Pinang confers penalties for sodomy [Liwat] and lesbian relations [Musahaqat] with heavy fines, three years imprisonment and 6 lashes.”

STATISTICS:

  • Human Rights Watch reports that state-level Shari’a (Islamic) laws prohibit cross-dressing, and transgender people “face arbitrary arrest, physical and sexual assault, imprisonment, discriminatory denial of health care and employment, and other abuses.
  • The new Prime Minister of 2018 has expressly rejected ‘LGBT and same-sex marriage’ as ‘things only meant for the West’.”
  • In 2018, in a response to a parliamentary question and following a national controversy over a gay kiss in a Disney film, the deputy home minister reiterated that LGBT content will be banned from broadcast unless there were ‘lessons to be learnt’, pursuant to guidelines set by the LPF.”
  • In 2010, the Film Censorship Board (LPF) relaxed its ban on “homosexual content” pursuant to the Film Censorship Act, provided that gay characters became straight at the end.”
  • In 2017, LGBTI group Pelangi Campaign’s application for registration was rejected without any reason and its appeal was also rejected in 2018, citing section 7 of the Act, which empowers the Registrar of Societies to reject applications without the need to provide any reasons.”
  • In 2017, the federal government’s Islamic Development Department endorsed and promoted “conversion therapy”. According to local sources, State officials have been organising “conversion therapy” courses aimed at transgender women.”
  • “In February 2017, the government’s Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) released a video explaining how Muslims can ‘help’ LGB people change their sexual orientation.”

EXTRAS:

sources: ILGA / The Star / Herald Sun / Malay Mail / Facts And Details / Today Online


// Read stories from Malaysia

Nigeria/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex sexual activity is illegal under federal law.
  • Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment.
  • Additional sentences: Up to 14 years in prison; death penalty (state Sharia laws).
  • Same-sex sexual activity is also illegal in the 12 Northern states (Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara).
  • Penalty: Shari’a law – death penalty by stoning for men. Whipping and/or imprisonment for women.
  • No recognition of same-sex unions or same-sex marriages.
  • No adoptions allowed by same-sex couples.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning gender identity/expression.
  • No legal protection from employment discrimination, hate crime, etc.
  • Name of Law/penal code: Criminal Code Act (Chapter 77), 1990, sections 214, 215, 217; Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives in 2013 and signed by the president in 2014.
  • Section 215: any person who attempts to commit “carnal knowledge” is liable to imprisonment of 7 years. The offender cannot be arrested without a warrant.
  • Section 217: “gross indecency” committed by men are liable to a maximum of 3 years of imprisonment. The offender cannot be arrested without a warrant.
  • Section 5(2) of the Same-sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act (2014) provides that a person who ‘directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships’ may receive a penal sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment.”
  • Article 4(1) of Nigeria’s Same-sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act prohibits “the registration of gay clubs, societies and organisations, their sustenance, processions and meetings”. Articles 5(2) and (3) impose a 10-year prison sentence on anyone who “registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies organization” or “supports” the activities of such organisations.” (See below)

STATISTICS:

  • On 13 January 2014, The president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan signed into law the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which parliament passed in May 2013. The law follows a similar one passed in Uganda in December 2013, which imposes life imprisonment for some types of homosexual acts.
  • “In 2018, a group called “Lesbian Equality and Empowerment Initiatives” lost their appeal challenging the refusal of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to register them under the Companies and Allied Matters Act. The judge held that the group’s name was “in collision with an existing and operational law”, referring to the Same-sex Marriage (Prohibition Act).”
  • The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) 2018 report on human rights violations based on SOGIE in Nigeria documented a total of 286 victims and 213 violations, higher than in the previous year.”
  • In 2017, TIERs issues a report showing the results of a survey on social perception of LGBTI people in the country. “It revealed that the vast majority of Nigerians (91%) do not believe that people are born “homosexual”; 83% would not be willing to accept a family member who is “homosexual”; 90% support the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, and think that Nigeria would be a better country without “homosexual”; and 56% say “homosexual” should be denied access to public services.”
  • The Bisi Alimi Foundation, a charity that works on advancing social acceptance regarding SOGI in Nigeria, released a report exploring the results of an online survey in which 446 respondents described the stigmatisation and isolation they suffered because of their SOGIESC.” They face arbitrary arrests, blackmail, physical and psychological abuse by the police and kidnapping, extortion, harassment, sexual attacks, subjection to conversion therapies, pressure to marry and involuntary outing by family and society members.

