I’m afraid today’s post won’t be so rosy, Gentle Reader. If you want something uplifting, you might want to go re-read In Praise of the Femme. We’re about to get a little bit serious.
In Yemen, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Sudan, homosexual acts are punishable by death. In Iraq* and the United Arab Emirates, laws are more ambiguous, but LGBTQIA folks have still been recently been put to death by the courts. At the end of this post, I’ll have a list of countries where homosexuality is merely illegal, but in these countries you can still be put to death.
This isn’t to say that these are the most dangerous countries in which to be gay. Mob “justice”, mauling, and flat-out murder are carried out all over the world, regardless of what laws are on the books. We all know about Uganda for example, and Russia doesn’t actually have a law prohibiting homosexuality at all – just gay “propaganda”. Naturally, this doesn’t prevent roving gangs of thugs from robbing people of their lives, nor does it prevent people from being imprisoned indefinitely. It’s merely a polite fiction.
If you google which countries are the most homophobic, or which are the most dangerous for LGBT travelers, or which have the highest rate of hate crimes, you’ll wind up with several different lists that in no way coincide. Information is supressed, distorted, erased. Your best bet, if you want to stay safe, is to hide who you are and conform as much as possible – particularly in regards to gender presentation. Even if you can’t possibly fool anyone, you have to try – your life may depend on it.
But that’s all just common sense; what can we actually do about these laws?
Precious little. Spread awareness, get people talking – hope, if you’re not too cynical. Pray, if you pray. Not much beyond that. But people need to know.
A List of Countries In Which Homosexuality Is Illegal:
I’ve taken the time to find links on the specific laws in each country, and in cases where the laws are in the process of being challenged, or changed, such as Malawi, I’ve done my best to find the most up-to-date information. I hope that this isn’t a resource that many need to use, but for what it’s worth, it’s here.
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Cook Islands
- Palestine/Gaza Strip
- Papua New Guinea
- Sao Tome
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
- St. Kitts & Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent & The Grenadines
- Trinidad & Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
For more specifics, though not for all the countries listed, you can check out a BuzzFeed article that’s … actually useful.
*Um, obviously the situation in Iraq is very tricky right now. The laws are ambiguous at the moment, in light of the recent situation. Apparently, there is no official law against homosexuality, but sharia judges have been condemning people to death.
†India repealed its anti-gay laws in 2013, but if I’m not mistaken, things are tied up in court and the current situation is confusing.
‡ These countries had, have, or are considering laws that, while not outright banning homosexuality, will ban it in effect – à la Rousse, if you will.