Where same-sex sexual relationships are still illegal in 2020, mapped

Isobel van Hagen
Wednesday 16 December 2020 14:09
news
(ILGA World)

A new map displaying how laws affect people on the grounds of their sexual orientation blatantly shows there is still an immense amount of progress to be made for LGBTQ+ communities around the world.

A new report from ILGA World – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association – published on Tuesday found that same-sex sexual relations are criminalised in 69 United Nations member states this year.

As this figure is down by just one from last year, this seems to suggest that efforts to bolster LGBTQ+ rights are stalling in many countries.

“As of December 2020, 69 States continue to criminalise same-sex consensual activity,” said Lucas Ramón Mendos, lead author of the report. 

“The figure dropped by one this year, as Gabon backtracked from the criminalising provision it passed in 2019 - which became the shortest-lived law of its kind in modern history," Mendos said. 

The colour-coded map shows that at least 34 of those states still actively enforce anti-homosexuality laws, although the real number could be “much higher”, according to the report.

The death penalty remains in place same-sex couples in Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria Saudi Arabia and Yemen, IGLA said.

“Much work remains to be done worldwide in interlinked fields: #AbolishTheDeathPenalty - and ensuring no person is criminalised on the basis of love and consensual sexual relations; Equal rights and opportunities in family, employment, education and health-care,” one person tweeted in response to the map, noting the interconnected nature in the human rights work of both opposing the death penalty and state-sponsored homophobia.

The map also shows that 42 countries have legal barriers to freedom of expression on sexual orientation, and 51 countries prevent people from forming NGOs dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community.

And while it is crucial to track these kinds of draconian, unjust and repressive laws, it is also important to remember that homophobia still exists despite being 'protected’ by the state. As one person wrote, “Informal discriminations, hate speech and private violence,” still exist everywhere. 

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