Discrimination against the LGBT community is rife across the world. Those who identify with these sexual orientations are subjected to social stigmatization, legal restriction, and violence. And although adult consensual sexual activity is considered a basic human right across the world, homosexuality is outlawed in about 80 countries. In some of these countries, draconian anti-LGBT laws have been passed including life sentences and even the death sentence. Even in countries such as the United States where there is no legal barrier to homosexuality, hate crimes against the LGBT community is very high in some areas. Here are ten countries where LGBT rights are most threatened.
The LGBT community living in Afghanistan face both social and legal challenges. Being a Muslim country, homosexuality is widely considered a taboo and often linked with prostitution. There is a limited awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity in the country. The Sharia Laws and Family Laws do not recognize same-sex marriage or domestic partnership. Homosexuality is considered a violation of Sharia Laws and is punishable by long imprisonment. People convicted of homosexuality are often sentenced to prison. Political parties have also been discouraged from advocating for LGBT rights as it is considered against the Islamic morality. LGBT people are also not allowed to serve in the military.
Same-sex sexual activities are illegal in Sudan and are punishable by imprisonment or death. Societal discrimination against LGBT people is widespread in the country. Few people dare talk about sexual orientation or gender identity publicly for fear of attacks and threats to their lives. Criminalization and discrimination have made the LGBT community invisible. There is no legislation protecting the LGBT from abuse and harassment on the basis of their sexual orientation. Homosexuality is punishable by 100 lashes and five years imprisonment while third offenders are liable to life imprisonment or death. Those whose clothes violate “public decency” are punished with 40 lashes and a fine.
Although the constitution of Yemen does not explicitly address the rights of the LGBT people, it guarantees basic human rights to its citizens as long as the rights are compatible with the Sharia Laws. Homosexuality is punishable by law in Yemen. The unmarried men who engage in this activity are liable to one year in prison and 100 lashes while the married men who engage in homosexuality are put to death by stoning. Women are exempted from death sentence but can serve up to 7 years in prison. The government of Yemen has also blocked all the web pages supporting LGBT rights.
LGBT community and activities in Iran have been described as barbaric not acceptable in the country. The LGBT people face societal discrimination and threats to their lives. According to the Amnesty International, over 5,000 Iranian lesbians and gays have been killed since 1979. Although the killing is less common now, it still occurs. In 2016, a 19-year old man was killed for being gay. While sexual activities between people of the same gender are illegal in the country, a person is allowed to change their assigned gender. Thus, homosexuals are encouraged to sex reassignment surgery to avoid legal and social persecution.
6. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has one of the worst LGBT rights violation records in the world. LGBT is illegal in the country and the government does not recognize the rainbow community. The country’s laws are influenced by the tribal customs of the Arabs. Transgenderism and homosexuality are considered immoral and indecent activities which are punishable by fines, torture, prison, or death. LGBT people are considered immoral and perverts who want to dilute the good Islam morals.
LGBT is considered a crime in Somaliland, an African region that declared independence from Somalia in 1991, and carries a capital punishment or even death. The country is dominated by Muslims who uphold the Sharia Laws. The Sharia Laws prohibit sexual activities between people of same sex. It does not recognize same-sex unions or domestic partnership and those who are found to be gay or homosexual are liable to life imprisonment. Some have been threatened or attacked, forcing them to seek asylum elsewhere. Gays and lesbians fear coming out for fear of being shamed by the community. The LGBT people are also not allowed to serve openly in the military.
Nigeria is one of the worst countries in Africa to belong to the LGBT community. The tough laws and discrimination against homosexuality make LGBT almost invisible. Homosexual acts attract up to 14 years imprisonment. Any Nigerian who belong to LGBT organization can be liable to a 10-year jail term. The influence of Islam in the country means it is not safe for anyone to publicly identify as LGBT as it is considered to be against Sharia Laws. According to a survey conducted by Pew Global Attitude Project in 2017, 97% of Nigerians are of the opinion that homosexuality should not be entertained in the country.
The government of Russia is openly anti-LGBT and is currently crafting a homophobic law that will discourage public display non-heterosexual activities. The law proposes jail terms to those who publicly display their homosexual tendencies and gender identity. In Chechnya, homosexuals are abducted then sent to concentration camps based on their sexual orientation. The LGBT community have also been denied the right to hold a pride march and most of the well-publicized events have been interrupted by gangs. The government has also not taken any action against any group like Occupy Pedophile that openly torture gay men and post the videos online.
2. United Arab Emirates
The LGBT rights are heavily suppressed in the United Arabs Emirates. All non-heterosexual activities are considered a crime, punishable by flogging, imprisonment, beating, deportation for non-citizens, torture, and death. A person convicted of homosexual activities may also be charged for committing adultery if they have a spouse of the opposite sex but are having sexual relations with someone of the same sex. In 2005, 26 young men were sentenced to five years in prison in Abu Dhabi for engaging in homosexual activities.
The LGBT community in Mauritania faces both legal and social challenges. All same-sex activities are illegal and punishable by stoning to death if committed by men and imprisonment if committed by women. Mauritania’s laws are based on Sharia Laws which prohibit any form of “unnatural act” between people of the same sex. There are no laws guarding against discrimination of the LGBT persons, causing the majority to live in silence. Mauritians are not allowed to change gender nor serve in the military if one is openly homosexual.