EXTRAS:

sources: ILGA / TIERs / TIERs / The Bisi Alimi Foundation


// Read stories from Nigeria

Republic of Ireland/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex sexual activity was decriminalised in 1993.
  • Same-sex marriage was made legal in the Republic of Ireland in 2015: “In October 2015, the Marriage Act 2015 was signed into law specifying its application to same-sex couples. The law replaced the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010. Interestingly, the 2015 law was enacted six months after the success of a legally binding Constitutional referendum to alter Article 41(4) to reframe marriage as gender – neutral.”
  • The legalisation of same-sex marriage in Ireland, in conjunction with the passage of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, means that married same-sex couples are permitted to adopt.
  • Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation are in place.
  • Anti-discrimination laws concerning gender identity/expression are in place.
  • In 1993, Section 2, Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act removed the ‘buggery’ provisions Ireland inherited from British rule.
  • In 2000, Section 3(2)(d) of the Equal Status Act defines sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination. Chapter II lists the activities to which the ban on discriminatory acts applies: the disposal of goods and the provision of services (Section 5), education (Section 7) and others.
  • Last amended in 1999, Section 6(1) and (2)(d) Employment Equality Act (1998) ensures non-discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual
    orientation (among other grounds).
  • The Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act (1989) penalises incitement to hatred, violence or discrimination on the ground of, inter alia, sexual orientation.

STATISTICS:

  • The Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to bring in same-sex marriage by a popular vote following approval of a referendum in May 2015.
  • Since July 2015, transgender people in Ireland can self-declare their gender for the purpose of updating passports, driving licences, obtaining new birth certificates, and getting married.
  • “Ireland elected its first openly gay head of state as the conservative leader Leo Varadkar became Taoiseach (prime minister and head of government of Ireland) in June 2017.”
  • “A 2018 bill in Ireland, which has received positive responses from the houses of parliament, if passed would outlaw anyone from practicing such ‘therapy” on anyone.”
  • Four years after marriage equality, donor-assisted lesbian co- parents are still denied both names on their child’s birth certificate.” There is a new bill expecting to be published in the spring legislative session to allow same-sex couples to use their names on birth certificates.
sources: Irish Times / The Journal / ILGA / Oireachtas / Irish Examiner

 


// Read stories from Republic of Ireland

Republic of the Congo/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex sexual activity is legal.
  • No recognition of same-sex unions.
  • Constitutional ban since 2005 of same-sex marriages.
  • No adoptions allowed by same-sex couples.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning gender identity/expression.
  • In the Republic of Congo Brazzaville, the text of the Penal Code (as amended in 2006), only prohibits same-sex sexual behaviour with a person younger than 21 years, while the age of consent for different-sex is 18.

STATISTICS:

  • Law #8 Articles 2, 3 and 4 is the only legal text in force today “that can be used to offer protection to LGBT people, although mainly with respect to men who have sex with men. Unfortunately, this means that lesbians and trans people must use the label of one of the groups identified as “vulnerable groups” to have access to care.”
source: ILGA


// Read stories from Republic of the Congo

Russia/

LAWS:

  • No legal recognition or protection of any kind.
  • Outlaws discussion of LGBT rights.
  • Same-sex male sexual activity has been legal since 1993.
  • Same-sex female sexual activity has always been legal.
  • Additional Sentencing: Fines of between 4,000 and 5,000 rubles (US$65 to $80); government officials face fines of 40,000 to 50,000 rubles (US$650 to $810); and organizations, up to 1 million rubles (US$16,220) or a suspension of activity for up to 90 days. Heavier fines may be imposed for the same actions if the “propaganda” is carried out using mass media and telecommunications, including the Internet. Foreigners found to be in violation can be detained for up to 15 days and be deported.
  • Name of Law/penal code: Federal Law of June 29, 2013 No. 135-FZ, “On Amendments to Article 5 of the Federal Law ‘On Protecting Children from Information Harmful to their Health and Development” otherwise known as “gay propaganda laws”.
  • Federal Law No 135-FZ which prohibits the promotion of non- traditional sexual relations among minors has been used to prosecute a range of people since it was enacted, including activists, websites and the media. For example, the website Gay.ru has been blocked within Russia.
  • Article 121(1) of the 1934 Criminal Code of the Soviet Union had stated “sexual relations of a man with a man (pederasty)” was punishable with up to five years imprisonment. This is the model language that was transposed into penal codes in States throughout the former Soviet Union. The 1993 Criminal Code removed such provisions from the Russian law.
  • The “Foreign Agent” legislation of 2012 has been employed to fine several LGBT organisations, which activists have criticised for discrediting the work that they carry out.

