#OUTLAWED

“The Love that Dare not Speak its Name”

In recent years, there have been significant advances for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide.  But many countries impose legal sanctions that target LGBT people, often for political gain. Today, 80 countries criminalize consensual same-sex relations or discussion of LGBT rights, and punishments include prison sentences, flogging, and even the death penalty. 

Click on the country bubbles for a snapshot of each country's laws. For more information and Human Rights Watch reporting, click on the country name in the black pop-up box.



Map of Countries With Anti-LGBT Laws (including 12 states in the US)



Page Title
Sentence for breaking laws
Type of law
Type of "crime"
Additional sentence details
Notes
Sentence category
Page Title
AfghanistanOutlaws same-sex relationsVague languageFive to 15 years in prison.10 years-lifeAfghanistan
AlgeriaOutlaws same-sex relationsHomosexualityTwo months to 2 years in prison and a fine of between 500 and 2,000 Algerian dinars (US$5 to $20).0-10 yearsAlgeria
AngolaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsTwo months to 2 years in prison.0-10 yearsAngola
Antigua & BarbudaOutlaws same-sex relationsBuggeryFifteen years in prison, if committed by an adult; 5 years, if committed by a minor.10 years-lifeAntigua & Barbuda
BangladeshOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsTen years to life in prison.10 years-lifeBangladesh
BarbadosOutlaws same-sex relationsBuggeryLife in prison.10 years-lifeBarbados
BelizeOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsTen years in prison.0-10 yearsBelize
BeninOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsSix months to 3 years in prison; fines of 4,000 to 1,000,000 CFA francs (US$6.50 to $1,620).0-10 yearsBenin
BhutanOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsOne month to 1 year in prison.0-10 yearsBhutan
BotswanaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 7 years in prison.0-10 yearsBotswana
BruneiOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 10 years in prison; fine.0-10 yearsBrunei
BurmaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 10 years in prison, fine, “transportation for life.”0-10 yearsBurma
BurundiOutlaws same-sex relationsHomosexualityThree months to 2 years in prison and/or a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 francs (US$30 to $60).0-10 yearsBurundi
CameroonOutlaws same-sex relationsHomosexualitySix months to 5 years in prison and a fine of CFA 20,000 to 200,000 (US$35 to $350).0-10 yearsCameroon
Central African RepublicOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsSix months to 2 years in prison; fine of 150,000 to 600,000 CFA francs (US$247 to $989).0-10 yearsCentral African Republic
ComorosOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsTwo to 5 years in prison and a fine of 50,000 to 1,000,000 francs (US$120 to $2,320).0-10 yearsComoros
Cook IslandsOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomyFive to 7 years in prison.0-10 yearsCook Islands
DominicaOutlaws same-sex relationsBuggeryFour to 10 years in prison if committed by an adult, and admission to a psychiatric hospital, if ordered by a court. Five years in prison if committed by a minor.10 years-lifeDominica
EgyptOutlaws same-sex relationsVague languageThree months to 3 years in prison. May be placed in "special reformatory" upon completion of prison sentence. Fine between 25 LE and 300 LE (US$3 and $40).0-10 yearsEgypt
EritreaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 3 years in prison.0-10 yearsEritrea
EthiopiaOutlaws same-sex relationsHomosexualityTen days to 15 years in prison.10 years-lifeEthiopia
GambiaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsFourteen years to life in prison.10 years-lifeGambia
GazaOutlaws same-sex relationsHomosexualityUp to 10 years in prison.0-10 yearsGaza
GhanaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 3 years in prison.0-10 yearsGhana
GrenadaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsTen years in prison.0-10 yearsGrenada
GuineaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsSix months to 3 years in prison.0-10 yearsGuinea
GuyanaOutlaws same-sex relationsBuggeryTwo years to life in prison.10 years-lifeGuyana
IndiaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsTen years to life in prison.10 years-lifeIndia
IranOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomySodomy: death penalty; lesbianism: 100 lashes.Death penaltyIran
JamaicaOutlaws same-sex relationsBuggeryTen years in prison and hard labor.0-10 yearsJamaica
KenyaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsFourteen years in prison.10 years-lifeKenya
KiribatiOutlaws same-sex relationsBuggeryFourteen years in prison.10 years-lifeKiribati
KuwaitOutlaws same-sex relationsHomosexualityUp to 7 years in prison.0-10 yearsKuwait
LebanonOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 1 year in prison.0-10 yearsLebanon
LiberiaOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomyOne year in prison.0-10 yearsLiberia
LibyaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 5 years in prison.0-10 yearsLibya
LithuaniaOutlaws discussion of LGBT rightsOpenly supports LGBT rightsDissemination of information defined by the law as having "a detrimental effect on minors" is prohibited or restricted.OtherLithuania
MalawiOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsSexual acts between men: up to 14 years in prison; sexual acts between women: 5 years in prison.10 years-lifeMalawi
MalaysiaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 20 years in prison, whipping, and fines (state Sharia laws).10 years-lifeMalaysia
MaldivesOutlaws same-sex relationsHomosexualityHomosexual acts between men: banishment for nine months to 1 year, or whipping; homosexual acts between women: house arrest for nine months to 1 year.0-10 yearsMaldives
MauritaniaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsIndecent acts between men: death by stoning; indecent acts between women: up to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to MRO 60,000 (US$210).Death penaltyMauritania
MauritiusOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomyFive years in prison with hard labor.0-10 yearsMauritius
MoroccoOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsSix months to 3 years in prison; fines of between 120 and 1,000 dirhams (US$10 to $110).0-10 yearsMorocco
NamibiaOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomyUnspecified.UnspecifiedNamibia
NauruOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent acts14 years in prison with hard labor.10 years-lifeNauru
NigeriaMixed sentencesMixed sentencesUp to 14 years in prison; death penalty (state Sharia laws). Nigeria falls into the “mixed sentences” category because it has various types of laws, under both criminal and Sharia law, which criminalize consensual same-sex conduct. It also criminalizes discussion of LGBT rights. Please click above and visit the Nigeria country page for more detailed information.Mixed sentencesNigeria
OmanOutlaws same-sex relationsHomosexualitySix months to 3 years in prison.0-10 yearsOman
PakistanOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsLife in prison; or 2 to 10 years in prison and fine.10 years-lifePakistan
Papua New GuineaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 14 years in prison.10 years-lifePapua New Guinea
QatarOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomyOne to 3 years in prison; death penalty (Sharia law).Death penaltyQatar
RussiaOutlaws discussion of LGBT rightsOpenly supports LGBT rightsFines of between 4,000 and 5,000 rubles (US$65 to $80); government officials face fines of 40,000 to 50,000 rubles (US$650 to $810); and organizations, up to 1 million rubles (US$16,220) or a suspension of activity for up to 90 days. Heavier fines may be imposed for the same actions if the “propaganda” is carried out using mass media and telecommunications, including the Internet. Foreigners found to be in violation can be detained for up to 15 days and be deported.OtherRussia
Saint Kitts and NevisOutlaws same-sex relationsBuggeryFour to 10 years in prison, with or without hard labor.0-10 yearsSaint Kitts and Nevis
