LGBT rights in Oman

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StatusIllegal: Islamic Sharia Law is applied [1]
PenaltyUp to 3 years
Gender identity

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Oman face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Homosexuality in the Sultanate of Oman is illegal according to §§, 33 and 223 of the penal code and can be punished with a jail sentence of up to 3 years. In Oman it is said that cases only get to court if "public scandal" is involved.[1]


In 2013, an article in Omani newspaper, "The Week" (an English language weekly), suggested that Oman was more tolerant about people's sexuality than other Gulf states, even though homosexuality remains illegal there. The article traced the story of a young gay man in the country under the headline, "The Outsiders".[2]

In response the government of Oman intervened to suspend publication of the newspaper. Furthermore, the article was denounced across online social networks in Oman and by the country's journalists' association. A member of the influential Shura Council, Tawfiq al-Lawati, tweeted that the article was advocating homosexuality and suggested Oman was a safe haven for gays. He called for the information ministry to take action against the paper for breaking the country's press code.[2]

Some Omanis countered that the article was simply documenting a truth about the country and it was the job of the press to reflect reality. The paper was subsequently forced to apologise with an entire front page article. The extravagance of the apology shows just how controversial it is to broach the issue of homosexuality with any sympathy in Oman.[2]

As in all Gulf states, Oman does have an underground gay scene. It is widely seen as more tolerant than many of its neighbours as long as activities remain discreet.[2]

Growth of LGBT rights movement in Oman[edit]

Advocacy for LGBT rights in Oman is a criminal act, activists use social media with an alias to protect their identities with very rare exceptions.

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal No
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 "State-sponsored Homophobia A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults" (PDF).
  2. ^ a b c d Usher, Sebastian (3 September 2013). "Oman paper suspended amid gay row" – via