Homosexuality Still Illegal in 77 Countries

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Protestor at Uganda's diplomatic mission in London (photo: Sipa via AP)

Being gay or lesbian is a dangerous reality in many parts of the world, and on some continents, it’s difficult to find a country that doesn’t make one’s sexual orientation a criminal offense.


To date, at least 77 nations have anti-gay laws.


Nearly half of these countries, 38, can be found among Africa’s 54 states.


The most recent African country to target homosexuals is Uganda. President Yoweri Museveni announced last week that he would sign legislation making anyone convicted of a first-time homosexual act subject to 14 years in prison.


Repeat offenders could be sentenced to life behind bars under the new law.


Another African nation, Nigeria, recently outlawed same-sex marriages, gay organizations and displays of same-sex public affection.


In some parts of the country, as well in portions of Somalia, homosexuality is punishable by execution.


The death penalty is also imposed against gays and lesbians in Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.


Russia has perhaps received the most recent media attention for adopting anti-gay legislation while preparing to host the Winter Olympics. The Russian Empire first criminalized homosexuality in 1832.


India also garnered headlines for reinstating a 150-year-old law adopted during British rule that outlawed gay sex.


As far back as 1789, homosexuality was illegal in 126 countries.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Where is It Illegal to be Gay? (BBC News)

Obama Criticizes Uganda’s Anti-homosexuality Measure (by Zachary Goldfarb, Washington Post)


Leave a comment