LGBT rights in Africa

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Same-sex sexual activity legal
  Same-sex marriage recognized
  Other type of partnership (or unregistered cohabitation) recognized
  Foreign same-sex marriages recognized
  No recognition of same-sex couples
Same-sex sexual activity illegal
  Penalty
  Life in prison
  Death penalty

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, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, and Rwanda.[2]

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.[3] In spite of this, many African countries have refused to consider increasing LGBT rights,[4] and in some cases have drafted laws to increase sanctions against LGBT people.[5] 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.[6][7][8][9]

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.[10] 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 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
Algeria Algeria No Illegal
(Penalty: Fine - Up to 2 years prison or vigilante executions)[2]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Egypt Egypt No Not specifically illegal, but is illegalized through broadly written morality laws (Penalty: Fines, torture, up to 17 years in jail with or without hard labor, or vigilante executions)| No No No No No Emblem-question.svg
Libya Libya No Illegal
(Penalty: Up to 5 years prison).[2]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Morocco Morocco
(incl. Western Sahara)
No Illegal
(Penalty: Up to 3 years)
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
South Sudan South Sudan No Illegal
(Penalty: Up to 10 years.)
No No Constitutional ban since 2011 No No No No
Sudan Sudan No Illegal
(Penalty: Corporal Punishment. Death penalty for men on third offense. Death penalty on fourth offense for women)
No No No No No No
Tunisia Tunisia No Illegal
(Penalty: Fine - 3 years)
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg

Western 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
Benin Benin Yes Legal[2] No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Yes Legal No No Constitutional ban since 1991 No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Cape Verde Cape Verde Yes Legal since 2004
+ UN decl. sign.
No No No Emblem-question.svg Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[2] Emblem-question.svg
Ivory Coast Côte d'Ivoire Yes Legal No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
The Gambia Gambia No Illegal
(Penalty: up to 14 years imprisonment)
No No Emblem-question.svg No specific prohibition No No Emblem-question.svg
Ghana Ghana No Male illegal
(Penalty: up to 3 years imprisonment for consensual acts)
Female uncertain
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Guinea Guinea No Illegal
(Penalty: 6 months to 3 years imprisonment)
No No Emblem-question.svg Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau Yes Legal since 1993[2]
+ UN decl. sign.
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Liberia Liberia No Illegal
(Penalty: 1 year imprisonment)
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Mali Mali Yes Legal No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Mauritania Mauritania No Illegal
(Penalty: Death penalty. However, no executions for any crime since 1987)
No No No No No Emblem-question.svg
Niger Niger Yes Legal No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Nigeria Nigeria No Illegal
(Penalty: Prison time, fines, corporal punishment, to death penalty)
No No Emblem-question.svg Emblem-question.svg No No Illegal in northern states
Emblem-question.svg Unclear in southern states
Senegal Senegal No Illegal
(Penalty: 1 to 5 years imprisonment)
Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg Emblem-question.svg No No
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone No Male illegal
(Penalty: Life imprisonment)
Yes Female legal[2]
+ UN decl. sign.
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Togo Togo No Illegal
(Penalty: Fine and/or a 3 year prison sentence)
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg

Middle 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
Cameroon Cameroon No Illegal
(Penalty: Fine to 5 years prison)
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Central African Republic Central African Republic Yes Legal[2]
+ UN decl. sign.
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Chad Chad Yes Legal[2] No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Democratic Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo
(formerly Zaire)
Yes Legal[2] No No Constitutional ban since 2005 No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea Yes Legal[2] No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Gabon Gabon Yes Legal[2]
+ UN decl. sign.
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Republic of the Congo Republic of the Congo Yes Legal[2] No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Saint Helena Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Yes Legal since 2001[2] Emblem-question.svg No No Yes (as part of the Military of the United Kingdom) Yes Bans anti-gay discrimination (under the United Kingdom Equality Act 2010) Yes Transsexuals can change legal sex since 2013
São Tomé and Príncipe São Tomé and Príncipe Yes Legal since 2012
+ UN decl. sign.[11]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg

