LGBT rights in Asia

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LGBT rights in Asia
Asia (orthographic projection).svg
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, 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 some Muslim nations: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Iran, and Yemen.[3][4]

Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Nepal, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam 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 Assembly 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.

In 2016, during an African-led coalition to dislodge the recently established UN expert on LGBT issues, the majority of Asian nations backed to retain the role of the UN LGBT expert, with only Muslim nations, with the addition of China and Singapore, declaring their opposition.

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 (3/5 legal in both sexes)[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 Yes[6]
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan Yes Legal since 1998[1] No No No Emblem-question.svg No Yes[6]
Tajikistan Tajikistan Yes Legal since 1998[1] No No No Emblem-question.svg No Yes[6]
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 (all legal)[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
Akrotiri and Dhekelia Akrotiri and Dhekelia
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Yes Legal since 2000
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
Yes Since 2005 Yes Legal since 2014 Emblem-question.svg Yes Britain responsible for defence Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination[7] Emblem-question.svg
Armenia Armenia Yes Legal since 2003
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No No Constitutionally banned since 2015[8][9] No No/Yes No explicit ban. However, LGBT persons have been reportedly discharged because of their sexual orientation.[10] No No
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Yes Legal since 2000[1] No No No No No Yes (Requires sterilization for change).[11]
Cyprus Cyprus Yes Legal since 1998
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
Yes Since 2015 No No No Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination[12] 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[13] Yes (Requires sterilization for change)[11]
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Nagorno-Karabakh Yes Legal since 2000 No No Constitutionally banned since 2006 [14] No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Northern Cyprus Northern Cyprus Yes Legal since 2014[15][16][1] No No No No Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination[15][16] Yes Discrimination or hate speech banned since 2014.[15][16]

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

Russia Russia Yes Male legal since 1993
Female always legal[17][1]
Illegal in practice in Chechnya
No No (Constitutional ban proposed) No LGBT individuals may adopt. Yes Unofficial Don't ask, don't tell policy No Yes (Requires sterilization for change)[11]
South Ossetia South Ossetia Yes Legal after 1991 No No No Emblem-question.svg No Emblem-question.svg
Turkey Turkey Yes Legal since 1858[1] No No No No (Proposed)[18] No (Proposed)[19] Yes (Requires sterilization for change)

Western Asia (6/14 legal)[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 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.[20]
Iraq Iraq Yes Legal since 2003[21] No No No No No No
Israel Israel Yes Legal since 1963 (de facto), 1988 (de jure)[22]
+ UN decl. sign.[1][23]
Yes Unregistered cohabitation since 1994. No/Yes There are no civil marriages available in Israel for Same-Sex or Opposite Sex Couples and any non-religious marriage is unrecognized if performed in country, but foreign same-sex marriages are fully recognized by the government and recorded in the population registry of the Ministry of the Interior . Yes Step-child adoption since 2005.
Joint adoption since 2008.[24][25]
Yes Since 1993 Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination;[26][27] Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty applies to homosexuals and bisexuals.[28] Yes Full recognition of gender's ID without a surgery or medical intervention;[29] equal employment opportunity law bars discrimination based on gender identity;[30][31] Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty applies to transgender individuals.[30][32]
Jordan Jordan Yes Legal since 1951[1] No No No Emblem-question.svg No Yes Legal since 2014[33]
Kuwait Kuwait No Male illegal
Penalty: Fines or up to 6-year prison sentence
Yes Female always legal[1][34]
No No No No No No
Lebanon Lebanon Yes Legal since 2014[35] 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
State of Palestine Palestinian Territories (Gaza Strip) West Bank:
Yes Legal since 1951 (As part of Jordan)[1]
Gaza:No
No Male illegal
Penalty: (de facto) Death/ Extra judicial Execution, (de jure) Up to 10 years imprisonment
Yes Female always legal[1]
No No No Emblem-question.svg No No
Qatar Qatar No Illegal
Penalty: Fines, prison sentence up to 7 years.[1]
No No No No No No
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia No 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)[36][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
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 Yes Sex reassignment surgery for people whose gender is unclear or whose physical features do not match their physiological, biological and genetic characteristics.[37][38][39]
Yemen Yemen No 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 (Only Nepal is legal)[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[40]
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[41]
Penalty: 10 years to life imprisonment (sporadically enforced)[42][41][1]
No No explicit recognition.[43] No No explicit recognition.[43] No Transgender individuals may adopt. No[44] No Yes "Third gender" recognised by Supreme Court[45]
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 since 2015. Yes Gender change is legal since 2007.
Constitution bans all discrimination.[46]
Pakistan Pakistan No Illegal
Penalty: 2 years to life sentence[1]
No No No No No Yes Right to change gender; transgender and intersex citizens have protection form all discrimination and harassment.[47]
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka No Illegal
Penalty: Fine and up to 10 years imprisonment (Not enforced)[1]
No No No No[citation needed] Yes All anti-gay discrimination banned since 2017. No

