LGBT rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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This article is about the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). For the Republic of the Congo (also known as Congo-Brazzaville), see LGBT rights in the Republic of the Congo.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (orthographic projection).svg
Discrimination protectionsNo[2]
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsNo

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity is legal.

Laws regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity is legal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Age of consent is equal, regardless of sex.[1] Homosexual acts have never been explicitly outlawed in the country's history. Before the foundation of the state in 1960, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was ruled by the European colonial power Belgium. In Belgium, homosexual acts were decriminalized in 1794.

Although same-sex sexual activity is legal, the U.S. Department of State's 2010 Human Rights Report found that "individuals engaging in public displays of homosexuality were subject to prosecution under public decency provisions in the penal code and articles in the 2006 law on sexual violence."[2]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

There is no legal recognition of same-sex unions. The first paragraph of article 40, in the current Congolese constitution, states that "Every individual has the right to marry the person of their choice, of the opposite sex".[4]

Discrimination protections[edit]

There is no anti-discrimination law protecting sexual orientation.[2]

Living conditions[edit]

The U.S. Department of State's 2010 Human Rights Report found that "homosexuality remained a cultural taboo, and while harassment by state security forces continued, there were no reports during the year of police harassing gays and lesbians or perpetrating or condoning violence against them."[2]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Always legal)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 2006)
Anti-discrimination laws in hate speech and violence No
Anti-discrimination laws in employment No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Same-sex marriage No (Constitutional ban since 2005)
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 Emblem-question.svg
Right to change legal gender Emblem-question.svg
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 2016: A world survey of sexual orientation laws: criminalisation, protection and recognition" (PDF). International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  3. ^ Congo (République Démocratique)
  4. ^ (in French) Constitution de la République Démocratique du Congo Archived 12 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine