LGBT rights in Angola

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

LGBT rights in Angola Angola
Same-sex sexual intercourse legal statusIllegal (legalization pending)[1]
Discrimination protectionsYes, for sexual orientation (employment only)
Family rights
Recognition of

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Angola have seen some improvement in the early half of the twenty-first century. Angolan law prohibits "acts against nature", though this law has seldom been enforced. In May 2018, the National Assembly approved a new penal code, which does not outlaw consenting same-sex sexual activity, though it has yet to go into effect. Additionally, since 2015, employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has been banned.

Some NGOs in Angola, that are working on HIV/AIDS education, are beginning to work with the LGBT community, and there are no reports of LGBT people being specifically targeted for harassment in Angola by police or vigilante groups. Additionally, two specific LGBT groups operate in Angola. However, only one of these groups has received official and legal recognition.[2]


In the 1920s, a German anthropologist named Kurt Falk published his research on African tribes, which included some acceptance of homosexuality and bisexuality.[3] Falk reported that homosexual and cross-dressing practices were commonplace among the Ovimbundu people. Ovimbundu men who behave, act and dress as women are known as chibadi or chibanda, and historically would marry other men. Similar individuals exist in neighbouring ethnic groups; they are known as kimbanda among the Kimbundu, quimbanda among the Kongo and jimbandaa among the Lovale people. Same-sex sexual acts were regarded as having medical effects in these societies. Indeed, such acts were viewed as a remedy for impotence, to improve soil fertility or as a transfer of knowledge. Sexual practices between men were also part of initiation rituals.[4][5]

In the 18th century, the Khoikhoi people recognised the terms koetsire, which refers to a man who is sexually receptive to another man, and soregus, which refers to same-sex masturbation usually among friends. Anal intercourse and sexual relations between women also occurred, though more rarely.[4]

Among the Herero people, erotic friendships (known as oupanga) between two people, regardless of sex, were common, and typically included anal intercourse (okutunduka vanena).[4]

Laws regarding same-sex sexual acts[edit]

Articles 70 and 71 of the Penal Code of 1886 contains a vaguely worded prohibition against public immorality and acts considered "against nature".[6]

In February 2017, the Angolan Parliament preliminarily approved a draft of a new penal code, in a unanimous 125-0 vote with 36 abstentions. The new Penal Code does not contain provisions outlawing same-sex sexual activity in private.[6][7][8][9] A final vote on the bill was planned for 28 June 2017, but was postponed,[10] due to controversy surrounding abortion (the Penal Code would have legalised abortions in the case of rape).[11] Multiple public debates and consultations were held, though same-sex sexual activity was hardly, if ever, an issue. On 18 May 2018, the Parliament approved the draft in a second vote by a 186-3 vote with six abstentions. Now, it has to go to parliamentary committees.[12][13][14] Under the new Code, the age of consent would be 14 regardless of sexual orientation. The Code is expected to be discussed in the 2018-2019 parliamentary year.[15]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

There is no legal recognition of same-sex couples in Angola.[16]

In general, significant social pressure is put on people to marry a suitable partner of the opposite sex and have children.[17]

In 2005, the unofficial commitment ceremony of a same-sex couple was treated as "shameless" and "abominable" in the national news magazines.[18]

Constitutional rights[edit]

LGBT citizens were not expressly mentioned in the previous Constitution, ratified in 1992. The new Constitution of 2010 does make some general provisions concerning human rights, freedom, equality and tolerance that may apply to all citizens, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity. For example, the Constitution stipulates that the Government will work to secure equal rights and opportunities for all citizens, irrespective of, among other things, "any other form of discrimination".[19]

Discrimination protections[edit]

LGBT flag map of Angola

The General Labour Law (7/15), which came into effect on 15 September 2015, prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, among other categories.[20][21]

Article 214 of the new Penal Code, pending in Parliament, forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment and the provision of goods and services.[6][7]

Additionally, multiple other articles, including articles 71, 172, 215, 216, 225, 382 and 384, outlaw incitement to hatred, hate speech, defamation and hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation with varying degrees of punishment. For instance, article 172 bans threats against someone or a group of people on account of their sexual orientation, among others, with 1-year imprisonment and a fine of up to 120 days. The punishment for death threats is doubled. Article 384 lists persecution on the basis of sexual orientation as a crime against humanity, on par with slavery, wilful manslaughter, genocide, rape, forced mutilation and others.[22]

Gender identity and expression[edit]

One of the most popular musical artists in Angola is transgender woman Titica. She is part of the very popular rap-techno fusion music style known as kuduro. Known as kuduro's queen, she has performed at various music festivals around the world. However, she still suffers frequent attacks in Angola, most of which are carried out based on the Bible.[23]

There is no specific law which allows transgender people in Angola to change their gender marker on their official documents and passports. Section 78 of the Código do Registro Civil 2015 indicates that, in general, there should be no alteration of details entered into the registration records. However, section 87 gives the Civil Registrar general authority to make changes, including changes of name and when there is a change of facts which alter the legal identity and status of the person. Transgender people could possibly use this section to change their legal gender.[24]


Prevailing social attitudes about sexual orientation tend to reflect traditional Catholic and Protestant values concerning human sexuality and gender roles. These values and mores do shape public policy.

