LGBT rights in Yemen

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Yemeni Civil War.svg
StatusIllegal: Islamic Sharia Law is applied
(Republic of Yemen)
PenaltyLashes, prison and up to execution
(Republic of Yemen)
Gender identityNo
Discrimination protectionsNone
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsNo recognition of same-sex unions

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) persons in Yemen face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity could be punished by up to death. LGBT persons are regularly prosecuted by the government and additionally face stigmatization among the broader population.

Legality of same-sex sexual acts[edit]

Republic of Yemen[edit]

Constitutional law[edit]

The Constitution of Republic Of Yemen, amended in 2001, does not explicitly address LGBT rights. It does guarantee certain human rights to all citizens, with the condition that all legislation must be compatible with principles of Islamic Shariah law.[1]

Penal Code[edit]

Punishment for homosexuality in Yemen can originate from the codified penal code, or from people seeking to enforce traditional Islamic morality.

Article 264 of the national penal code prohibits private consensual homosexual acts between adult men. The stipulated punishment in the law for unmarried men is 100 lashes and up to a year in prison. The law stipulates that married men convicted of homosexuality are to be put to death.[2]

Article 268 of the national penal code prohibits private consensual homosexual acts between adult women. The law stipulates that premeditated acts of lesbianism are punished with up to three years in prison.[2]

In addition to the penal code, punishment for homosexuality can originate from people seeking to enforce traditional Islamic morality within their own family or for the broader society. In vigilante cases such as this, the punishment for homosexuality is oftentimes death.[3]

Yemeni Civil War (2015–present)[edit]

al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula[edit]

In 2013 there were credible reports of members of the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were killing men for allegedly being gay.[4]

Islamic State[edit]

Media censorship[edit]

The government blocks access to webpages that express support of LGBT rights. This policy of censorship also extends to publications and magazines in Yemen.

In 2010, the magazine Al Thaqafiya was shut down by the government for publishing a review of the Egyptian film titled, Heena Maysara (translates to "Till things get better"). The reviewer, a Yemeni filmmaker named Hamid Aqbi, expressed some support for LGBT rights while discussing the film.[5][full citation needed]

In 2004, the Yemem Times, an English-language magazine, was allowed to publish an opinion piece opposing legal recognition of gay marriage.

In 2003, the Week, an Arabic-language magazine, published an article that included interviews with Yemeni men imprisoned for homosexuality. The three journalists involved with the article were convicted by the government.[6][full citation needed]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal No/No (Penalty: Lashes, prison and up to execution)
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
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
LGBT people 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. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of Yemen, 1994". 28 February 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b "GayLawNet - Laws - Yemen". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  3. ^ "No Place for Gays in Yemen - Inter Press Service". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  4. ^ House, Freedom (24 December 2015). "Freedom in the World 2015: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties". Rowman & Littlefield. Retrieved 17 December 2017 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Gay City News, April 29, 2010
  6. ^ Aljazeera, May 18, 2004