LGBT rights in Asia

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LGBT rights in Asia
Asia
Asia
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal in 27 out of 48 states
Legal in all 3 territories
Legal in 6 out of 7 states with limted recognition
Gender identity/expression Legal in 19 out of 48 states
Legal in 1 out of 3 territories
Legal in 2 out of 7 states with limited recognition
Military service Legal in 9 out of 48 states
Legal in 1 out of 3 territories
Legal in 1 out of 7 states with limited recognition
Discrimination protections Legal in 6 out of 48 states
Legal in all 3 territories
Legal in 2 out of 7 states with limited recognition
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
Legal in 1 out of 48 states
Legal in 0 out of 3 territories
Legal in 0 out of 7 states with limted recognition
Restrictions:
Same-sex marriage constitutionally banned in 1 out of 48 states
Adoption Legal in 1 out of 48 states
Legal in 0 out of 3 territories
Legal in 0 out of 7 states with limited recognition

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 Brunei, Iran, Iraq, 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.

As of May 2016. same-sex sexual acts are illegal in 23 countries.[1]

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, Brunei, Iran, and Yemen.[3][4]

Israel, Nepal, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, and Cyprus (excluding Northern Cyprus) are the most open to the LGBT community in Asia. Japan, Israel, Taiwan and Nepal are the major players in legislation.

In a UN General Assemby declaration for LGBT rights and/or sponsored the Human Rights Council's 2011 resolution on LGBT rights, state parties were given a chance to express their support or opposition on the topic. Only Armenia, Georgia, Cyprus, Israel, South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand, and East Timor have expressed their support. State parties who expressed opposition are Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Maldives, North Korea, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Syria, Afghanistan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. Other Asian parties did not show support or opposition.

The first and only LGBT political party in the world, Ladlad, was established in the Philippines in 2003. So far, no LGBT bill supported by the party has been passed in the Philippine congress despite support from the majority of the population.

Asia
Same-sex sexual activity legal
  Other type of partnership (or unregistered cohabitation)
  Foreign same-sex marriages recognized1
  No recognition of same-sex couples
  Restrictions on freedom of expression
Same-sex sexual activity illegal
  Not Enforced or unclear
  Penalty
  Life in prison
  Death penalty

Legislation by country or territory

This table:

Central Asia[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan Yes Legal since 1998[1] No No No No[5] No No
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan Yes Legal since 1998[1] No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Tajikistan Tajikistan Yes Legal since 1998[1] No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan No Male illegal
Penalty: up to 2-year prison sentence
Yes Female always legal[1]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan No Male illegal
Penalty: up to 3-year prison sentence
Yes Female always legal[1]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No

Eurasia[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Akrotiri and Dhekelia Akrotiri and Dhekelia
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Yes Legal since 2000
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No No Emblem-question.svg Yes UK responsible for defence Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[6] Emblem-question.svg
Armenia Armenia Yes Legal since 2003
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No No Constitutionally banned since 2015[7][8] No No/Yes No explicit ban. However, LGBT persons have been reportedly discharged because of their sexual orientation.[9] No No
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Yes Legal since 2000[1] No No No No No Yes (Requires sterilization for change).[10]
Cyprus Cyprus Yes Legal since 1998
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
Yes Since 2015 No No No Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination[11] Yes Forbids discrimination based on gender identity.
Georgia (country) Georgia Yes Legal since 2000
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No No (Constitutional ban proposed) No Emblem-question.svg Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination[12] Yes (Requires sterilization for change)[10]
Russia Russia Yes Male legal since 1993
Female always legal[13][1]
No No (Constitutional ban proposed) No LGBT individuals may adopt. No No Yes (Requires sterilization for change)[10]
Turkey Turkey Yes Legal since 1858[1] No No No No (Proposed)[14] No (Proposed)[15] Yes (Requires sterilization for change)