STATISTICS:

  • In January 2015, the country implemented a new road safety law blocking those with mental disorders as defined by the World Health Organization, a list which included transsexualism under the category of “sexual disorders”, from holding a driver’s license.
  • “Anti-human rights, conservative and religious groups have developed a tactic that undermines gender- related rights struggles by naming them as “ideological”. They argue that people who have a broad definition of gender beyond “sex” are using a dangerous “gender ideology”. They see any deviation from the pre-determined definitions and roles of “man” and “woman” as threats. They use vitriolic rhetoric to allege plots and conspiracies among defenders of women’s rights and rights related to sexuality; they claim that our rights agendas will destroy the family, the State and the social order… The argument that parents are always best suited to make decisions for their children, gives parents ultimate authority in overseeing their children’s education and therefore the rights to deny sexuality education and information about contraception, abortion, homosexuality, trans identity, bodily autonomy and condom use.” In other words, “knowledge of sexual and gender diversity is harmful to children”.
  • Since April 2017, there has been an “alleged large-scale abduction, detention and torture—and, in some cases, killing—of dozens of perceived to be or actual LGBTI people in Chechnya”. Amnesty International call it a “gay purge”. “None of those atrocities have been punished by the government. Moreover, the government’s overt ridicule and denial of these events provides an unofficial ‘green light’ for these abuse to continue with impunity.” Therefore, homophobia is state-sponsored.
  • “NGO documentation and media reportage have demonstrated that in numerous documented cases, based on their SOGIESC, people are routinely subjected to unpunished verbal and physical abuse in Russia.”

EXTRAS:

sources: Guardian / ILGA / Amnesty International / BBC World


// Read stories from Russia

South Africa/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex male sexual activity has been legal since 1998.
  • Same-sex female sexual activity has always been legal.
  • Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2006. “Despite the title of the law, the Civil Union Act (2006) confers the right to marriage to persons of the same-sex.” Civil unions are also legal. 
  • Adoptions allowed by same-sex couples have been legal since 2002.
  • Anti-discrimination laws are interpreted to include gender identity.
  • Legal gender may be changed after surgical or medical treatment.
  • No legal protection from hate crime.
  • “A bill was passed in 2018 under the Civil Union Act that prohibited civil servants in South Africa from “opting out” of performing same sex marriage ceremonies based on their perception of “conscience, religion and other beliefs”. This is significant in light of the global trend toward allowing “religious freedom” exemptions in provision of health care and other services.” (See below)
  • Prohibition of sexual orientation discrimination was first included at Section 8 of the Interim Constitution that came into force in April 1994, and was carried through Section 9(3) of the Constitution of South Africa, 1996.
  • Section 1 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000 includes sexual orientation as one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination.
  • Section 187(1)(f) of the Labour Relations Act (1995) establishes a dismissal is “automatically unfair” when based on the employee’s sexual orientation (among other grounds).
  • Section 6(1) of the Employment Equity Act (1998) prohibits direct and indirect discrimination on the basis of, inter alia, sexual orientation.
  • The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000, prohibits unfair discrimination, hate speech and harassment. Section 1(22) includes “sexual orientation” within the definition of “prohibited grounds”.

STATISTICS:

  • Despite South Africa being the fifth country in the world, and the first in Africa, to legalise same-sex marriage LGBT South Africans continue to face considerable challenges, including social stigma, homophobic violence (particularly corrective rape), and high rates of HIV/AIDS infection.“South Africa’s high rates of rape and homophobic crime, perpetrated disproportionately against lesbians of colour in poorer townships, demonstrate that robust legislation does not necessarily translate to societal acceptance. A 2017 report on violence faced by the LGBT community in South Africa found that a shocking four out of ten LGBT South Africans know of someone who has been murdered for their sexual orientation or gender identity; that number rises to 49% for black LGBT people in the country.”
  • In 2016, South Africa affirmed commitment – along with 55 other countries – to a Call for Action to ensure equitable and inclusive education for all, free from discrimination and violence. This Call for Action is the 2030 UNESCO Agenda for education inclusive of young LGBTI people.
  • The prior year, the Minister of Home Affairs revealed that only 111 of its 412 branches had officers willing to marry same-sex couples, and that 37% of its officers were exempt from providing the services.”
  • A national HIV plan to address the specific needs of the LGBTI community, the first of its kind, was launched during the 8th South African AIDS Conference in Durban in 2017. The plan aims to reduce HIV rates by 63 percent, tuberculosis by 30 percent, and boost STI detection by 70 percent over five years. The plan also acknowledged the effects of societal stigma and discrimination on LGBTI people seeking healthcare, and called for services designed for their needs.”
sources: American Bar / ILGA / UNESCO / BBC News / News 24 / Mamba Online / ENCA


