LGBT rights in Syria

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LGBT rights in Syria Syria
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Illegal
Up to 3 years imprisonment to vigilante executions, death in ISIL controlled territories (see LBGT rights in ISIL-controlled territories)
Gender identity/expression -
Family rights

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) persons in Syria face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Syria.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, there have been reports of gay Syrians being blackmailed, tortured and killed in areas controlled by Islamist rebels.[1]

Laws against homosexuality[edit]

The Constitution stipulates that Islam is the official religion, and a source of the nation's laws.

Article 520 of the penal code of 1949, prohibits having homosexual relations, i.e. "carnal relations against the order of nature", and provides for up to 3 three-years imprisonment.[2]


In 2004 a Syrian woman named Hiba came forward as a transsexual who had been given permission to have a sex change operation.[3]

2003 UN vote[edit]

In 2003 Syria, in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, voted to postpone a United Nations draft resolution on human rights and sexual orientation. The vote was 24-17. The draft resolution would have the Commission express deep concern at the occurrence of violations of human rights in the world against persons on the grounds of their sexual orientation; stress that human rights and fundamental freedoms were the birthright of all human beings, and that the universal nature of these rights and freedoms was beyond question; and call upon all States to promote and protect the human rights of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation.

HIV/AIDS issues[edit]

The first reported cases of HIV infection were in 1987.[4]

In 2005 the Deputy Minister of Religious Endowments publicly stated that HIV-AIDS were divine punishment for people that engaged in fornication and homosexuality. That same year, the Health Ministry stated that only 369 persons in Syria were infected with HIV and that the government offers such persons "up-to-date medicines to combat this disease freely".[5] Yet, Non-governmental organizations estimate that there are truly at least five times that many and the United Nations chastised the government for its ineffective prevention methods.[6][7]

Beyond tolerating the work of some NGOs, the government has established voluntary clinics that can test for AIDS-HIV and distribute some educational pamphlets, but comprehensive public education, especially for LGBT people, does not exist.[8]

Instead, the government launched a limited AIDS-HIV educational program for youth in secondary schooling.[9]

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. ^ "How Jihadists Are Blackmailing, Torturing, and Killing Gay Syrians". VICE. 
  2. ^ "Syria: Treatment and human rights situation of homosexuals" (PDF). Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Syria: Cleric saves transsexual". Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "369 infected with AIDS in Syria". Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "". 16 June 2006. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "EGYPT-SYRIA: Governments criticised for approach against HIV/AIDS". 7 June 2006. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  8. ^ "". United Nations .sy. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  9. ^ "" (PDF). Retrieved 20 January 2011.