LGBT rights in Africa

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Africa are limited in comparison to many other areas of the world. The International Gay and Lesbian Association estimated in 2008 that homosexuality was outlawed in 38 African countries, and in at least 13 African countries, homosexuality was legal or there were no laws pertaining to it.[1]

Same-sex sexual activities between adults have never been criminalised in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, and Rwanda.

Since 2011, some first world countries have been considering or implementing laws that limit or prohibit general budget support to countries that restrict the rights of homosexuals.[2] In spite of this, many African countries have refused to consider increasing LGBT rights,[3] and in some cases have drafted laws to increase sanctions against LGBT people.[4] Many African leaders feel that gay rights are against their cultural and religious value systems and believe they have a sovereign right to reject what they see as an imposition by mainly Western nations, which attempts to affect national sentiment via aid.[5][6][7][8]

In Mauritania, Sudan, and northern Nigeria, homosexuality is punishable by death. In Uganda, Tanzania, and Sierra Leone, offenders can receive life imprisonment for homosexual acts. In addition to criminalizing homosexuality, Nigeria has enacted legislation that would make it illegal for straight family members, allies and friends of the LGBT to be supportive. According to Nigerian law, a straight ally “who administers, witnesses, abets or aids” any form of gender non-conforming and homosexual activity could receive a 10-year jail sentence.[9] South Africa's constitution has the most liberal attitudes toward gays and lesbians, with a constitution which guarantees gay and lesbian rights, and legal same-sex marriage.

Legislation by country or territory

Tables:

Northern Africa[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity legal Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in military Anti-discrimination Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Algeria Algeria No Illegal
Penalty: Fine & up to 2 years imprisonment[10]
No No No No No No
Egypt Egypt No Male de facto illegal
Penalty: Up to 17 years imprisonment with or without hard labour and with or without torture and fines under broadly written morality laws.
Emblem-question.svg Female uncertain[10][11]
No No No No No No
Libya Libya No Illegal
Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment.[10][12]
No No No No No No
Morocco Morocco
(including Southern Provinces)
No Illegal
Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment.[10][13]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
South Sudan South Sudan No Illegal
Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment.[10]
No No Constitutional ban since 2011 No No No No
Sudan Sudan No Illegal
Penalty: Death penalty for men on third offense. Death penalty on fourth offense for women.[10]
No No No No No No
Tunisia Tunisia No Illegal
Penalty: 2 years imprisonment.[10][14]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No

Western Africa[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity legal Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in military Anti-discrimination Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Benin Benin Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)[10][15]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)[10]
No No Constitutional ban since 1991 No Emblem-question.svg No No
Cape Verde Cape Verde Yes Legal since 2004
+ UN decl. sign.
No No No Emblem-question.svg Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[10] Emblem-question.svg
Ivory Coast Côte d'Ivoire Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
The Gambia Gambia No Illegal
Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment[10]
No No No No No No
Ghana Ghana No Male illegal
Penalty: 10 years imprisonment or more
Yes Female always legal[10][16]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Guinea Guinea No
Penalty: 6 months to 3 years imprisonment[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau Yes Legal since 1993[10]
+ UN decl. sign.
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Liberia Liberia No Illegal
Penalty: 1 year imprisonment[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Mali Mali Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Mauritania Mauritania No Illegal
Penalty: Death penalty (however no public executions for any crime since 1987)[10]
No No No No No No
Niger Niger Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Nigeria Nigeria No Illegal under federal law
Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment
Illegal in the states of Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara
Penalty: Death penalty for men. Whipping and/or imprisonment for women.[10][17]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Senegal Senegal No Illegal
Penalty: 1 to 5 years imprisonment[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone No Male illegal
Penalty: Up to life imprisonment (not enforced)
Yes Female always legal
+ UN decl. sign.[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Togo Togo No Illegal
Penalty: Fine & 3 years imprisonment[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No

Middle Africa[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity legal Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in military Anti-discrimination Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Cameroon Cameroon No Illegal
Penalty: Fines to 5 years imprisonment[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Central African Republic Central African Republic Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)
+ UN decl. sign.[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Chad Chad Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)
(Same-sex sexual activity illegal in Aouzou Strip under annexation of Libya from 1973 to 1994)[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Democratic Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)[10]
No No Constitutional ban since 2005 No Emblem-question.svg No No
Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea Yes Legal[10] No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Gabon Gabon Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)
+ UN decl. sign.[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Republic of the Congo Republic of the Congo Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Saint Helena Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Yes Legal since 2001
+ UN decl. sign.[10]
Emblem-question.svg No No Yes UK's responsibility. Allowed since 2000 Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination Yes Since 2013
São Tomé and Príncipe São Tomé and Príncipe Yes Legal since 2012
+ UN decl. sign.[10][18]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No

Southeast Africa[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Burundi Burundi No Illegal since 2009
Penalty: 3 months to 2 years imprisonment[10][19]
No No Constitutional ban since 2005 No Emblem-question.svg No No
Kenya Kenya No Illegal
Penalty: up to 14 years imprisonment[10]
No NoConstitution since 2010 specifically mentions only opposite sex marriage[20] No No No No
Rwanda Rwanda Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)
+ UN decl. sign.[10]
No No Constitutional ban in Article 26 since 2003 No Emblem-question.svg No No
Uganda Uganda No Male illegal
Penalty: Up to life imprisonment
Female illegal since 2000
Penalty: Up to 7 years imprisonment[10]
No No Constitutional ban since 2005 No No No No
Tanzania Tanzania No Illegal
Penalty: Up to life imprisonment[10]
No No No A couple must be married to adopt a child. Emblem-question.svg No No

Horn of Africa[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Djibouti Djibouti Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Eritrea Eritrea No Illegal
Penalty: Up to 3 years imprisonment (not enforced)[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Ethiopia Ethiopia No Illegal
Penalty: 10 years imprisonment or more[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Somalia Somalia No Illegal
Penalty: Up to 3 years imprisonment[10]
No No No No No No

Indian Ocean States[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Comoros Comoros No Illegal
Penalty: 5 years imprisonment & fines[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
French Southern and Antarctic Lands French Southern and Antarctic Lands
(Overseas territory of France)
Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the territory)[10]
Yes Civil solidarity pact Yes Legal since 2013 Yes Legal since 2013 Yes Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination Yes However, it requires sterilization for sex change.
Madagascar Madagascar Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Mauritius Mauritius Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity; however, anal sex is illegal, punishable with 5 years' prison)
Yes Female always legal
[21]+ UN decl. sign.[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[22][23] No
Mayotte Mayotte
(Overseas department of France)
Yes Legal
(no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the department)[10]
Yes Civil solidarity pact Yes Legal since 2013 Yes Legal since 2013 Yes Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination Yes However, it requires sterilization for sex change.
Réunion Réunion
(Overseas department of France)
Yes Legal since 1791[10] Yes Civil solidarity pact Yes Legal since 2013 Yes Legal since 2013 Yes Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination Yes However, it requires sterilization for sex change.
Seychelles Seychelles No Male illegal
Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment (not enforced)
Yes Female always legal
+ UN decl. sign.[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[10] No

Southern Africa[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Angola Angola No De facto illegal
Penalty: Fines, restrictions or penal labor (not enforced)[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[24] No
Botswana Botswana No Illegal
Penalty: Fine to up to 7 years imprisonment (not enforced)[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[10] No
Lesotho Lesotho Yes Male legal since 2012
Female always legal[25]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Malawi Malawi No Illegal
Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment & whippings (law suspended from usage since 2012)[10][26]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Mozambique Mozambique Yes Legal[27] No No No No Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[10][22] No
Namibia Namibia No Male illegal (not enforced)
Yes Female always legal[10][28][29]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
South Africa South Africa Yes Male legal since 1998
Female always legal
+ UN decl. sign.[10]
Yes Limited recognition of unregistered partnerships since 1998; Same-sex marriage since 2006. Yes Legal since 2006 Yes Legal since 2002 (joint and step-parent) Yes Since 1998 Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination Yes Anti-discrimination laws are interpreted to include gender identity; legal gender may be changed after surgical or medical treatment.
Swaziland Swaziland No Male illegal
Yes Female always legal[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Zambia Zambia No Illegal
Penalty: up to 14 years imprisonment[10]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe No Male illegal
Yes Female always legal[10]
No No Constitutional ban since 2013 No Emblem-question.svg No No

Partially recognized or unrecognized states[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
(excluding Southern Provinces)
No Illegal
Penalty: Up to 3 years imprisonment[30]
No No No No No No
Somaliland Somaliland No Illegal
Penalty: Up to 3 years imprisonment[10]
No No No No No No


See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ ""Africa's lesbians demand change", BBC News, reported by Joanna Jolly, 27 February 2008". News.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  2. ^ ""Cameron threat to dock some UK aid to anti-gay nations", BBC News, 30 October 2011". BBC News. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  3. ^ ""Ghana refuses to grant gays' rights despite aid threat", BBC News, 2 November 2011". BBC News. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  4. ^ ""Uganda fury at David Cameron aid threat over gay rights", BBC News, 31 October 2011". BBC News. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ ""Homosexuality and Africans: Pan-African position on Gay Rights", African Holocaust, July 2011". Africanholocaust.net. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  8. ^ ""Gambian President Says No to Aid Money Tied to Gay Rights", Voice of America, reported by Ricci Shryock, 22 April 2012". VOA. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "African Anti-Gay Laws". Laprogressive.com. 2014-02-20. Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh State-sponsored Homophobia: A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, authored by Lucas Paoli Itaborahy, May 2014
  11. ^ http://ilga.org/ilga/en/countries/EGYPT/Law
  12. ^ http://ilga.org/ilga/en/countries/LIBYAN%20ARAB%20JAMAHIRIYA/Law
  13. ^ http://ilga.org/ilga/en/countries/MOROCCO/Law
  14. ^ http://ilga.org/ilga/en/countries/TUNISIA/Law
  15. ^ http://ilga.org/ilga/en/countries/BENIN/Law
  16. ^ http://ilga.org/ilga/en/countries/GHANA/Law
  17. ^ http://ilga.org/ilga/en/countries/NIGERIA/Law
  18. ^ 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Sao Tome and Principe, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, page 10
  19. ^ Burundi abolishes the death penalty but bans homosexuality 27 April 2009.
  20. ^ Kenya Constitution
  21. ^ The Sexual Offences Bill 2007
  22. ^ a b Africa: Outspoken activists defend continent's sexual diversity
  23. ^ EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES ACT 2008
  24. ^ Where is it illegal to be gay?
  25. ^ STATE-SPONSORED HOMOPHOBIA
  26. ^ Malawi suspends anti-gay laws as MPs debate repeal
  27. ^ Mozambique Gay Rights Group Wants Explicit Constitutional Protections
  28. ^ Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
  29. ^ http://www.lgbtnet.dk/countries/africa/namibia
  30. ^ LGBT Rights in Western Sahara

External links[edit]