Homosexual activity

Homosexuality is illegal in 64 countries and punishable by death in 7.

Loading map of LGBT rights...
  • Legal
  • Illegal (other penalty)
  • Male illegal, female legal
  • Male illegal, female uncertain
  • Illegal (death penalty as punishment)
  • Illegal (up to life in prison as punishment)
  • Illegal (imprisonment as punishment)
  • Unknown, N/A, or ambiguous

Recent Changes

  • Dec 12 2022Became Legal in Barbados
  • Nov 29 2022Became Legal in Singapore
  • Aug 29 2022Became Legal in Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Jul 5 2022Became Legal in Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aug 15 2021Became Illegal (death penalty as punishment) in Kābul
  • May 3 2021Became Illegal (up to life in prison as punishment) in Uganda
  • Feb 17 2021Became Legal in Bhutan
  • Jul 1 2020Became Illegal (up to life in prison as punishment) in Sudan

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

160
Legal
160 regions (69%)
Legal
64
Illegal
64 regions (28%)
Illegal
8
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
8 regions (3%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
Europe
98%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Legal
51 regions (98%)
Illegal
regions (0%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
1 regions (2%)
Oceania
67%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Legal
16 regions (67%)
Illegal
8 regions (33%)
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
86%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Legal
31 regions (86%)
Illegal
5 regions (14%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
regions (0%)
Africa
41%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Legal
24 regions (41%)
Illegal
32 regions (54%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
3 regions (5%)
Asia
52%
LEGAL EQUALITY
Legal
24 regions (52%)
Illegal
18 regions (39%)
No data, no laws, N/A, or ambiguous
4 regions (9%)

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 160 regions.

  1. South America (13)
  2. Argentina 1987
  3. Bolivia 1832
  4. Brazil 1830
  5. Chile 1998
  6. Colombia 2000
  7. Ecuador 1997
  8. Falkland Islands 1989
  9. French Guiana 1791
  10. Paraguay 1997
  11. Peru 1991
  12. Suriname 1910
  13. Uruguay 1933
  14. Venezuela 1997
  15. Antarctica (1)
  16. Antarctica

Illegal (other penalty)

Homosexual activity is illegal (other penalty) in 3 regions.

  1. Asia (2)
  2. Qatar
  3. Syria 1949
  4. Africa (1)
  5. Nigeria 1916

Male illegal, female legal

Homosexual activity is male illegal, female legal in 19 regions.

  1. Asia (3)
  2. Kuwait 1960
  3. Turkmenistan 1998
  4. Uzbekistan 1994
  5. North America (3)
  6. Grenada 1987
  7. Jamaica 1864
  8. Saint Lucia 2005
  9. Africa (6)
  10. Eswatini 2004
  11. Ghana 1960
  12. Mauritius 1838
  13. Namibia
  14. Sierra Leone 1861
  15. Zimbabwe 2006

Male illegal, female uncertain

Homosexual activity is male illegal, female uncertain in 3 regions.

  1. Asia (1)
  2. Myanmar 2016
  3. Africa (1)
  4. Kenya 1930
  5. South America (1)
  6. Guyana 2016

Illegal (death penalty as punishment)

Homosexual activity is illegal (death penalty as punishment) in 7 regions.

  1. Asia (5)
  2. Afghanistan 1976
  3. Brunei 2019
  4. Iran 1979
  5. Saudi Arabia
  6. Yemen 2014
  7. Africa (2)
  8. Mauritania 1983
  9. Somalia 1991

Illegal (up to life in prison as punishment)

Homosexual activity is illegal (up to life in prison as punishment) in 6 regions.

  1. Asia (1)
  2. Bangladesh 1860
  3. Africa (5)
  4. Gambia 2014
  5. Sudan 2020
  6. Tanzania 1998
  7. Uganda 2021
  8. Zambia 1931

Illegal (imprisonment as punishment)

Homosexual activity is illegal (imprisonment as punishment) in 26 regions.

  1. North America (2)
  2. Dominica 1998
  3. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1990
  4. Africa (17)
  5. Algeria 1966
  6. Burundi 2009
  7. Cameroon 1967
  8. Chad 2017
  9. Comoros 1982
  10. Eritrea 1957
  11. Ethiopia
  12. Guinea 2016
  13. Liberia 1976
  14. Libya 1953
  15. Malawi 1930
  16. Morocco 1962
  17. Senegal 1966
  18. South Sudan 2011
  19. Togo 1980
  20. Tunisia 1913
  21. Western Sahara 1975
  22. Oceania (1)
  23. Solomon Islands 1978

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

Data on homosexual activity is unclear, not applicable, or missing in 8 regions.

  1. Europe (1)
  2. Russia

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