Some LGBT people in Angola have reported being harassed by people who believe that they are immoral, and the Angola Government allegedly refused to accept the Israeli ambassador because he was gay. Yet, signs of more liberal attitudes do exist.[17]

Political parties and non-governmental organizations[edit]

The three major political parties have not formally addressed LGBT in their respective party platforms. On the rare occasion that politicians and other government officials have dealt with LGBT people or rights, their policies have reflected prevailing attitudes.

In 2010, the Angolan Government refused to receive openly gay Isi Yanouka as the new Israeli ambassador, allegedly due to his sexual orientation.[25]

The Government does allow for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to exist in Angola, and some charities have begun to work with members of the LGBT community with regards to HIV/AIDS education.

Two specific LGBT groups work in Angola. One of these groups, Iris Angola, received official and legal recognition by the Angolan Justice Ministry in June 2018. At the time, Iris Angola had about 200 members.[2] It is based in Luanda and has offices in Benguela and Lubango.[26]


Legally, people living with HIV/AIDS in Angola are entitled to health care services and protection from employment discrimination.

Efforts to develop educational programs specifically for LGBT people have struggled to receive funding from NGOs. The first association, Acção Humana (Human Action), was launched in 2006 but has been unable to receive funding. In 2007, a study on HIV/AIDS estimated that roughly five percent of HIV infections are from men who have sex with other men.[17]

A HIV/AIDS educational program for LGBT in Angola is just beginning to develop, through the work of NGOs, such as the Population Services International.

Public opinion[edit]

Despite prevailing conservative attitudes, Angola is listed as one of Africa's least homophobic countries.

According to a 2017 poll carried out by ILGA, 61% of Angolans agreed that gay, lesbian and bisexual people should enjoy the same rights as straight people, while 20% disagreed. Additionally, 65% agreed that they should be protected from workplace discrimination. 27% of Angolans, however, said that people who are in same-sex relationships should be charged as criminals, while a plurality of 48% disagreed. As for transgender people, 63% agreed that they should have the same rights, 72% believed they should be protected from employment discrimination and 49% believed they should be allowed to change their legal gender.[27]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal No (Not enforced; pending)
Equal age of consent No (Pending)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only Yes (Since 2015)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No (Pending)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (Incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No (Pending)
Hate crime laws include sexual orientation No (Pending)
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military Emblem-question.svg
Right to change legal gender No/Yes (Since 2015)
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Where is it illegal to be LGBT+ ?
  2. ^ a b Angola legalises gay rights group in national first
  3. ^ ANGOLA - STATUS OF SEXUAL MINORITIES, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, at the Asylum Documentation Program /SF website
  4. ^ a b c Boy-Wives and Female Husbands
  5. ^ Homosexuality in Perspective: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the International Debate on Homosexuality in Uganda
  8. ^ Aprovada em Angola nova lei que penaliza aborto com prisão
  9. ^ Aprovado Código Penal que penaliza aborto
  10. ^ Votação do novo Código Penal angolano novamente adiada
  11. ^ Angola: Debate On Repatriation of Financial Assets Extended to Civil Society
  12. ^ (in Portuguese) Ministro angolano diz que é equívoco pensar que Código Penal encoraja o aborto
  14. ^ MPs pass Bill on Penal Code
  15. ^ "Angola: New Penal Code to Be Approved Next Parliamentary Year". allAfrica. 3 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Código de Família" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  17. ^ a b c "AfricaFiles | Angola: Gays and lesbians: Invisible and vulnerable". Retrieved 2017-07-21.
  18. ^ "Angola News & Reports". Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  19. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Angola (WIPO Lex)
  21. ^ "Employment & labour law in Angola". Lexology. 15 September 2015.
  23. ^ Redvers, Louise (2012-04-12). "BBC News - Transsexual artist Titica takes Angola by storm". Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  24. ^ Transgender Rights in Angola
  25. ^ Hartman, Ben (2010-04-30). "Was diplomat denied post in Angola because he is openly gay?". Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  26. ^ (in Portuguese) Angola legaliza por primera vez en la historia del país a un colectivo LGTB
  27. ^ ILGA-RIWI Global Attitudes Survey ILGA, October 2017

External links[edit]