1940s in LGBT Rights

Number of LGBT-related laws changed over time
  • October 1
    Equal age of consent becomes equal.
    The age of consent in China is 14 for both same-sex and opposite sex couples.
  • Serving openly in military becomes ambiguous.
    For homosexuals the policy is don't ask don't tell banned for transgenders
  • August 15
    LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    Nationwide.
  • LGBT discrimination becomes illegal.
    Nationwide.
  • LGBT housing discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    Nationwide.
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    Nationwide.
  • LGBT discrimination becomes illegal in some contexts.
    Only for gender identity and expression.
  • LGBT housing discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    Nationwide.
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    nationwide.
  • LGBT discrimination becomes illegal.
    Nationwide.
  • LGBT housing discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    Nationwide.
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    Nationwide.
  • LGBT discrimination becomes illegal.
    Nationwide.
  • LGBT discrimination becomes illegal in some contexts.
    Only for gender identity and expression.
  • LGBT housing discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    Nationwide.
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    In all areas.
  • LGBT discrimination becomes illegal.
    Nationwide.
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes ambiguous.
    Only for gender identity and expression.
  • LGBT housing discrimination becomes ambiguous.
    only for gender identity and expression.
  • LGBT discrimination becomes illegal in some contexts.
    Only gender identity and expression.
  • LGBT discrimination becomes no protections.
    No known anti-discrimination protections exist for sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • June 22
    Same-sex marriage becomes unrecognized.
    In Kurdistan, Syria, foreign same sex marriage recognized under EU law.
  • (date unknown)
    Censorship of LGBT Issues becomes state-enforced.
    Article 208 of the Penal Code (1949) prohibits "offensive public utterances" in writing, graphics, images, and other forms of expression. Before the civil war, it was reported that films with LGBT content were censored. In June 2022, it was reported that Syria's Directorate of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection confiscated around 600 rainbow kites as their designs were similar to the pride flag and therefore "indicating homosexuality". Various articles of Law No. 93 (1958) allow the Ministry to appoint or remove board members, disallow political participation, foreign funding, and allow the registration to be rescinded at will. Further, Article 35 allows any Board decision to be suspended “if it deems it to be against the law, the public order or morals”. This legal framework appears to pose severe barriers to the formal registration and the operation of an organisation working on sexual and gender diversity issues.
  • Same-sex marriage becomes banned.
    Same-sex marriage or civil unions are not legal
  • Homosexual activity becomes illegal (imprisonment as punishment).
    Article 520 of the Penal Code (1949) criminalizes “unnatural sexual intercourse.” Potential imprisonment of up to 3 years. Not enforced by regime. In 2003 Syria, at the UN Commission on Human Rights, voted to postpone a draft UN resolution on human rights and sexual orientation. The vote was 24 to 17. The draft resolution was to bring the Commission to express its deep concern at the occurrence of human rights violations worldwide against people on the basis of their sexual orientation; Stress that human rights and fundamental freedoms are the birthright of all human beings and that the universal character of these rights and freedoms is indisputable; and call on all States to promote and protect the fundamental rights of all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation.
  • September 14
    Serving openly in military becomes don't ask, don't tell.
    Some secondary sources claim it is a "Don't Ask Don't Tell" situation. But, based on a North Korean propaganda film from the year 2000, male homosexuality may be against the law in the military, including for prisoners of war. Information is extremely limited, because North Korea heavily censors LGBT content.
  • Censorship of LGBT Issues becomes state-enforced.
    Censorship topics are all controlled by the government
  • LGBT housing discrimination becomes no protections.
    Because sexual orientation as a concept does not appear in North Korea law, there is no legal prohibition of discrimination by state and nonstate actors based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics.
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes no protections.
    Because sexual orientation as a concept does not appear in North Korea law, there is no legal prohibition of discrimination by state and nonstate actors based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics.
  • LGBT discrimination becomes no protections.
    Because sexual orientation as a concept does not appear in North Korea law, there is no legal prohibition of discrimination by state and nonstate actors based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics.
  • Homosexual activity becomes n/a.
    Contrary to popular belief, homosexuality is technically not against the law in North Korea, however, North Korea is a sexually conservative country, and this applies to sexuality anywhere on the spectrum. Overt shows of affection by anyone of any sexual orientation tend to be frowned upon. There are, however, claims that it is de facto illegal, but this has no official backing. (Date shown is the date of North Korean statehood.) While punishment is rare, it has been reported by The Korean Times that North Korea has executed a lesbian couple for being influenced by capitalism and bringing corruption of public morals. However, even though de jure homosexuality is not prohibited, de facto there were some cases of punishment for LGBT people
  • August 15
    LGBT discrimination becomes illegal in some contexts.
    There are some LGBT anti-discrimination protections in local jurisdictions, but national law doesn't protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Same-sex marriage becomes banned.
    There have been proposals to legalize same-sex marriage in Korea, but none have passed.
  • May 14
    Equal age of consent becomes equal.
    The age of consent in Israel is 16 for male-male, female-female, and male-female sex.
