LGBT rights in Libya

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StatusDe facto: illegal: Islamic Sharia Law is applied
De jure: Not specifically outlawed
Up to 4 years in jail or death[1][2]

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Libya face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Since the fall of Gaddafi regime in 2011, the status regarding homosexuality in Libya remains uncertain.

Criminal laws[edit]

The country's criminal code prohibits all sexual activity outside of a lawful marriage. Under Article 410 of the Libyan Penal Code, Private homosexual acts between consenting adults are illegal.[3]

In the 1990s, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi began to enact "purification" laws designed to enforce a harsh view of Islamic law on the population. Libyan courts were given the power to use amputation, flogging and other punishments against persons found to be violating traditional Islamic morality.[4]

In 2010, the Gay Middle East blog, reported that two adult men had been charged with "indecent acts", which meant cross-dressing and homosexual conduct.[5]

Female homosexuality would also appear to be illegal, as is making any sort of public acknowledgment that a person is gay. In 2010 a French asylum case involved a Libyan girl who sought asylum after being jailed, raped and then returned to her family for a forced marriage after she made a public statement online that she was gay.[6] Vigilante executions are tolerated.[1][2]

Summary conditions[edit]

The government does not permit the public advocacy of LGBT rights. When they are discussed, it is always in a negative manner, in keeping with traditional Islamic morality.

In 2003, Gaddafi stated that he believed that it was "impossible" to contract AIDSHIV through unprotected, heterosexual vaginal sex.[7]

In February 2012 a Libyan delegate sparked outrage after telling a United Nations human rights panel that gay people threaten the future of the human race.[8]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Punishment of 4 years or vigilante execution[1] [2]
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. ^ a b c "Libyan 'Gay' Men Face Torture, Death By Militia: Report (GRAPHIC)". 26 November 2012 – via Huff Post.
  2. ^ a b c "The situation of homosexuals in Libya is getting worse".
  3. ^ "Libyan Penal Code of 1953, Amended 1956 (selected provisions related to women) – 4: Title III – Offences Against Freedom, Honour and Morals". Corpus of Laws. Women's Learning Partnership. 5 October 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  4. ^ Stokke, Hugo; Suhrke, Astri; Tostensen, Arne; Haanæs, Øystein Rygg (1997). Human Rights in Developing Countries: Yearbook 1997 (via Google Books). The Hague: Kluwer International. ISBN 978-90-411-0537-0.
  5. ^ Littauer, Dan (25 December 2010). "Libya: Two Men Arrested for 'Indecent Acts'. (via Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  6. ^ Staff (25 October 2010). "Libya: Lesbian To Request Asylum In France". Ansa Mediterranean (via Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  7. ^ Young, Craig (8 March 2011). "Being Gay under Gaddafi" Archived 2 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  8. ^ "Outrage as Libya tells United Nations: 'Gays threaten the future of the human race'".