// Read stories from South Africa

South Korea/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex sexual activity is legal.
  • Same-sex couples are not entitled to the same legal protections available to heterosexual couples.
  • Same-sex marriage is not recognized.
  • No legal protection against hate crimes.
  • There are no LGBTI anti-discrimination protections in South Korea.
  • Article 92(6) of the Military Criminal Code outlaws “sodomy or other disgraceful conduct,” which prescribes up to two years in prison and disgraceful discharge for servicemen.
  • The 1962 Criminal Act (updated 2009) of South Korea contains no provisions criminalising consensual same-sex sexual acts between adults. Article 305 (amended 1995) indicates 13 as the age of consent (information verified by practitioners in South Korea, as there are English versions of the Criminal Act that state 15 as the age of consent).
  • Article 30(2) of the National Human Rights Commission Act (2001) defines “unreasonable discrimination” based on sexual orientation (among other grounds) as a violation of the right to equality. This law applies to employment, provision of goods and services, education and more.
  • Article 30(2) of the National Human Rights Commission Act (2001) mandates the Commission to investigate acts of discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment.

STATISTICS:

  • Article 92 of the Military Penal Code (which is currently under a legal challenge) defines sexual activity between members of the same sex as “sexual harassment” punishable by a maximum of one year of imprisonment. Military courts ruled in 2010 that this law was illegal, saying that homosexuality is a strictly personal issue. This ruling was appealed to South Korea’s constitutional court, which has not yet made a decision.
  • In 2017 “it was found that the South Korean army had targeted dozens of soldiers in a campaign against gay men in the military, and around 20 soldiers had been tracked down on gay dating apps, interrogated, and put on trial due to the discriminatory provision in the Military Criminal Code.”
  • State-sanctioned discrimination feeds the growing public hostility against sexual minorities… The first pride parade in Incheon in September 2018, for example, was severely delayed as more than a thousand conservative Christian demonstrators blocked, and then attacked the pride participants both verbally and physically under police incompetence.”
sources: Equaldex / ICJ / ILGA / Korea Herald


// Read stories from South Korea

Syria/

LAWS:

  • Type of laws: Outlaws same-sex relations.
  • Same-sex female sexual relation laws are unclear.
  • Sentences: Prison sentences of up to 10 years.
  • Additional Sentencing: Up to 3 years in prison.
  • No recognition of same-sex unions or same-sex marriages.
  • No adoptions allowed by same-sex couples.
  • No anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation.
  • LGBTI people are not allowed to serve in the military.
  • Article 520 of the 1949 Penal Code: Any unnatural sexual intercourse and any other same-sex acts shall be punished with a term of imprisonment of up to three years.
  • Article 517: Punish crimes against public decency in any of the ways mentioned in paragraph 1 of Article 208 [any act carried out in a public or open area where one could possibly see, intentionally or accidentally, the act] with imprisonment of three months to three years.
  • Various articles of Law No. 19/1958 (amended 1969) allow the Ministry to appoint or remove board members, disallow political participation, foreign funding, and allow the registration to be rescinded at will. Further, article 35 allows any Board decision to be suspended “if it deems it to be against the law, the public order or morals”. This legal framework appears to pose severe barriers to the formal registration and the operation of a SOR NGO.”
  • “Article 208 of the Syrian Penal Code of 1948 prohibits offensive public utterances in writing, graphics, images, etc. Prior to the civil war, it was reported that films on LGBT content were censored.”

STATISTICS:

  • Since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, there have been reports of gay Syrians being blackmailed, tortured and killed in areas controlled by extremist groups.
  • Women and girls can be killed because of mere suspicion of an affair or romantic liaison, a false accusation, or for being raped or sexually assaulted. Victims of “honor” killings also include LGBT individuals.”
  • “LGBT identified individuals are persecuted and stigmatized socially and legally, where they are denied equal opportunities to education and work through the denial of employment in public services and sometimes in private establishments. They are also persecuted by the law through security trailing and detention, where many men have been beaten, tortured, and raped – individually and in groups – at checkpoints due to their sexual orientation”.

