LGBT rights in Asia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Same-sex sexual activity legal
  Other type of partnership (or unregistered cohabitation)
  Foreign same-sex marriages recognized
  No recognition of same-sex couples
  Restrictions on freedom of expression
Same-sex sexual activity illegal
  Not Enforced
  Penalty
  Life in prison
  Death penalty

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Asia are limited in comparison to many other areas of the world. Same-sex sexual activity is outlawed in at least twenty Asian countries. While at least nine countries allow same-sex people to serve in the military, only Israel provides a wider range of LGBT rights - including same-sex relationship recognition.

In the Islamic regimes of Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, homosexual activity is punished with the death penalty.[1] The legal punishment for sodomy has varied among juristic schools: some prescribe capital punishment; while other prescribe a milder discretionary punishment such as imprisonment. In some relatively secular Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia,[2] Jordan and Turkey this is not the case.

Egalitarian relationships modeled on the western pattern have become more frequent, though they remain rare. Same-sex intercourse officially carries the death penalty in several Muslim nations: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Yemen.[3]

Legislation by country or territory

This table:

Central Asia[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan Yes Legal since 1998[4] No No Emblem-question.svg No[5] No No
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan Yes Legal since 1998[4] No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Tajikistan Tajikistan Yes Legal since 1998[4] No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan No Male illegal
(Penalty: up to 2 year prison sentence)
Yes Female legal[4]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan No Male illegal
(Penalty: up to 3 year prison sentence)
Yes Female legal[4]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No

Middle East[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Bahrain Bahrain Yes Legal since 1976[4] No No No No No No
Iraq Iraq Yes Legal since 2003 No No No No No No
Israel Israel Yes Legal since
1963 de facto
1988 de jure[6]
+ UN decl. sign.
Yes Unregistered cohabitation No Cannot be performed in the country, but foreign same-sex marriages are recognised Yes Yes Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination [7][8] Yes[citation needed]
Jordan Jordan Yes Legal since 1951 No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Kuwait Kuwait No Male illegal
(Penalty: Fines or up to 6 year prison sentence)
Yes Female legal[9]
No No No No No No
Lebanon Lebanon No No No No No No No
Oman Oman No Illegal
(Penalty: fines, prison sentence up to 3 years; however, only enforced when dealing with "public scandal")
No No No No No No
State of Palestine Palestinian territories
(Gaza)
No Male illegal
(Penalty: up to 10 year prison sentence)
Yes Female legal
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
State of Palestine Palestinian territories
(West Bank)
Yes Legal since 1951[4] No No Yes[citation needed] Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Qatar Qatar No Male illegal
(Penalty: fines, prison sentence up to 5 years)
Yes Female legal
No No No No No No
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia No Illegal
(Penalty: Prison sentences of several months to life, fines and/or whipping/flogging, castration, torture, vigilante execution, or death can be sentenced on first conviction. A second conviction merits execution.)
No No No No No No
Syria Syria No Illegal
(Penalty: prison sentence up to 3 years)
No No No No No No
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates No Illegal
(Penalty: deportation, fines or prison time)
No No No No No No
Yemen Yemen No Illegal
(Penalty: Death)
No No No No No No

South Asia[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Afghanistan Afghanistan No Illegal No No No No No No
Bangladesh Bangladesh No Illegal
(Penalty: 10 years to life)
No No No No No Yes A third option (hijra) beside male and female[10]
Bhutan Bhutan No Illegal
(Penalty: prison sentence up to 1 year; no cases of penalty actually enforced)
No No No No No No
India India No Illegal since 1860.[11] Penalties up to 10 years imprisonment.[12] NoNo explicit recognition.[13] No No explicit recognition.[13] No No[14] No Yes "Third gender" recognised by Supreme Court[15]
Iran Iran No Illegal
(Penalty: Death)
No No No No No Yes Legal gender recognition in Iran is legal if accompanied by a medical intervention.[16]
Maldives Maldives No Up to death.[17] Shariah law applies. Whippings, house arrest, deportation, and up to 6 years in jail. Vigilante attacks and executions occur. No No No No[citation needed] No No
Nepal Nepal Yes Legal since 2007[4]
+ UN decl. sign.
No No Under consideration No Under consideration Yes Yes Supreme Court ruled discrimination laws apply to homosexuals Yes "Third gender" cards have been issued since September 2007, legally protected class[18]
Pakistan Pakistan No Illegal
(Penalty: 2 years to life sentence)
No No No No No Yes 'Third gender' officially protected from discrimination by Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2010
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka No Illegal[4] No No No No[citation needed] No No

East Asia[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
China China
(People's Republic of)
Yes Legal since 1997 No No No Emblem-question.svg No Yes Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender
Hong Kong Hong Kong
(Special administrative region of China)
Yes Legal since 1991
(equal age of consent of 16 for both heterosexual and homosexual sex since 2006)
No No No Emblem-question.svg
The People's Republic of China is in charge of Hong Kong's defence affairs. Regardless of sexual orientation, military personnel are not recruited from Hong Kong.
Yes Government employment, goods and services only Yes Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender
Japan Japan Yes Legal since 1880
(was illegal from 1872–1880; before that there were no laws forbidding same sex relationships)
+ UN decl. sign.
No No No Yes[19] No No nationwide protections, but some cities ban some anti-gay discriminations[4] Yes Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender, but only after sex reassignment surgery and in case that the transsexual has no child under 20 years old
Macau Macau
(Special administrative region of China)
Yes Legal since 1996 No No No Emblem-question.svg
The People's Republic of China is in charge of Macau's defence affairs. Regardless of sexual orientation, military personnel are not recruited from Macau.
Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination Emblem-question.svg
Mongolia Mongolia Yes Legal since 1961[4] No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
North Korea North Korea Yes Legal[4] No No No No No Emblem-question.svg Unknown although there are heavily obeyed gender roles for both male and female. See Let's trim our hair in accordance with the socialist lifestyle
South Korea South Korea Yes Legal
+ UN decl. sign.
No No No Yes Due to conscription, but gays subject to discrimination No Yes Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender

Partially recognised states[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Taiwan Taiwan
(China, Republic of)
Yes Legal No No (Pending law allows civil unions or same-sex marriage) No Yes Due to military draft Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination (in work and education) Yes Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender, but only after sex reassignment surgery

Southeast Asia[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Brunei Brunei No Illegal
(Penalty: Death by stoning)
No No No No No No
Burma Burma No Illegal
(Penalty: up to life sentence)
No No No No No No
Cambodia Cambodia Yes Legal No No Technically prohibited, though there has been at least one recorded case of a legally registered and recognized same-sex marriage No[citation needed] Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
East Timor East Timor Yes Legal since 1975
+ UN decl. sign.
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Indonesia Indonesia Yes Legal[20]
except for Muslims in Aceh Province[21]
No No No No[22] No Yes Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender
Laos Laos Yes Legal No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Malaysia Malaysia No Male illegal
(Penalty: fines, prison sentence (2-20 years), or whippings)

Yes Female legal

No No No No No No
Philippines Philippines Yes Legal[23]
except for Muslims in Marawi City
No[23] No (However, Metropolitan Community Church conducts same-sex Marriage, the New People's Army of the Philippines conducted the country’s first same-sex marriage in 2005, some other Pagan Churches also conduct same-sex marriage. Yes/No Step-adoption only No Since 2009 Yes No national protections, but Cebu[24] Quezon City, Davao[25] and Albay have anti-discrimination ordinances[26] No National bill pending but still not made into law Emblem-question.svg
Singapore Singapore No Male illegal
(Penalty: up to 2 years prison sentence; no plan to repeal 377A and not enforced since 1999)

Yes Female legal

No No No Yes Due to conscription, but gays are not allowed to go to command school or serve in sensitive units. No Yes Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender
Thailand Thailand Yes Legal since 1956 No No No Yes Since 2005 Yes No
Vietnam Vietnam Yes Legal
(no laws against homosexuality have ever existed)
No No Emblem-question.svg Emblem-question.svg Emblem-question.svg Yes Sex-change recognized for sex assignment for persons of congenital sex defects and unidentifiable sex


See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Asia from a Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Perspective (2013).
  2. ^ Rough Guide to South East Asia: Third Edition. Rough Guides Ltd. August 2005. p. 74. ISBN 1-84353-437-1. 
  3. ^ "7 countries still put people to death for same-sex acts". ILGA. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l State-sponsored Homophobia A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults
  5. ^ "Kazakhstan Says No to Gays in Military". Eurasianet. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  6. ^ LGBTQ Timeline
  7. ^ "Law prohibiting discrimination in products, services, and entry to businesses" (in Hebrew). Israeli Economy Ministry. Retrieved 2013-05-09. 
  8. ^ "El Al vs. Yonatan Danilovich" (in Hebrew). Supreme Court of Israel. Retrieved 2013-05-09. 
  9. ^ Kuwait Law
  10. ^ Bangladesh government makes Hijra an official gender option
  11. ^ CIVIL APPEAL NO.10972 OF 2013 (Arising out of SLP (C) No.15436 of 2009), Supreme Court of India, retrieved on 15 April 2014
  12. ^ "India’s Supreme Court Restores an 1861 Law Banning Gay Sex". The New York Times. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "Lesbian marriages, born of a legal loophole, stir debate in India". 
  14. ^ "Being gay still a crime in the military". StratPost. 2 July 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  15. ^ Supreme Court recognizes transgenders as 'third gender', The Times of India, retrieved 15 April 2014
  16. ^ "CBC News - Film - Iran's gay plan". Cbc.ca. 26 August 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  17. ^ Darker side of the Maldives: Public lashings, religious extremists and a gay blogger with his throat slashed
  18. ^ "Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity References". U.S. Department of State Human Rights Reports for 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  19. ^ "Asia's Silence on Gays in Military Broken by Taiwan". Palm Center. 15 May 2002. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  20. ^ Rough Guide to South East Asia: Third Edition. Rough Guides Ltd. August 2005. p. 74. ISBN 1843534371. 
  21. ^ "Aceh passes stoning law". The Straits Times. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  22. ^ "Sacking Sergeant SNF, Court: Homosex a Threat to Army". Detik. 16 November 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  23. ^ a b "Philippines: Congress Approves Anti-Discrimination Bill". Iglhrc.org. 24 January 2004. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  24. ^ PNA, PNA. "Passage of Cebu's anti-discrimination law lauded". Local News. Sun Star Publishing, Inc. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  25. ^ http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/324189/davao-council-bans-discrimination-vs-gays-minority-differently-abled
  26. ^ "Gay Filipinos and Rainbow - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos". Lifestyle.inquirer.net. 21 November 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 

External links[edit]