Eastern 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 and/or fine) [12]
No No Constitutional ban since 2005 No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Djibouti Djibouti Yes Legal[2] No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Eritrea Eritrea No Illegal
(Penalty: Up to 3 years imprisonment) [2]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Ethiopia Ethiopia No Illegal[2] Emblem-question.svg No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Kenya Kenya No Male illegal
(Penalty: up to 14 years imprisonment)
No NoConstitution since 2010 specifically mentions only opposite sex marriage[13] No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Rwanda Rwanda Yes Legal[2]
+ UN decl. sign.
No No Constitutional ban in Article 26 since 2003 No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Somalia Somalia No Illegal[2] No No No No Emblem-question.svg Emblem-question.svg
Uganda Uganda No Male Illegal
(Penalty: Up to life imprisonment)
No Female Illegal since 2000. (Penalty: Up to 7 years imprisonment)
No No Constitutional ban since 2005 No No No No
Tanzania Tanzania No Illegal
(Penalty: Up to life imprisonment)[2]
No No Emblem-question.svgA couple must be married to adopt a child jointly. Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg

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[2]
(Penalty: 5 years imprisonment and/or fine)
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Madagascar Madagascar Yes Legal No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Mauritius Mauritius No Male illegal
(Penalty: Up to 5 years imprisonment) Yes Female legal
(national debate over repeal of the law)[2][14]
+ UN decl. sign.
No No No Emblem-question.svg Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[15][16] Emblem-question.svg
Mayotte Mayotte
(Overseas department of France since 2011)
Yes Legal since 1791 Yes Civil solidarity pact Yes Legal since 2013 Yes Legal since 2013 Yes Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination Yes (Requires sterilization for change)
Réunion Réunion
(Overseas department of France)
Yes Legal since 1791 Yes Civil solidarity pact
since 1999
Yes Legal since 2013 Yes Legal since 2013 Yes Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination Yes (Requires sterilization for change)
Seychelles Seychelles No Male illegal
(Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment)
Yes Female legal
(decriminalisation proposed )
+ UN decl. sign.
No No No Emblem-question.svg Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[2] Emblem-question.svg

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 Illegal[2] No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Botswana Botswana No Illegal
(Penalty: Fine - 7 years, Though never enforced)
No No No Emblem-question.svg Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[2] Emblem-question.svg
Lesotho Lesotho Yes Legal since 2012[2] No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Malawi Malawi No Illegal
(Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment and/or whippings)
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Mozambique Mozambique Yes Legal[17] No No No Emblem-question.svg Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[2][15] Emblem-question.svg
Namibia Namibia No Illegal
(not enforced)[2][18]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
South Africa South Africa Yes Male legal since 1998
(retroactive to 1994)
Female always legal
+ UN decl. sign.
Yes Limited recognition of unregistered partnerships since 1998; marriage since 2006 Yes Legal since 2006 Yes Legal since 2002 (joint and step-parent) Yes Since 1998 Yes Bans all discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, including hate speech 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 legal
Pending law includes outlawing lesbian sex conduct.[2]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Zambia Zambia No Illegal
(Penalty: up to 14 years imprisonment)
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe No Male illegal
Yes Female legal[2]
No No Constitutional ban since 2013 No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg

Partially recognized/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
Western Sahara Western Sahara
(80% controlled by Morocco)
No Illegal
(Penalty: up to 3 years prison)
No No No No No No
Somaliland Somaliland No Illegal
(Penalty: expulsion from country, prison - up to life, in various regions and districts; death penalty)
No No No No No Emblem-question.svg


See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ "Africa's lesbians demand change", BBC News, reported by Joanna Jolly, 27 February 2008
  2. ^ 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 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 2013
  3. ^ "Cameron threat to dock some UK aid to anti-gay nations", BBC News, 30 October 2011
  4. ^ "Ghana refuses to grant gays' rights despite aid threat", BBC News, 2 November 2011
  5. ^ "Uganda fury at David Cameron aid threat over gay rights", BBC News, 31 October 2011
  6. ^ "Gay and Lesbian People are affronted by CONTRALESA's stance on Same Sex Marriage", Joint Working Group
  7. ^ "Zimbabwe Rejects UN Appeal for Gay Rights, Denies Torture Claims", Zimbio, reported by Rod McCullom, 21 May 2012
  8. ^ "Homosexuality and Africans: Pan-African position on Gay Rights", African Holocaust, July 2011
  9. ^ "Gambian President Says No to Aid Money Tied to Gay Rights", Voice of America, reported by Ricci Shryock, 22 April 2012
  10. ^ "Nigeria's LGBTQ-Clensing Law", LA Progressive, 20 February 2014]
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ Burundi abolishes the death penalty but bans homosexuality 27 April 2009.
  13. ^ Kenya Constitution
  14. ^ The Sexual Offences Bill 2007
  15. ^ a b Africa: Outspoken activists defend continent's sexual diversity
  16. ^ EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES ACT 2008
  17. ^ Mozambique Gay Rights Group Wants Explicit Constitutional Protections
  18. ^ Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

External links[edit]