Saint LuciaOutlaws same-sex relationsBuggeryFive to 10 years in prison.0-10 yearsSaint Lucia
Saint Vincent and The GrenadinesOutlaws same-sex relationsBuggeryFive to 10 years in prison.0-10 yearsSaint Vincent and The Grenadines
SamoaOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomyUp to 5 years in prison.0-10 yearsSamoa
Saudi ArabiaOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomyMarried men: death by stoning; unmarried men: 100 blows of the whip and banishment for 1 year; Non-Muslim: death by stoning.Death penaltySaudi Arabia
SenegalOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsOne to 5 years in prison; fine of 100,000 to 1,500,000 CFA (US$170 to $2,600).0-10 yearsSenegal
SeychellesOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsSeven to 14 years in prison.10 years-lifeSeychelles
Sierra LeoneOutlaws same-sex relationsBuggeryLife in prison.10 years-lifeSierra Leone
SingaporeOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsTwo years in prison.0-10 yearsSingapore
Solomon IslandsOutlaws same-sex relationsBuggeryFive to 14 years in prison.10 years-lifeSolomon Islands
SomaliaOutlaws same-sex relationsHomosexualityThree months to 3 years in prison; security measures.0-10 yearsSomalia
South SudanOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 10 years in prison; fine.0-10 yearsSouth Sudan
Sri LankaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 10 years in prison; fine; whipping.0-10 yearsSri Lanka
SudanOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomyLashes and 5 years in prison for first and second convictions; death penalty or life in prison if convicted for the third time.Death penaltySudan
SwazilandOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomyUnspecified.UnspecifiedSwaziland
SyriaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 3 years in prison.0-10 yearsSyria
TanzaniaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsThirty years to life in prison.10 years-lifeTanzania
TogoOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsOne to 3 years in prison; fine between 100,000 and CFA 500,000 (US$170 to $870).0-10 yearsTogo
TongaOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomyUp to 10 years in prison; whipping.0-10 yearsTonga
Trinindad and TobagoOutlaws same-sex relationsBuggeryTwenty-five years in prison if committed by an adult; 5 years in prison if committed by a minor.10 years-lifeTrinindad and Tobago
TunisiaOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomyThree years in prison.0-10 yearsTunisia
TurkmenistanOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomyUp to 2 years in prison.0-10 yearsTurkmenistan
TuvaluOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsFourteen years in prison.10 years-lifeTuvalu
UgandaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsLife in prison.10 years-lifeUganda
United Arab EmiratesOutlaws same-sex relationsDeath penalty.Death penaltyUnited Arab Emirates
United States (Alabama)Outlaws same-sex relationsVague languageUp to 1 year in prison; fine.Despite the 2015 US Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry and its 2003 decision on Lawrence v Texas, which declared the sodomy laws unconstitutional, archaic and unenforceable anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in some states.0-10 yearsUnited States (Alabama)
United States (Florida)Outlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 60 days in prison; fine.Despite the 2015 US Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry and its 2003 decision on Lawrence v Texas, which declared the sodomy laws unconstitutional, archaic and unenforceable anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in some states.0-10 yearsUnited States (Florida)
United States (Idaho)Outlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsMinimum 5 years in prison.Despite the 2015 US Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry and its 2003 decision on Lawrence v Texas, which declared the sodomy laws unconstitutional, archaic and unenforceable anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in some states.0-10 yearsUnited States (Idaho)
United States (Kansas)Outlaws same-sex relationsSodomyUp to 6 months in prison.Despite the 2015 US Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry and its 2003 decision on Lawrence v Texas, which declared the sodomy laws unconstitutional, archaic and unenforceable anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in some states.0-10 yearsUnited States (Kansas)
United States (Louisiana)Outlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsMaximum 5 years in prison; fine.Despite the 2015 US Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry and its 2003 decision on Lawrence v Texas, which declared the sodomy laws unconstitutional, archaic and unenforceable anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in some states.0-10 yearsUnited States (Louisiana)
United States (Michigan)Outlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsOne day to 15 years in prison.Despite the 2015 US Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry and its 2003 decision on Lawrence v Texas, which declared the sodomy laws unconstitutional, archaic and unenforceable anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in some states.10 years-lifeUnited States (Michigan)
United States (Mississippi)Outlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 10 years in prison.Despite the 2015 US Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry and its 2003 decision on Lawrence v Texas, which declared the sodomy laws unconstitutional, archaic and unenforceable anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in some states.0-10 yearsUnited States (Mississippi)
United States (North Carolina)Outlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 1 year in prison.Despite the 2015 US Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry and its 2003 decision on Lawrence v Texas, which declared the sodomy laws unconstitutional, archaic and unenforceable anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in some states.0-10 yearsUnited States (North Carolina)
United States (Oklahoma)Outlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsUp to 10 years in prison; post-imprisonment supervision for individuals sentenced to 2 or more years in prison.Despite the 2015 US Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry and its 2003 decision on Lawrence v Texas, which declared the sodomy laws unconstitutional, archaic and unenforceable anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in some states.0-10 yearsUnited States (Oklahoma)
United States (South Carolina)Outlaws same-sex relationsBuggeryUp to 5 years in prison; fine.Despite the 2015 US Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry and its 2003 decision on Lawrence v Texas, which declared the sodomy laws unconstitutional, archaic and unenforceable anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in some states.0-10 yearsUnited States (South Carolina)
United States (Texas)Outlaws same-sex relationsHomosexualityFine of up to US$500.Despite the 2015 US Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry and its 2003 decision on Lawrence v Texas, which declared the sodomy laws unconstitutional, archaic and unenforceable anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in some states.0-10 yearsUnited States (Texas)
United States (Utah)Outlaws same-sex relationsSodomyUp to 6 months in prison; fine.Despite the 2015 US Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry and its 2003 decision on Lawrence v Texas, which declared the sodomy laws unconstitutional, archaic and unenforceable anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in some states.0-10 yearsUnited States (Utah)
UzbekistanOutlaws same-sex relationsHomosexualityUp to 3 years in prison.0-10 yearsUzbekistan
YemenOutlaws same-sex relationsHomosexualityHomosexuality: 100 lashes, 1 year in prison (unmarried men), death by stoning (married men); lesbianism: 100 lashes, up to 3 years in prison.Death penaltyYemen
ZambiaOutlaws same-sex relationsUnnatural/indecent actsSeven years to life in prison.10 years-lifeZambia
ZimbabweOutlaws same-sex relationsSodomyUp to 1 year in prison and/or fine.0-10 yearsZimbabwe