EXTRAS:

sources: RefWorld / ILGA / UPR


// Read stories from Syria

Tanzania/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex couples have no legal recognition.
  • No anti discrimination laws are in place.
  • No legal protection or recognition of any kind.
  • Penal Code, Chapter XV: Offences Against Morality (1945)(as amended by the Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act, 1998) Carnal knowledge against the order of nature.
  • Section 154. Unnatural offences: Any person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or […] permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature, commits an offence, and is liable to imprisonment for life and in any case to imprisonment for a term of not less than thirty years. Where the offence is committed to a child under the age of ten years the offender shall be sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • Section 155: Any person who attempts to commit any of the offences specified under section 154 commits an offence and shall on conviction be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty years.
  • Section 157: Any male person who, whether in public or private, commits any act of “gross indecency” with another male person or procures another male person to commit any act of gross indecency with him, or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any male person, with himself or with another male person, whether in public or private, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for five years.
  • Section 138A, introduced by the Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act, 1998: Any person who, in public or private commits, or is party to the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any person of, any act of gross indecency with another person, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year and not exceeding five years or to a fine not less than one hundred thousand shillings and not exceeding three hundred thousand shillings. ($130 USD)
  • Penal Decree (Amendment) Act (2004). Applies to Zanzibar only. Acts of Section 145: Any woman who commits an act of lesbianism with another woman whether taking an active or passive role shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a term not exceeding five years or to a fine not exceeding 500,000 shillings. ($216 USD)
  • Article 175 of the Penal Code of 1981 stipulates materials that are tending to “corrupt morals” may not be distributed, sold or exhibited.

STATISTICS:

  • Tanzanian residents believe that homosexuality is a way of life that society should not accept, which was the seventh-highest rate of non-acceptance in the 45 countries surveyed by Pew Global.
  • Harsh anti-homosexuality legislation together with State-representative’s hostile public statements, social media persecution, widespread arrests, forced anal examinations, raids and threats of deregistration against NGOs for “promotion” activities, bans on the import and sale of lubricants —a safer sex commodity listed by the government as “encouraging” same-sex sexual activity— suspension of HIV/AIDS programs for gay men, and shutdown of drop-in centres and private clinics that provide services to key population, have led LGBTI people to conceal their identities. As a result, fewer voices being able to openly speak up against such oppression. It has also limited their access to HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and treatment.”
  • “On October 29 of 2018, Regional Commissioner for Dar es Salaam Paul Makonda announced plans to form a task force to identify and arrest LGBTI people and asked members of the public to collaborate by reporting suspected gay people.”

EXTRAS:

sources: ILGA / Africlaw / The EastAfrican


// Read stories from Tanzania

Tunisia/

LAWS:

  • There is no legal protection or recognition of any kind for any LGBTIQ+ person.
  • Article 230 of the Penal Code of 1913 (largely modified in 1964) decrees imprisonment of up to three years for private acts of sodomy between consenting adults.
  • Article 226: Anyone found guilty of deliberately and publicly promoting indecency shall be subject to six months’ imprisonment and a fine of 48 dinars. ($16 USD)
  • Cross-dressing is not expressly illegal, although transgender people, along with gay people, are oftentimes accused of violating Article 226 of the national penal code which outlaws “outrages against public decency.
  • Marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman in Tunisia. Same-sex marriage, or the more limited civil unions, are not legally recognized in Tunisia.
  • Amended in 2004, Article 226bis of the Penal Code of 1913 criminalises any act that publicly draws attention to the opportunity to commit debauchery through any form of writing, audio or visual recording. This law is found in the same section titled “Section III: attacks on morals” where the law criminalising same-sex intimacy is located.”

STATISTICS:

  • Life for Tunisian LGBT people has not changed since the revolution of January 2011 and attacks against the LGBT community have been on the rise.
  • In a television interview in 2012, Minister of Human Rights and Transitional Justice, Samir Dilou, characterized homosexuality as a “perversion that requires medical treatment” and that expressing one’s sexual orientation is not a human right.
  • In 2017 the Tunisian Medical Council banned forced medical examinations for homosexual men after decades of abuse.
  • In 2018, “the Individual Freedoms and Equality Committee, a presidential commission comprised of legislators, professors and human rights advocates, suggested decriminalising same-sex acts, stating that ‘the state and society have nothing to do with the sexual life amongst adults […] sexual orientations and choices of individuals are essential to private life.’ However, LGBTI activists remarked the lack of real political will to repeal Article 230 of the Penal Code.”
  • “In May 2015, Shams became the first LGBT group to receive official authorisation from Tunisia’s interior ministry… In 2016, the Government had argued on the basis that Shams’ aim to “defend homosexuals” was contrary to Article 3 of the NGO Law (Law No. 88/2011). Since this argument was rejected by the judiciary, it should mean that LGBT- related objectives are not any more a legal ground for refusing registration to SOR CSOs.”
  • The Tunisian International Festival of Feminist Art LBT Chouf Minorities Association, which had its 4th edition in 2018, is committed to raising “awareness about the human rights of LGBTQI+ people and democracy.”
Sources: ILGA / HRW / Muftah / Chouftouhonna


