1997 in LGBT Rights

In 1997, there were 20 recorded legal changes made affecting LGBT people. In the previous year, there were 33 changes made and 46 in the following year. A total of 275 legal changes were made in the 1990s.

  • November 27
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Article 516 of the code which criminalizes homosexual activity (from 4-8 years imprisonment) was repealed in 1997.
  • Equal age of consent becomes equal.
    The age of consent in Ecuador is 14, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. (Penal Code, Art 512)
  • November 26
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    The penal code of 1997 is amended from the past penal code in which homosexuality if also legal.
  • November 15
    Right to change legal gender becomes legal, but requires surgery.
    Transgender people are able to change their gender on identification documents after being issued a document from a health institution confirming the surgical requirements.
  • October 1
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
  • July 16
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
  • Equal age of consent becomes equal.
    The law sets the age of consent as 16 for all sexual activities ("sodomy and "lesbianism" included explicitly.)
  • June 17
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
  • June 5
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Even though homosexuality was not directly illegal, a law regarding Vagrants and Thugs could have indirectly punished LGBT community. This act was repealed in 1997.
  • May 1
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Follows from Australian law due to being a territory of Australia without any population
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Tasmania decriminalizes homosexual activity, making homosexual activity legal in all Australian states.
  • April 17
    Same-sex marriage becomes not legal.
    The family code was amended to prohibit same sex marriage.
  • April 1
    LGBT discrimination becomes illegal in some contexts.
    The only part of legal system that protects individuals from LGBT-based discrimination is in the law of children and youth, protecting them from sexual orientation based discrimination (gender identity is not mentioned explicitly)
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation only.
  • March 31
    Blood donations by MSMs becomes banned (indefinite deferral).
  • February 4
    LGBT housing discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    Discrimination (including by private parties) prohibited by sec. 9 of the Constitution of 1996. Discrimination in rental housing specifically prohibited by sec. 4 of the Rental Housing Act 50 of 1999. Discrimination in all areas (including housing) prohibited by sec. 6 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000. Gender identity is not specifically mentioned but is included by case law.
  • (date unknown)
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997 and was declassified as a mental disorders in 2001. According to a 2010 report by IGLHRC, "the Chinese government has remained largely silent on the issue of homosexuality."
  • LGBT discrimination becomes illegal.
    Second country to ban LGBT discrimination in its constitution. The Constitution was abolished following a coup.
  • January 1
    Equal age of consent becomes equal.
    The age of consent in Russia is 16 for both same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples.
  • (date unknown)
    Equal age of consent becomes equal.

LGBT Organizations Founded in 1997

  • Equality Federation FaviconEquality Federation
    Equality Federation is the movement builder and strategic partner to US state-based organizations advancing equality for LGBT people in the communities we call home.
  • Ishtar MSM FaviconIshtar MSM
    Ishtar MSM is a Community Based Organization in Kenya who aimed at attaining full sexual health rights and social well being for Men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kenya.
  • Equality Florida FaviconEquality Florida
    Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida‚Äôs LGBT community. Through lobbying, grassroots organizing…