Countries outlaw consensual, same-sex relationships in various ways. Many laws prohibiting often ill-defined “sodomy,” “buggery,” and “unnatural acts” were first imposed by European colonial powers. Others have been introduced more recently: Russia, Nigeria, and Gambia, for example, have introduced laws that restrict people’s ability to discuss LGBT rights or to organize a gathering of LGBT people, stripping them of their capacity to advocate for change. 

Country pages





Such laws are used to legitimize violence and discrimination against LGBT people. They are a threat not only to LGBT people, but to fundamental human rights to which all people are entitled.  



This map only includes information regarding criminal laws that regulate consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex. Where distinguishable within the text of the laws, we have excluded references to sex without consent and sex between adults and minors. Sharia (Islamic law) and customary laws are only referenced in instances where they are applicable in lieu of or together with other forms of codified criminal law.

Type of law, grouped by sentence length





Explore the graphs to see how laws criminalizing consensual same-sex conduct and discussion of LGBT rights vary around the world. In each of the graphs, Nigeria falls into a “mixed sentences” category because it has various types of laws, under both criminal and Sharia law, which criminalize consensual same-sex conduct. It also criminalizes discussion of LGBT rights. Please visit the Nigeria country page for more detailed information.

Type of "crime," grouped by wording used in the law





Number of countries that explicitly criminalize same-sex relations between women









Number of countries, grouped by type of law













Special thanks to our partners who have provided information, in particular  the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), Amnesty International, and Dr. Paula Gerber of Monash Law School and the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law in Melbourne, Australia.

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