LGBT rights in Kuwait

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StatusIllegal: Islamic Sharia Law is applied
PenaltyNot specifically outlawed, but prosecuted under the "debauchery" law with jail time up to 6 years
Gender identityNo
Discrimination protectionsNone
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsNo recognition of same-sex unions

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) persons in Kuwait face challenges not experienced by non-LGBT Kuwaitis. Homosexuality is not specifically outlawed but gay people can be prosecuted under the "debauchery" law. LGBT persons are regularly prosecuted by the government and additionally face stigmatization among the broader population.


The penal code contains some general provisions against debauchery and immorality that can be used to punish LGBT people.

  • Article 193 of the Penal Code punishes debauchery (which is interpreted by the courts to mean male homosexuality) with up to six years' imprisonment.
  • Article 198 prohibits public immorality. In 2008, the law was expanded to also outlaw "imitating the appearance of a member of the opposite sex" with fines and or imprisonment.[1]

In September 2013, it was announced that all Gulf Cooperative Countries had agreed to discuss a proposal to establish some form of, yet unknown, testing in order to ban gay foreigners from entering any of the countries.[2][3] However, it has been suggested that concern for hosting 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and fears for controversy in a case that football fans would have been screened, made officials backtrack the plans and insist that it was a mere proposal.[4]

In 2017 Saudi Instagram star King Luxy was arrested in Kuwait for allegedly looking too feminine. He spent 2 weeks in custody before he was released.[5]

HIV/AIDS issues[edit]

In 1988, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Public Health published a report on HIV infections in Kuwait,[6] especially the person's nationality, marital status and sexual orientation. In 2004 a United Nations report on HIV in Kuwait found that about six percent of known transmission cases were the result of unprotected sexual contact between men.[7]

In 1992, the National Assembly outlawed the knowing transmission of HIV to another person.

Foreigners found to be infected with AIDS/HIV are deported, but Kuwaiti citizens who are infected are entitled to out patient medical care, organized by a specialized infectious disease hospital.

LGBT rights movement in Kuwait[edit]

No known association or charity exists in Kuwait to campaign for LGBT rights or organize educational and social events for the LGBT community.

In 2007, the Al Arabiya news service reported that a group of Kuwaitis had applied for a permit to form a new association that would stand up for the rights of LGBT Kuwaitis. All such interest groups or clubs have to be approved by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, which never formally replied.

In July 2019 the group announced that they would again apply for a permit from the ministry in response to a crackdown by the Ministry of commerce on symbols representing homosexuality such as rainbows in shops [1].

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal No (Penalty: Not specifically outlawed, but prosecuted under the "debauchery" law with jail time up to 6 years)
Equal age of consent No
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 No
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[edit]


  1. ^ "Cross-dressers' heads shaved in Kuwait". Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  2. ^ "Gulf Cooperation Countries to test, detect then ban gays from entering their countries". Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  3. ^ Cavan Sieczkowski (10 September 2013). "Gulf Countries Propose Test To 'Detect' Gays, Ban Them From Entering". Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Kuwaiti authorities arrest 23 'cross-dressers and homosexuals'". Middle East Eye. 13 February 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  5. ^ Arab, The New. "This controversial Instagram star was arrested and abused for being 'too feminine' in Kuwait". alaraby. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  6. ^ "A survey for unrecognized HIV infection in a special STD clinic in Kuwait". Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  7. ^ "Kuwait" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 3, 2007. Retrieved August 21, 2007.