Western Asia[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Bahrain Bahrain Yes Legal since 1976 (Age of consent discrepancy)[1] No No No No No No
Iran Iran No Illegal
Penalty: For men 74 lashes for immature men and death penalty for mature men of sound mind and is consenting. For women 50 lashes for women of mature sound mind and is consenting. Death penalty offense after fourth conviction.[1]
No No No No No Yes Legal gender recognition in Iran is legal if accompanied by a medical intervention.[16]
Iraq Iraq Yes Legal since 2003[17] No No No No No No
Israel Israel Yes Legal since 1963 (de facto), 1988 (de jure)[18]
+ UN decl. sign.[1][19]
Yes Unregistered cohabitation since 1994. No/Yes Unrecognized if performed in country, but foreign same-sex marriages are recognized. Yes Step-child adoption since 2005.
Joint adoption since 2008.[20][21]
Yes Since 1993 Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination;[22][23] Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty applies to homosexuals and bisexuals.[24] Yes Full recognition of gender's ID without a surgery or medical intervention;[25] equal employment opportunity law bars discrimination based on gender identity;[26][27] Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty applies to transgender individuals.[26][28]
Jordan Jordan Yes Legal since 1951[1] No No No Emblem-question.svg No Yes Legal since 2014 [29]
Kuwait Kuwait No Male illegal
Penalty: Fines or up to 6-year prison sentence
Yes Female always legal[1][30]
No No No No No No
Lebanon Lebanon Yes Legal since 2014[31] No No No No No Yes Legal gender change allowed
Oman Oman No Illegal
Penalty: Fines and prison sentence up to 3 years (Only enforced when dealing with "public scandal")[1]
No No No No No No
Qatar Qatar No Illegal
Penalty: Fines, prison sentence up to 7 years. Death penalty offense. (Applies to Muslims only)[1]
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 or death can be sentenced on first conviction. A second conviction merits execution.[1]
No No No No No No
Syria Syria No Illegal
Penalty: Prison sentence up to 3 years (Law in de-facto suspended)[32][1]
No No No No No Yes Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates No Illegal under federal law
Penalty: deportation, fines or prison time (Unclear if the death penalty applies)
Illegal in the emirate of Dubai
Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment
Illegal in the emirate of Abu Dhabi
Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment[1]
No No No No No No
Yemen Yemen No Illegal
Penalty: Unmarried men punished

with 100 lashes of the whip or a maximum of one year of imprisonment, married men with death by stoning. Women punished up to three years of imprisonment; where the offense has been committed under duress, the punishment is up to seven years detention.[1]

No No No No No No

Southern Asia[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Afghanistan Afghanistan No Illegal
Penalty: Long imprisonment or death penalty (No known cases of death sentences have been handed out for same-sex sexual activity after the end of Taliban rule)[1]
No No No No No No
Bangladesh Bangladesh No Illegal
Penalty: 10 years to life imprisonment[1]
No No No No No Yes A third option (hijra) beside male and female[33]
Bhutan Bhutan No Illegal
Penalty: Prison sentence up to 1 year (Not enforced)[1]
No No No No No No
India India No Illegal nationwide since 1861, was legal from 2009 to 2013 only for National Capital Territory of Delhi[34]
Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment (sporadically enforced)[35][34][1]

Supreme Court to consider legalization. [36]

No No explicit recognition.[37] No No explicit recognition.[37] No Transgender individuals may adopt. No[38] No Yes "Third gender" recognised by Supreme Court[39]
Maldives Maldives No Illegal
Penalty: For men the punishment is banishment for nine months to one year or a whipping of 10 to 30 strokes. For women is house arrest for nine months to one year.[1]
No No No No[citation needed] No No
Nepal Nepal Yes Legal since 2007
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No (Proposed: By Supreme Court in 2008) No (Proposed: By Supreme Court in 2008) No Under consideration Yes Yes Constitution bans all anti-gay discrimination. Yes Gender change is legal since 2007.
Constitution bans all discrimination.[40]
Pakistan Pakistan No Illegal
Penalty: 2 years to life sentence[1]
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
Penalty: Fine and up to 10 years imprisonment (Not enforced)[1]
No No No No[citation needed] No No

Eastern Asia[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
China China
(People's Republic of)
Yes Legal since 1997[1] No No No Emblem-question.svg No Yes Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender, but only after sex reassignment surgery.
Hong Kong Hong Kong
(Special administrative region of China)
Yes Legal since 1991[1] 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, but only after sex reassignment surgery.
Japan Japan Yes Legal since 1880
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No (Non-legally binding partnerships in 5 municipal jurisdictions (Shibuya, Setagaya, Iga, Takaraduka, Naha) No No Yes No/Yes No nationwide protections, but some cities ban some anti-gay discriminations[1] 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
(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the region)[41]
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
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No No No Yes Due to conscription. Yes Bans anti-gay discrimination. (New Criminal Code goes into force on September 1, 2016) Yes Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender
North Korea North Korea Yes Legal
(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)[1]
No No No Emblem-question.svg 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
(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No No No No No Yes Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender
Taiwan Taiwan
(Republic of China)
Yes Legal since 1895[42] No/Yes check.svg Registered partnership in Kaohsiung,[43] Taipei,[44] Taichung (2015),[45] Tainan,[46] New Taipei,[47] Taoyuan,[48] Chiayi City,[49] Changhua, [50] and Hsinchu(2016).
(Proposed nationwide)
No (Pending) No (Pending) Yes Due to military draft Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination (in work and education) Yes Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender. Surgery no longer a requirement beginning in 2015[51]