Eastern Asia (all countries legal)[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 Transgender people 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.[citation needed]
No Government employment, goods and services only Yes Transgender people allowed to change legal gender, but only after sex reassignment surgery.
Japan Japan Yes Legal since 1880
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No/Yes Non-legally binding partnerships in 6 municipal jurisdictions (Shibuya, Setagaya, Iga, Takaraduka, Naha, Sapporo) No No Yes No/Yes No nationwide protections, but some cities ban some anti-gay discriminations[1] (Nationalwide workplace protections pending) Yes Transgender people allowed to change legal gender, but only after sex reassignment surgery and in case that the individual 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)[48]
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 some anti-gay discrimination. Yes Transgender people 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 (Life partnership proposed) No No No No Yes Transgender people allowed to change legal gender
Taiwan Taiwan, Republic of China Yes Legal since 1895[49] No/Yes check.svg Registered partnership in Kaohsiung,[50] Taipei,[51] Taichung (2015),[52] Tainan,[53] New Taipei,[54] Taoyuan,[55] Chiayi cities,[56] Changhua, [57] and Hsinchu counties(2016). Nationwide since July, 2017.[58] No/Yes check.svg(Legal before or since May 24, 2017[59]) No (Pending. LGBT individuals may adopt.) Yes Due to military draft Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination (in work and education) Yes Transgender people allowed to change legal gender. Surgery no longer a requirement beginning in 2015[60]

Southeast Asia (6/11 legal in both sexes)[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 Myanmar (Burma) No Illegal
Penalty: Up to life sentence (Not enforced) [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 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)[61][62][1] (Age of consent discrepancy)
No No No No[63] 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 Yes[64]
Philippines Philippines Yes Legal nationwide since 1933
[65][1][66]
No (Pending)[65] No (Pending)[67] No LGBT individuals may adopt.[68] Yes Since 2009 Yes[69] Cebu[70] Quezon City, Davao[71] and Albay have anti-discrimination ordinances[72] (National bill pending but still not made into law) No (Pending)[73]
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)[74] No No Yes Since 2005 Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination. Yes Transsexuals may change their legal name after having a sex change operation.[75]
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 since 2017


See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  7. ^ Employment (Equality) Ordinance 2013
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  12. ^ Rainbow Europe Country Index
  13. ^ LAW OF GEORGIA ON THE ELIMINATION OF All FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ a b c "Northern Cyprus Decriminalizes Homosexuality and Protects LGBTs Against Hate Speech". kaosgl.com. 
  16. ^ a b c (in Turkish) Kuzey Kıbrıs’ın “Eşcinsellik Suçu” Yasası Tarihe Karıştı!
  17. ^ Russian Gay History
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  34. ^ Kuwait Law
  35. ^ Lebanon Just Did a Whole Lot More Than Legalize Being Gay
  36. ^ Syria, Middle East
  37. ^ Sex-change surgery is now legal in the UAE
  38. ^ Sex reassignment surgery is now legal in the United Arab Emirates
  39. ^ New UAE law does not legalise sex change
  40. ^ Bangladesh government makes Hijra an official gender option
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  60. ^ Gender reassignment rule to be changed
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  74. ^ Same-sex marriage may come true under Thai junta
  75. ^ Gay Thailand News & Reports 2007

External links[edit]