How Many Countries Is It Illegal to Be Gay?

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In the year 2024, it remains illegal to be gay in 64 countries. The laws in these countries vary in severity, ranging from fines and imprisonment to death penalties. The situation for LGBTQ+ individuals in these nations is often precarious, with laws that criminalize same-sex relationships contributing to social stigma, discrimination, and violence.

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List of Countries Where It Is Illegal to Be Gay (2024)

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Algeria
  3. Antigua and Barbuda
  4. Bangladesh
  5. Barbados
  6. Bhutan
  7. Brunei
  8. Burundi
  9. Cameroon
  10. Chad
  11. Comoros
  12. Dominica
  13. Egypt
  14. Eritrea
  15. Eswatini
  16. Ethiopia
  17. Gambia
  18. Ghana
  19. Grenada
  20. Guinea
  21. Guyana
  22. Iran
  23. Iraq
  24. Jamaica
  25. Kenya
  26. Kiribati
  27. Kuwait
  28. Lebanon
  29. Liberia
  30. Libya
  31. Malawi
  32. Malaysia
  33. Maldives
  34. Mauritania
  35. Mauritius
  36. Morocco
  37. Myanmar
  38. Namibia
  39. Nigeria
  40. Oman
  41. Pakistan
  42. Palestine (Gaza Strip)
  43. Papua New Guinea
  44. Qatar
  45. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  46. Saint Lucia
  47. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  48. Samoa
  49. Saudi Arabia
  50. Senegal
  51. Sierra Leone
  52. Solomon Islands
  53. Somalia
  54. South Sudan
  55. Sri Lanka
  56. Sudan
  57. Syria
  58. Tanzania
  59. Togo
  60. Tonga
  61. Tunisia
  62. Turkmenistan
  63. Uganda
  64. Zambia

A Closer Look at the Legal Landscape

  1. Death Penalty: In some countries, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Brunei, homosexuality can be punishable by death. These extreme laws are rarely enforced, but they contribute to a climate of fear and oppression for LGBTQ+ individuals.
  2. Imprisonment: Many countries impose lengthy prison sentences for those convicted of same-sex relations. For example, in Uganda and Nigeria, individuals can face life imprisonment.
  3. Fines and Lesser Penalties: In some countries, the penalties for same-sex activities might include fines or shorter prison terms. However, even in these places, the social and legal ramifications can be severe.

Historical Context

The legal prohibition of same-sex relationships in many of these countries can be traced back to colonial-era laws imposed by European powers. Despite gaining independence, many countries retained these laws, often influenced by conservative religious and cultural beliefs. In recent years, there has been a global movement towards decriminalization and the promotion of LGBTQ+ rights. However, progress remains slow in many regions, particularly in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Global Efforts and Advocacy

International human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, continue to campaign for the decriminalization of homosexuality and the protection of LGBTQ+ rights worldwide. The United Nations has also been vocal in condemning laws that criminalize same-sex relationships and has called on member states to respect and uphold the rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation.


The criminalization of same-sex relationships in 64 countries underscores the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights globally. While there has been significant progress in some regions, many individuals continue to live under the threat of legal penalties and social ostracization. Continued advocacy and international pressure are essential in the fight for equality and the protection of human rights for LGBTQ+ individuals everywhere.

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