Sign In
© Eduardo Enoki/ILGA
© Eduardo Enoki/ILGA
Save to wishlist

This Map Shows The Countries Where Being LGBT Is Illegal

Picture of Alice Johnston
Food Editor
Updated: 26 January 2018
In an ideal world, travellers would be able to go wherever they wished safely and happily regardless of their sexuality, gender or appearance.

Sadly, however, that’s not a reality. Travelling as a LGBT person can be or feel dangerous, and knowing the lay of land in other countries is critical to staying safe and feeling comfortable.

This map can help. It shows the countries worldwide where being LGBT is legal, accepted and encouraged, places where it’s illegal and, worst of all, places where it can result in a prison sentence or even a death sentence.

There are currently 72 nations that outlaw same-sex activity. While laws recognising and protecting LGBT people are expanding across the world, stigmatisation and persecution remain rife.

The map, created by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), is a comprehensive compilation on the laws countries have that affect people on the basis of their sexual orientation. ILGA is a federation of more than 1,2000 organisations from 132 countries, all of which are committed to equal rights for the LGBTI community.

Made in 2017, this map and it’s associated report are the most up-to-date resources on offer.

Travel can be tricky for LGBT people | © Joshua Stitt / Unsplash

There are 19 countries with laws that actively target public expression of LGBT realities, such as a same-sex couple holding hands in public or kissing. These are often called ‘promotion’ or ‘morality’ laws.

Renato Sabbadini, executive director at ILGA, said: ‘With the ongoing rise in the use of digital devices, deployment of these laws becomes all the more sinister.

The ongoing case of Chechnya offers us the most recent, horrific example of such abuses, as survivors have expressed fears that the social media accounts of men perceived to be gay or bisexual are being hacked and used to identify and contact others who have not yet been arrested.’

Would you use the map while travelling? | © Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

The death penalty can be applied for consensual same-sex acts in eight UN member nations. In Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran and the Sudan, it’s applied state-wide, in Nigeria and Somalia it’s implemented only in certain provinces. In Iraq and in Daesh-held territories in northern Syria and northern Iraq, it’s implemented only by vigilantes, local courts or other non-state means.

The map also provides information about conversion therapy, marriage equality and discrimination in the workplace.

More positively, 124 nations recognise same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults to be legal, 22 nations worldwide recognise same-sex marriage and 28 nations give civil partnership recognition. And in some places, thankfully, it’s downright celebrated.