LGBT rights in Jordan

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LGBT rights in Jordan Jordan
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1951
Gender identity/expression
Discrimination protections None
Family rights
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex couples

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people living in Jordan do not have full rights; however, non-commercial homosexual conduct between consenting adults is legal in Jordan. Jordan has several homosexual-themed publications in the media.

Criminal laws[edit]

In 1951, a revision of the Jordanian Criminal Code legalized private, adult, non-commercial, and consensual sodomy, with the age of consent set at 16.[1]

The Jordain penal code no longer permits family members to beat or kill a member of their own family whose "illicit" sexuality is interpreted as bringing "dishonor" to the entire family.[2] As of 2013, the newly revised Penal Code makes honor killings, as a legal justification for murder, illegal.[3]

In 1999, a Jordanian family living in the United States repeatedly beat their adult daughter and attempted to forcibly return her home after they discovered that she was a homosexual.[4] Likewise, a gay Jordanian who fled to Canada talked about similar acts of violence committed by family members who felt that his sexual orientation was bringing dishonor to the family.[5]

Media and press[edit]

July/August 2011 cover of online LGBT magazine My.Kali with model Khalid on the cover

The National Press Law (aka "Press and Publication Law") was amended in 1998 and 2004. The initial document prohibited the depiction or endorsement of "sexual perversion", which may have included homosexuality.[6] The revised edition in 2004 has a few provisions of direct impact on LGBT rights. First, the content ban on "sexual perversion" has been replaced with a general requirement that the press "respect the values of ... the Arab and Islamic nation" and that the press must also avoid encroaching into people's private lives.[7]

Gay-themed Jordanian publications are legal. In 2007, the first gay-themed Jordanian publication arose. A year later, My.Kali started publication online, named after openly-gay model Khalid (mentioned below), making major headlines.[8][9]

LGBT recognition and rights[edit]

The first time that the Jordanian government made any public statement regarding LGBT rights was at the Fourth World Conference on Women held in 1995. The international conference sought to address women's rights issues on a global scale, and a proposal was made to have the conference formally address the human rights of gay and bisexual women. The Jordanian delegates to the conference helped to defeat the proposal.[4] More recently, the kingdom's United Nations delegates have also opposed efforts to have the United Nations itself support LGBT rights, although this later proposal was eventually adopted by the United Nations.

To date no law exists or has been proposed in the Jordanian parliament to address sexual identity-based discrimination or bias motivated crimes. Same-sex marriages, or more limited civil unions, are not legally recognized in Jordan and there is no public effort in Jordan to modify these laws.

However, outside the realm of LGBT rights and party politics there is a growing level of tolerance and visibility in certain artistic or chic-cosmopolitan parts of Jordan, especially in Amman.

Books@Cafe opened up in 1997 and remains a popular bookstore and cafe for patrons supportive of "creativity, diversity and tolerance". In the twenty-first century, a Jordanian male model, Khalid, publicly came out and has been supportive of a general interest, gay-themed magazine published in Jordan.

Recent reports suggest that although a large number LGBT citizens are in the closet and often have to lead double lives, a new wave of younger LGBT are beginning to come out of the closet and are becoming more visible in the country, working to establish a vibrant LGBT community of filmmakers, journalists, writers, artists and other young professionals.[10] Only a few young Jordanians of the upper class are able to remain single. Most of these more "open" Jordanians are well educated and from prosperous middle class or wealthy families.

Initial research into the LGBT community in Jordan suggests that many of the same sort of social biases and conventions that exist within the gay community in the United States or Europe, also exist in Jordan. Masculinity is valued.

Living conditions[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes check.svg (since 1951)
Equal age of consent Yes check.svg
Anti-discrimination laws in employment No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military No
Right to change legal gender Yes check.svg
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No

In the News[edit]

According to afp, 10 gays and lesbians were arrested in Amman on 26 February 2014 for having held a reception at a party hall with the aim to get to know each other. The reason given was to ″prevent a disturbance of the peace.″[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [Schmitt, Arno & Sofer, Jehoeda, 1992, Sexuality and Eroticism Among Males in Moslem Societies, Binghamton: Harrington Park Press, 1992, ISBN 0-918393-91-4, pages 137-138.
  2. ^ "Middle East 'Honour killings' law blocked". BBC News. 8 September 2003. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b [2]
  5. ^ "Gay Jordanian Now "Gloriously Free" in Canada". Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ [4][dead link]
  8. ^ "Jordan: a gay magazine gives an hope to Middle East",, retrieved 11 August 2012
  9. ^ "Gay Egypy". Gay Middle East. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Movie Reviews | Three Stories From Amman at The Black Iris of Jordan". Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  11. ^ Andy Towle, Jordanian police arrest 10 gays and lesbians for holding gathering,, 28 February 2014