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71 Countries it is Illegal to be LGBT+

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

71 Countries it is Illegal to be LGBTQ+ | On Airplane Mode

We have made a lot of progressive changes for the LGBTQ+ community globally over the years. However, there are 71 countries that it is illegal to be homosexual in the world.

First rule of thumb when traveling as an LGBTQ+ person is to research where it is actually legal for you to go and be free to be open or closed up about this issue. This is so important to think about when you enter a new country to not only protect yourself from trouble or harm, but to just remember you are in someone else's country and you should be respectful of their traditions and terms. It is also important to note that while homosexual activity may be legal, this does not mean that other LGBTQ+ rights are legal (ie. marriage, adoption, anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation, laws concerning gender identity/expression, military). In this case, we will just be listing countries where same-sex activity is legal.

The Americas

While most of The Americas has Iegalized homosexuality there are still remote areas especially within the Caribbean that it remains illegal. The laws are especially strict with gay men compared to gay women. There are many gay activists fighting throughout The Americas like Harvey Milk in the United States did in the 1970s. While gay marriage is legal in the United States, LGBT rights are constantly challenged by anti LGBT politicians.

Harvey Milk | On Airplane Mode

"If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door." -Harvey Milk, The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, 1977

  • Antigua and Barbuda

  • Barbados

  • Dominica

  • Grenada (male only)

  • Guyana (male only)

  • Jamaica (male only)

  • St Kitts and Nevis (male only)

  • St Lucia

  • St Vincent and the Grenadines


There are no countries in Europe that have laws that govern homosexuality. However, discrimination and prejudice against sexuality minorities is still very relevant in many countries especially Eastern Europe. While it is not illegal to be homosexual, gay marriage is still not recognized in many countries across Europe.

Barbara Gittings | On Airplane Mode

"Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts." - Barbara Gittings


Africa remains very behind when it comes to legalization of LGBT recognition. Much of Africa remains very strict when it comes to LGBT rights and even still uphold laws for persecution, even death in cases.

Nelson Mandela | On Airplane Mode
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”―Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

  • Algeria

  • Burundi

  • Cameroon

  • Chad

  • Comoros

  • Egypt (de facto criminalisation)

  • Eritrea

  • Ethiopia

  • Gambia

  • Ghana

  • Guinea

  • Kenya (male only)

  • Liberia

  • Libya

  • Malawi

  • Mauritania

  • Mauritius (male only)

  • Morocco

  • Namibia (male only)

  • Nigeria

  • Senegal

  • Sierra Leone (male only)

  • Somalia

  • South Sudan

  • Sudan

  • Swaziland (male only)

  • Tanzania

  • Togo (male only)

  • Tunisia

  • Uganda

  • Zambia

  • Zimbabwe (male only)

Asia and The Middle East

While there have been some progress in the Pacific asian countries, there's only a minority of countries that make it legal for same-sex activity let alone any LGBTQ+ rights. Because a lot of these countries are Muslim countries, there are some of the strictest laws against LGBT including the death penalty in Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E. and Yemen.

Vikram Seth | On Airplane Mode

"To not be able to love the one you love is to have your life wrenched away." -Vikram Seth

  • Afghanistan

  • Bangladesh (male only)

  • Bhutan (male only)

  • Brunei (male only)

  • Indonesia (in some areas)

  • Iran

  • Iraq (de facto)

  • Kuwait (male only)

  • Lebanon (male only)

  • Malaysia

  • Maldives

  • Myanmar (male only)

  • Oman

  • Pakistan (male only)

  • Qatar

  • Saudi Arabia

  • Singapore (male only)

  • Sri Lanka

  • Syria

  • Turkmenistan (male only)

  • United Arab Emirates

  • Uzbekistan (male only)

  • Yemen


There is a huge range of laws for LGBT in the Oceania territory. While there are countries like Australia and islands like Guam and Wallis and Futuna that protect LGBTQ+ rights, there are quite a few islands/countries that have ban and make it illegal to be LGBTQ.

Peter Tatchell | On Airplane Mode

“Don’t accept the world as it is. Dream of what the world could be – and then help make it happen”- Peter Tatchell foundation motto

  • Cook Islands (male only)

  • Kiribati (male only)

  • Papua New Guinea (male only)

  • Samoa (male only)

  • Solomon Islands

  • Tonga (male only)

  • Tuvalu (male only)

When you first read this list of countries you might be surprised. Many of these destinations are well known travel locations. Many of the countries also have a large LGBT tourism influence. However, we still have a long way to go to create equality and for every country in this world to recognize homosexuality as being accepted.

“A sickening reminder that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights — the right to live and love as one wishes — are viewed dimly in many nations and societies around the world,” The Washington Post

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