// Read stories from Tunisia

Uganda/

LAWS:

  • Constitutional ban on same-sex marriages since 2005.
  • Penal code of 1950: VI Laws of Uganda, Cap.120 (rev.ed.2000)
  • Section 145 of the Penal Code: Any person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; […] or permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life.
  • Section 146: Any person who attempts to commit any of the offences specified in section 145 commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.
  • Section 148: Any person who, whether in public or in private, commits any act of gross indecency with another person or procures another person to commit any act of gross indecency with him or her or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any person with himself or herself or with another person, whether in public or in private, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.
  • Section 30(1)(a) of the Non-Governmental Organizations Act of 2016 states that an “organisation shall not be registered under this Act, where the objectives of the organisation as specified in its constitution are in contravention of the laws of Uganda”. (See below)

STATISTICS:

  • Activists estimated in 2007 that the Ugandan gay community consisted of 500,000 people.
  • Forced anal examinations to prove engagement in proscribed consensual same-sex acts have been documented.”
  • Plans by NGO Rainbow Riots to open Uganda’s first community centre for LGBT persons in 2019 met with public opposition from Ethics and Integrity Minister, Simon Lokodo.”
  • “At the Inter Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva in 2018, Buhweju County MP Francis Mwijukye, said: “We shall continue to fight the LGBT issues on the international level until people here appreciate that same-sex is inhuman and anti-culture”.
  • Sexual Minorities Uganda’s (SMUG) application for registration was rejected on the ground that its name and objectives were unacceptable because same-sex sexual relations were criminalised in the country. They sued the Uganda Registration Services Bureau in 2016 and the judgment is pending.”

EXTRAS:

sources: BBC / Constitution of the Republic of Uganda / ILGA / The Guardian / The Observer

 


// Read stories from Uganda

United Kingdom/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex male sexual activity has been legal in England and Wales since 1967 / Scotland since 1981 / Northern Ireland since 1982.
  • Same-sex female sexual activity has always been legal.
  • Same-sex marriage has been legal in England, Wales and Scotland since 2014.
  • Recognition of same-sex civil partnerships since 2005.
  • Bans all anti-gay discrimination (employment, hate crimes, incitement, etc.).
  • Section 74 and Schedule 16 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act of 2008 prohibits the incitement to hatred on the ground of sexual orientation.
  • In 2004, Section 8 of the Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987 was amended to comprehensively deal with incitement to hatred based on sexual orientation (Sections 9-13).
  • In England and Wales, Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act of 2003 empowers courts to impose enhanced sentences for offences motivated or aggravated by the victim’s sexual orientation.
  • Section 2 of the Scottish Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009 (in force 2010) incorporates sexual orientation to the reasons that aggravates penalties.
  • Joint and second parent adoption are legal.
  • Sections 144 and 150 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 that entered into force in England and Wales in 2005, establish that second parent adoption applies to same-sex couples. Section 2 of the Adoption Agencies (Scotland) Regulations 2009 in Scotland defines civil partners as subject to the law, and in 2013 in Northern Ireland, the Court of Appeal mandated that civil partners enjoy second parent adoption.
  • Several British Overseas Territories also recognize second-parent adoption: Pitcairn Islands (2015), Gibraltar (2016), The Isle of Man (2011), Jersey (2012), Guernsey (2017).
  • Section 1(1) of the Marriage (Same-sex Couples) Act 2013 (in force 2014) simply states that “marriage of same-sex couples is lawful”. This Act is only applicable in England and Wales, where it repealed the Civil Partnership Act 2004. The Scottish Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act of 2014 defines ‘spouse’ as being both different as well as same-sex. Northern Ireland does not legally recognise same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is also available in several British Overseas Territories.
  • Pitcairn Islands (2015), Ascension Island (2016), Isle of Man (2016), British Antarctic Territory (2016), Gibraltar (2016), Guernsey (2017), Falkland/Malvinas Islands (2017), Tristan da Cunha (2017), Saint Helena (2017), Jersey (2018) and Alderney (2018). In Bermuda, same-sex marriage was legalized by the Bermuda Supreme Court in May 2017 but the legislature passed the Domestic Partnership Act in December 2017 to limit marriage to between a man and a woman. However, the Supreme Court struck down the prohibition in June 2018 and dismissed the government’s appeal in November 2018. In December 2018, the government mounted a last-ditch legal attempt to appeal to the Privy Council. Note: ILGA is aware of the sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas. Under Argentine law, same-sex marriage is legal since 2010. The British administration of the Islands, with effective control over that territory, legalised same-sex marriage in 2017.”