Southeast Asia[edit]

LGBT rights in Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Brunei Brunei No Illegal
Penalty: Fines and imprisonment up to 10 years or death by stoning[1]
No No No No No No
Myanmar Burma No Illegal
Penalty: Up to life sentence[1]
No No No No No No
Cambodia Cambodia Yes Legal
(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)[1]
No No Constitutional ban since 1993, 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.[1]
No No No Emblem-question.svg Yes Bans hate crimes based on sexual orientation Emblem-question.svg
Indonesia Indonesia Yes Legal nationwide, except;
No Illegal in the provinces of Aceh and South Sumatra and the city of Palembang (Applies only to Muslims)[52][53][1] (Age of consent discrepancy)
No No No No[54] No No
Laos Laos Yes Legal
(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)[1]
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 always legal[1]

No No No No No No
Philippines Philippines Yes Legal nationwide since 1933
[55][1][56]
No (Pending)[55] No (Pending)[57] No LGBT individuals may adopt.[58] Yes Since 2009 Yes[59] Cebu[60] Quezon City, Davao[61] and Albay have anti-discrimination ordinances[62] (National bill pending but still not made into law) No (Pending)[63]
Singapore Singapore No Male illegal
Penalty: up to 2 years prison sentence (Not enforced since 1999)
Yes Female legal since 2007[1]
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, but only after sex reassignment surgery.
Thailand Thailand Yes Legal since 1956
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No (Proposed)[64] No No Yes Since 2005 Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination. Yes Transsexuals may change their legal name after having a sex change operation.[65]
Vietnam Vietnam Yes Legal
(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)[1]
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No Yes Sex-change recognized for sex assignment for persons of congenital sex defects and unidentifiable sex. Gender reassignment surgery from 2017

Partially recognized or unrecognized states[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Abkhazia Abkhazia Yes Legal after 1991 No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Nagorno-Karabakh Yes Legal since 2000 No No Constitutionally banned since 2006 [66] No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Northern Cyprus Northern Cyprus Yes Legal since 2014[67][68][1] No No No No Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination[67][68] Yes Discrimination or hate speech banned since 2014.[67][68]

Emblem-question.svg Unknown if gender change is legal.

State of Palestine Palestinian territories West Bank:
Yes Legal since 1951 (As part of Jordan)[1]
Gaza:
No Male illegal
Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment
Yes Female always legal[1]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
South Ossetia South Ossetia Yes Legal after 1991 No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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 ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc "State Sponsored Homophobia 2016: A world survey of sexual orientation laws: criminalisation, protection and recognition" (PDF). International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
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  3. ^ MV Media (20 April 2014). "Brunei: Sultan institutes death penalty for homosexuality". Muslim Village. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "7 countries still put people to death for same-sex acts". ILGA. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  5. ^ "Kazakhstan Says No to Gays in Military". Eurasianet. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Employment (Equality) Ordinance 2013
  7. ^ Referendum in Armenia brings constitutional reforms
  8. ^ Armenia Central Electoral Commission announces constitutional referendum final results
  9. ^ "Armenia: Gays live with threats of violence, abuse". United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c "Map shows how Europe forces trans people to be sterilized". Gay Star News. 
  11. ^ Rainbow Europe Country Index
  12. ^ LAW OF GEORGIA ON THE ELIMINATION OF All FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION
  13. ^ Russian Gay History
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  17. ^ Iraq: Sexual Orientation, Human Rights and the Law
  18. ^ Erez Levon (January 2008). National Discord: Language, Sexuality and the Politics of Belonging in Israel. p. 45-46. This amendment to the penal code entailed a de jure decriminalization of sodomy since, in 1963, the Israeli Supreme Court had already issued a de facto decriminalization, ruling that the anti-sodomy law (which dated back to the British Mandate of Palestine; Mandatory Criminal Ordinance of 1936) could not be prosecuted (Yosef Ben-Ami vs. The Attorney General of Israel, 224/63). 
  19. ^ LGBTQ Timeline
  20. ^ Attorney General rules same sex couples eligible to adopt, ynet, February 10, 2008.
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  30. ^ Kuwait Law
  31. ^ Lebanon Just Did a Whole Lot More Than Legalize Being Gay
  32. ^ Syria, Middle East
  33. ^ Bangladesh government makes Hijra an official gender option
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  66. ^ [1]
  67. ^ a b c "Northern Cyprus Decriminalizes Homosexuality and Protects LGBTs Against Hate Speech". kaosgl.com. 
  68. ^ a b c (Turkish) Kuzey Kıbrıs’ın “Eşcinsellik Suçu” Yasası Tarihe Karıştı!

External links[edit]