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LGBT rights in Swaziland

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LGBT rights in Swaziland
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Male illegal since the 1880s
Female always legal[1]
Discrimination protections Unknown
Family rights
Recognition of
Adoption No

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Swaziland face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents.

Laws regarding same-sex sexual acts

According to Section 252(1) of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, the principles and rules of Roman-Dutch Common Law that applied to Swaziland since 22 February 1907 (as those principles and rules existed on 6 September 1968, Independence Day) are applied and enforced as the common law of Swaziland.[2] The principal source of this common law in 1907 was the common law as then applied in the Transvaal Colony, which ultimately became a part of South Africa.[3] Sodomy was a crime under the 1907 common law, punishable with either death or a lesser punishment at the discretion of the court.[4]:page: 262

By the mid-twentieth century, "sodomy" in South Africa had been defined by its courts as "unlawful and intentional sexual relations per anum between two human males."[4]:page: 262 This narrow definition left out a residual group of proscribed "unnatural sexual acts" referred to generally as "an unnatural offence", which included at a minimum those sexual acts between men that did not involve anal penetration[4]:pages: 262–3 and apparently never included sexual acts between women.[4]:footnote: 624, page: 267 Whether these developments in South Africa had an effect on Swaziland's common law is uncertain. The International Lesbian, Gay, Trans and Intersex Association claims that Swaziland's definition of "sodomy" is the same as South Africa's and that female same-sex sexual acts are legal, although the sources it cites cannot be verified through the Internet.[5]

Same-sex marriage

Same-sex couples are not allowed to marry.[6][7]

Adoption of children

Same-sex couples are prohibited from adopting Swazi children. Otherwise, prospective adoptive parents may be single, married, or divorced.[8]

Living conditions

The U.S. Department of State's 2011 Human Rights Report found that,

Societal discrimination against the LGBT community was prevalent [in 2011], and LGBT persons generally concealed their sexual orientation and gender identity. Colonial-era legislation against sodomy remains on the books; however, it has not been used to arrest gay men. Gay men and lesbians who were open about their sexual orientation and relationships faced censure and exclusion from the chiefdom-based patronage system, which could result in eviction from one's home. Chiefs, pastors, and members of government criticized same-sex sexual conduct as neither Swazi nor Christian. Societal discrimination exists against gay men and lesbians, and LGBT advocacy organizations had trouble registering with the government. One such organization, House of Pride, was affiliated with another organization dealing with HIV/AIDS. It is difficult to know the extent of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation because victims are not likely to come forward, and most gay men and lesbians are not open about their sexual orientation.[9]

Summary table

Same-sex sexual activity legal No For male / Yes For female
Equal age of consent No For male / Yes For female
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only 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 Emblem-question.svg
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also