STATISTICS:

  • Today, LGBT citizens have most of the same legal rights as non-LGBT citizens and the UK provides one of the highest degrees of liberty in the world for its LGBT communities. In ILGA-Europe’s 2014 review of LGBTI rights, the UK received the highest score in Europe, with 82% progress toward “respect of human rights and full equality”
  • While the Counsellors and Psychotherapists (Regulation) and Conversion Therapy Bill 2017-19 is still making its way through the UK Parliament, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by both NHS England and NHS Scotland to commit to ending the practice of conversion therapy.”
  • In 1861, the death penalty for “buggery” was abolished across the United Kingdom, but the offence was codified in Section 61 of the Offences Against the Person Act (1861) as life sentence, and the lesser misdemeanour of gross indecency was codified in Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, with a penalty of up to two years imprisonment, hard labour possible. These were the model laws that spread throughout the Commonwealth. England and Wales removed the provisions in 1967, Scotland in 1981, and Northern Ireland in 1982 (following the Dudgeon case at the European Court of Human Rights). Various entities attached to the UK similarly repealed: Akrotiri & Dhekelia (2000), Anguilla (2001), Bailiwick of Guernsey (1983), Bermuda (1994), British Virgin Islands (2001), Cayman Islands (2001), Falkland Islands (1989), Gibraltar (1993), Isle of Man (1992), Jersey (1990), Montserrat (2001), Pitcairn, South Georgia, St Helena, Turks & Caicos Islands, and all other territories (2001).”
  • A 2017 Hate Crime and Discrimination Report done by Stonewall with YouGov indicates that in Britain, “One in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months. Two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months. Four in five anti-LGBT hate crimes and incidents go unreported, with younger LGBT people particularly reluctant to go to the police.”
sources: ILGA  / UK Government / RTE / UK Council For Psychotherapy / Stonewall


// Read stories from United Kingdom

United States/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex sexual activity has been legal nationwide since 2003.
  • Same sex marriage became legal throughout the country on June 26th 2015.
  • Single bisexual, gay, and lesbian persons may adopt but laws on couples adopting vary by state.
  • Twenty-two states plus Washington, D.C and Puerto Rico outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, and nineteen states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico outlaw discrimination based on gender identity or expression.
  • “As a result of the Supreme Court decision in in Obergefell v. Hodges, joint adoption by same-sex married couples is now available in all 50 states. However, there are several states that have laws permitting state-licensed child welfare agencies to discriminate against LGBT people, including married couples. Mississippi was the last state in the USA to remove blocks to joint adoption.”
  • Even though there is no federal law providing for civil unions, they are locally recognised in several states.”
  • In 2015, “the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry in Obergefell v. Hodges, making same-sex marriage available in all 50 states. Prior to this decision, only 13 of the 50 states still outlawed same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is also legal in US territories: Guam (2015), Puerto Rico (2015), Northern Mariana Islands (2015), US Virgin Islands (2015), except for American Samoa.”
  • In March 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit became the first federal appeals court to determine that the Civil Rights Act 1964 protects workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. In February 2018, the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit followed suit.”
  • “‘Sodomy’ was criminalized throughout the USA until 1962, when Illinois became the first state to decriminalise consensual same-sex sexual acts between adults. In 2003 all remaining sodomy statutes —still in force in 14 States— were invalidated by the Supreme Court verdict in Lawrence v. Texas (2003).”

STATISTICS:

  • Recent analyses suggest that there are more than 8 million adults in the US who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual, comprising 3.5% of the adult population.
  • President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is a United States governmental initiative to address the global HIV epidemic.
  • There is no federal law banning conversion therapy at the federal level. However, by April 2019, a total of 16 states and the District of Columbia had local laws proscribing these practises: California (2012); Connecticut (2017); Delaware (2018); District of Columbia (2014); Hawaii (2018); Illinois (2015); Maryland (2018); Massachusetts (2019) Nevada (2017); New Hampshire (2018); New Jersey (2013); New Mexico (2017); New York (2019); Oregon (2015); Puerto Rico (2019) Rhode Island (2017); Vermont (2016); Washington (2018).
  • A number of counties and cities have also enacted local bans on conversion therapy. According to Movement Advancement Project (MAP), these are the counties and cities with local bans in force. (1) Counties: Albany County, NY (2018); Broward County, FL (2018); Erie County, NY (2018); Palm Beach County, FL (2017); Pima County, AZ (2017); Ulster County, NY (2017); Westchester County, NY (2018). (2) Cities: Albany, NY (2018); Allentown, PA (2017); Athens, OH (2017); Bay Harbor Islands, FL (2016); Bellefonte, PA (2018); Bethlehem, PA (2018); Boca Raton, FL (2017); Boynton Beach, FL (2017); Cincinnati, OH (2015); Columbus, OH (2017); Dayton, OH (2017); Delray Beach, FL (2017); Doylestown, PA (2017); Eau Claire, WI (2018); El Portal, FL (2017); Gainesville, FL (2018); Greenacres, FL (2017); Key West, FL (2017); Lake Worth, FL (2017); Lakewood, OH (2018); Madison, WI (2018); Miami, FL (2016); Miami Beach, FL (2016); Milwaukee, WI (2018); New York City, NY (2017); North Bay Village, FL (2016); Oakland Park, FL (2017); Philadelphia, PA (2017); Pittsburgh, PA (2016); Reading, PA (2017); Riviera Beach, FL (2017); Rochester, NY (2018); Seattle, WA (2016); State College, PA (2018); Tampa, FL (2017); Toledo, OH (2017); Wellington Village, FL (2017); West Palm Beach, FL (2016); Wilton Manors, FL (2016); Yardley, PA (2018).
  • Around 40% of the population lives in jurisdictions where these “therapies” are banned. Several states are currently in the process of advancing bills to ban conversion therapy; Colorado and Maine.
  • “A recent study by the Williams Institute has shown that approximately 698,000 LGBT adults in the U.S have received “conversion therapy” at some point in their lives and estimates that 20,000 LGBT youth aged 13 to 17 will be subjected to such harmful treatments from a licensed healthcare professional before the age of 18.”
  • Section 249(a)(2) of the United States Code provides for enhanced penalties for crimes motivated by perceived or actual sexual orientation (also known as the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act).”
  • President Trump announced via Twitter in 2017 that “ the United States Government will not accept or allow” transgender individuals “to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” Into effect on April 12, 2019, “Under the new rules, troops and recruits can identify as transgender, but must use the uniforms, pronouns, and sleeping and bathroom facilities for their biological sex. They will not be allowed to serve if they have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, a disorder in which a person’s gender identity does not match their physical gender at birth…The policy exempts transgender troops who have already transitioned or have begun the medical process. Anyone who defies the regulations in the future would be forced out of uniform.”
  • In the United States of America, seven states (that make up around 17.4% of the total population) have enacted local laws—informally referred to as ‘No Promo Homo Laws’- which prohibit educators from discussing same-sex intimacy in an affirming or positive manner. For example, in Alabama and Texas, educators must emphasise that “homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public.”
  • In Arizona, educators cannot promote or portray homosexuality as a “positive alternative lifestyle”. In South Carolina, educators cannot discuss non-heterosexual relationships except in the context of sexually transmitted diseases. The other states with such laws are Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi.”
  • In March 2017, the governor of Utah signed SB 196, revising the state law that prohibited the “advocacy of homosexuality” in schools. Because less than half of the country’s population is affected by these laws, the US is not included in the list.”
  • US midterm elections in November 2018 delivered wins to more than 150 LGBTI candidates at federal, state and local levels.”
sources: Freedom to Marry / ILGA / Movement Advancement Project / Williams Institute / NCLR / NY Times / Justia / GLSEN


// Read stories from United States

Venezuela/

LAWS:

  • Same-sex sexual activity is legal.
  • Same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.
  • No recognition of same-sex unions or same-sex marriages.
  • No adoptions allowed by same-sex couples.
  • Some anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation in place.
  • Article 21 of the Organic Labour Act of 2012: prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation (among other grounds).
  • Since 1836, when Venezuela produced its first Penal Code, consensual same-sex sexual activity has not been criminalised. As reported by the IACHR, in 1997, the Supreme Court of Venezuela declared the unconstitutionality of the Law on Vagrants and Crooks, which had been used to prosecute LGBT persons.”

STATISTICS:

  • In 2016, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) of Venezuela ordered a child be registered with the last names of his two mothers.”
sources: ILGA / IACHR

 


// Read stories from Venezuela