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The following countries have criminal laws against sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex. Bold Links and Bold Italic Links denote countries that have life imprisonment or the death penalty for homosexual acts.

This list covers just criminalisation of sexual activity; many nations prohibit or criminalise conduct such as wearing garments of the opposite gender (the distinction between transgender and homosexual is lost on a few less-accepting jurisdictions), serving alcohol to gays (as a tactic to shut down LGBT bars) or speaking out on gay and lesbian issues. Gay saunas in some locations are raided under laws intended to shut down houses of prostitution.


Homosexuality illegal: AlgeriaBeninBurundiCameroonChadEgyptEritreaEthiopiaGambiaGhanaGuineaLiberiaLibyaMalawiMauritaniaMauritiusMoroccoNigeriaSenegalSomaliaSudanSouth SudanTogoTunisia.

Male only: KenyaSierra LeoneEswatini (Swaziland), Tanzania (except Zanzibar, where lesbianism is also punishable), UgandaZambiaZimbabwe.

Nigeria and Uganda have enacted laws that make it a criminal offence for one to know that someone is homosexual and not report it to the police.


Homosexuality illegal: AfghanistanBangladeshBhutanBrunei (death by stoning), Malaysia (punishable from 2 to 20 years imprisonment or caning), Sri Lanka.

Homosexuality illegal, but law is generally not enforced: Pakistan (fine or 2 to less than 10 years of imprisonment for sexual orientation; rarely officially enforced but vigilante action may cause death in some parts), Myanmar (punishable from 2 years to life imprisonment, incredibly rarely enforced, however.)

Male only: MaldivesTurkmenistanUzbekistan.

Homosexuality illegal (for Muslims only) in one province of IndonesiaAceh.

In Marawi CityPhilippines there's a local ordinance forbidding cross-dressing and overtly feminine behaviour among men (bayut) enforced by the local religious police (but not the Philippine National Police) and the Philippines generally has a long history of tolerance and sympathy for queer folk.

Central and South America

Homosexuality illegal: Antigua and BarbudaBarbadosSaint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Male homosexuality ("buggery") illegal: GuyanaJamaicaGrenadaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint Lucia.

Anal sex illegal, regardless of gender: Dominica

Middle East

Homosexuality illegal: IranIraq (executions ordered by non-state sharia courts and militias, together with defenestration, decapitation and burning alive in Daesh-administered areas), KuwaitQatarSaudi Arabia (can also be punishable with prison, fines or whipping), SyriaUnited Arab EmiratesYemen.

Male only: Gaza Strip.

In Oman homosexuality is illegal, but is practiced and talked about with discretion. The larger cities will be more liberal on this issue than the rural regions, but for the LGBT traveler, play it safe and treat homosexuality the same as you would with Saudi Arabia or other Middle Eastern nations.


Homosexuality illegal: SamoaSolomon Islands

Male only: Cook IslandsKiribatiPapua New GuineaTongaTuvalu


The following destinations pose some problems to LGBT travellers (see also the "Stay safe" section of region and cities articles):

  • Cayman Islands – in 2008, two men kissing caused one to be "arrested" by an off-duty police officer for "a public offence." The one man taken from the Royal Palms, Grand Cayman was in fact detained and not arrested. It turns out there is no law against homosexuality in CI – a British Overseas Territory – but homophobia there is endemic.
  • Homophobia and discrimination are growing in much of the former Soviet Union, sometimes with tacit government support:
    • While homosexuality is not illegal in Russia, various forms of advocacy were banned in 2013, including gay and lesbian pride events. Discrimination is widespread and protests have been met with violence; the 2014 occupation of Crimea has extended these problems to that region. Arrests and a few deaths have been reported in the Muslim-majority region of Chechnya.
    • While homosexuality is legal in Azerbaijan, discrimination against gays and lesbians is widespread.
    • While homosexuality is legal in Belarus, gays and lesbians may be subjected to harsh discrimination from the locals and from the authorities.
    • Kyrgyzstan police subject gay and bisexual men to “physical, sexual, and psychological violence; arbitrary detention; and extortion under the threat of violence,” according to a January 2014 Human Rights Watch allegation, and that country's legislature is attempting to ban les/bi/gay advocacy and target foreign-backed NGOs in the same manner as Russia.
  • While a court decision in Trinidad and Tobago decriminalised homosexual activity in 2018, this case is being appealed and gays may remain targets for violence or discrimination.
  • There have been reports of mass arrests in Indonesia in 2017. While homosexuality is only illegal in part of the country (Aceh), police have been using other laws (such as laws targeting pornography) to attack gay saunas with the tacit support of local political leaders.


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