Homosexual activity

Homosexuality is illegal in 69 countries and punishable by death in 6.

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Homosexual activity

Homosexual activity refers to consensual sexual activity between individuals of the same sex. While homosexual activity is legal in most countries around the world, there are several countries — mostly in Africa and the Middle East — where it is criminalized to a varying degree. Penalties can range from imprisonment all the way up to death penalty.

Homosexuality is commonly criminalized through sodomy laws (sometimes called a "buggery law" in British territories), which are laws that define sexual acts of crimes. Sodomy laws can sometimes prevent sexual activity between two individuals of the same sex. While some of these laws are not specific to homosexual sex (such as when referring to anal sex), they are usually used to target or criminalize gay people. In practice, these laws are difficult to actually enforce.

In some countries, the language of the criminal codes specifically refers to two men, meaning that lesbian sex is technically legal.

Some sodomy laws and penal codes date back to the 1700s and 1800s. Throughout the 1900s, many countries, US states, and other regions began decriminalizing homosexuality and removing references to homosexuality or sodomy from their criminal codes. This has continued over the past few decades.

Summary

154
Legal
154 regions (67%)
Legal
69
Illegal
69 regions (30%)
Illegal
7
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
7 regions (3%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
Europe
100%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Legal
50 regions (100%)
Illegal
regions (0%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
regions (0%)
Oceania
71%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Legal
17 regions (71%)
Illegal
7 regions (29%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
regions (0%)
South America
93%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Legal
13 regions (93%)
Illegal
1 regions (7%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
regions (0%)
North America
78%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Legal
28 regions (78%)
Illegal
8 regions (22%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
regions (0%)
Africa
41%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Legal
24 regions (41%)
Illegal
34 regions (58%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
1 regions (2%)
Asia
48%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Legal
22 regions (48%)
Illegal
19 regions (41%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
5 regions (11%)

Progress over time

Number of countries with equality for homosexual activity over the past 60 years.

Recent changes

Homosexual activity by country

(and dependent territories)

Legal

Homosexual activity is legal in 154 regions.

  1. Asia (22)
  2. Bahrain 1976
  3. Bhutan 2021
  4. Cambodia
  5. China 1997
  6. East Timor 1975
  7. Hong Kong 1991
  8. India 2018
  9. Israel 1988
  10. Japan 1881
  11. Jordan
  12. Kazakhstan 1997
  13. Kyrgyzstan 1997
  14. Laos 1990
  15. Macau 1995
  16. Mongolia 2002
  17. Nepal 2007
  18. Philippines 1900
  19. South Korea 2003
  20. Taiwan 1947
  21. Tajikistan 1998
  22. Thailand 1956
  23. Vietnam 1992
  24. South America (13)
  25. Argentina 1887
  26. Bolivia 2009
  27. Brazil 1988
  28. Chile 1998
  29. Colombia 2000
  30. Ecuador 1997
  31. Falkland Islands 1989
  32. French Guiana 1791
  33. Paraguay 1997
  34. Peru 1991
  35. Suriname 1910
  36. Uruguay 1933
  37. Venezuela 1997

Male illegal, female legal

Homosexual activity is male illegal, female legal in 13 regions.

  1. North America (3)
  2. Grenada 1987
  3. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  4. Saint Lucia 2005
  5. Africa (3)
  6. Namibia
  7. Sierra Leone 1861
  8. Zimbabwe 2006

Male illegal, female uncertain

Homosexual activity is male illegal, female uncertain in 5 regions.

  1. Africa (2)
  2. Nigeria 1916
  3. Swaziland 2004
  4. Oceania (1)
  5. Tonga 1988

Illegal (other penalty)

Homosexual activity is illegal (other penalty) in 1 regions.

  1. Asia (1)
  2. Qatar 1915

Illegal (imprisonment as punishment)

Homosexual activity is illegal (imprisonment as punishment) in 39 regions.

  1. Asia (9)
  2. Bangladesh 1860
  3. Kuwait 1960
  4. Malaysia 1826
  5. Myanmar 1886
  6. Oman 1974
  7. Pakistan 1860
  8. Sri Lanka 1885
  9. Syria 1949
  10. Yemen 1994
  11. North America (3)
  12. Dominica 1998
  13. Jamaica 1864
  14. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1990
  15. Oceania (1)
  16. Solomon Islands 1978

Illegal (up to life in prison as punishment)

Homosexual activity is illegal (up to life in prison as punishment) in 5 regions.

  1. North America (2)
  2. Antigua and Barbuda 1995
  3. Barbados
  4. Africa (2)
  5. Sudan 1991
  6. Uganda 2021
  7. South America (1)
  8. Guyana

Illegal (death penalty as punishment)

Homosexual activity is illegal (death penalty as punishment) in 6 regions.

  1. Asia (5)
  2. Afghanistan 1976
  3. Brunei 2019
  4. Iran 1900
  5. Maldives
  6. Saudi Arabia 1932
  7. Africa (1)
  8. Mauritania 1983

No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous

Data on homosexual activity is unclear, not applicable, or missing in 7 regions.

  1. Antarctica (1)
  2. Antarctica

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