  • December 25
    Equal age of consent becomes equal.
    Unsure of date. Date shown represents ratification of the Taiwanese Constitution. The age of consent in Taiwan is 16 (sixteen).
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Unsure of date which reflects the ratification of the current constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Taiwanese criminal code treats sexual acts between same-sex partners in private as equal to heterosexual sex acts performed in private.
  • June 13
    Same-sex adoption becomes single only.
    Homosexuality got legalized in 2018. No laws in place for same sex couples.
  • Same-sex adoption becomes single only.
    Spouses and single persons may adopt but the law does not recognise same-sex spouses and favours females as single adopters.
  • May 3
    Equal age of consent becomes equal.
    The national age of consent is equal for both same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples. Cities and prefectures may set higher ages of consent.
  • Serving openly in military becomes legal.
    Japan has a Self Defense Force in place of a traditional military. There is no specific policy either banning or encouraging LGBT participation in the Self Defense Forces. Research by Sabine Fruhstuck has shown that many Japanese do not object to open LGBT service in the military provided it does not interfere with their performance.
  • Same-sex marriage becomes unrecognized.
    Article 24 of the Japanese Constitution states that "marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis".
  • April 19
    Same-sex adoption becomes single only.
    The Law on Adoption passed on April 1, 1947 (including the amendments from 1965) allowed only "incomplete adoption" where the adopted child was not granted all the rights of a legitimate child. Adopters could be both individuals and spouses.
  • January 1
    Equal age of consent becomes unequal.
  • August 18
    LGBT housing discrimination becomes ambiguous.
    None exist currently.
  • May 5
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Canadian, British, Polish, Dutch, and American troops liberated the Netherlands during WW2 on this day.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Canadian, British, Polish, Dutch, and American troops liberated the Netherlands during WW2 on this day.
  • May 1
    Homosexual activity becomes illegal (imprisonment as punishment).
    On May 1st, 1945 the Fijian Penal Code of 1945 went into effect and outlawed homosexual sex. In Article 175 (a) it states that any person who has carnal knowledge (sexual intercourse) of any person against the order of nature is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years, with or without corporal punishment.
  • January 1
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    The 1932 law came into force in Poland again after World War II, but it included homosexual prostitution as a punishable offense. Homosexuality in Poland was fully decriminalized only in 1970.
  • September 3
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Belgium was liberated in September of 1944. Belgian civil law reverted back to pre-war laws.
  • July 17
    Same-sex marriage becomes foreign same-sex marriages recognized only.
    Gay marriage Legalization required under 2018 IACHR Ruling. Gay marriage Pending.
  • July 1
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Homosexual activity has been legal in Sweden since 1944.
  • June 17
    Same-sex marriage becomes unrecognized.
    Dominican Republic law does not recognise any marriage or partnership between same sex couples. In 2010 the Constitution was amended to affirm that "The State shall promote and protect the family organization based on the institution of marriage between a man and a woman" (Article 55). In 2018 the IACHR ruled that the American Convention on Human Rights requires Dominican Republic to legalise same-sex marriage.
  • January 15
    Homosexual activity becomes illegal (imprisonment as punishment).
    Up to 3 years in prison. Not enforced.
  • March 1
    Homosexual activity becomes ambiguous.
    Note: Technically illegal, although enforcement is ambiguous. Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code prohibits sexual relations that “contradict the laws of nature”. While the law has been used to penalize homosexuality, it has been successfully challenged in court several times with defendants being acquitted. Several courts have also declined to prosecute. Currently no national law has been passed to repeal Article 534, decriminalize homosexual activity, or clarify the position of the law.
  • (date unknown)
    Same-sex marriage becomes unrecognized.
    Some symbolic civil unions are recognized in select regions though no full and meaningful recognition is given.
  • January 1
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    The Swiss Penal Code introduced in 1942 allowed same sex acts between adults (above 20 years old), but punished homosexual intercourse with people between 16 and 20 years old (while allowing heterosexual acts)
  • September 16
    Same-sex marriage becomes unrecognized.
    Under the Shah's rule, the last monarch of the Pahlavi dynasty, homosexuality was criminalised, though it was mostly tolerated even to the point of allowing news coverage of a mock same-sex wedding between two men.
  • January 1
    Serving openly in military becomes illegal.
    The International Lesbian and Gay Association states that homosexuals are not allowed to serve in the Kenya Defence Forces, however, it's unclear if this is a written law and if so, when this law was passed.
  • December 7
    Equal age of consent becomes equal.
    Nationwide.
  • Equal age of consent becomes equal.
    The age of consent is the same for heterosexual couples,14 years old.
  • August 10
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    The Icelandic parliament decriminalizes homosexuality; removing the provision of the law that made homosexuality illegal.
  • May 28
    Homosexual activity becomes illegal (death penalty as punishment).
    Belgium was under German occupation during World War II and thus Paragraph 175 was in effect.
  • May 15
    Homosexual activity becomes illegal (imprisonment as punishment).
    During the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II homosexuality was criminalized by Paragraph 175.
  • January 30
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Homosexuality is legal in the DRC.