Violence against LGBT people

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people can face violence motivated by hateful attitudes towards their sexuality or gender identity.[1] Violence may be executed by the state, as in laws prescribing corporal punishment for homosexual acts (see homosexuality laws), or by individuals engaging in intimidation, mobbing, assault, or lynching (see gay bashing, trans bashing). Violence targeted at people because of their perceived sexuality can be psychological or physical and can extend to murder. These actions may be motivated by homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and may be influenced by cultural, religious, or political mores and biases.[2]

Currently, homosexual acts are legal in almost all Western countries, and in many of these countries violence against LGBT people is classified as a hate crime,[3] with such violence often being connected with conservative or religious leaning ideologies which condemn homosexuality, or being perpetrated by individuals who associate homosexuality with being weak, ill, feminine, or immoral. Outside the West, many countries, particularly those where the dominant religion is Islam, most African countries (excluding South Africa), most Asian countries (excluding the LGBT-friendly countries of Israel, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines) and some former-Communist countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, such as Russia, Poland, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, are currently very dangerous for LGBT people because of discrimination against homosexuals which influences both discriminatory legislation and physical violence.[4]

In Europe, the European Union's Employment Equality Framework Directive and Charter of Fundamental Rights offer some protection against sexuality-based discrimination.

Historically, state-sanctioned persecution of homosexuals was mostly limited to male homosexuality, termed "sodomy". During the medieval and early modern period, the penalty for sodomy was usually death. During the modern period (from the 19th century to the mid-20th century) in the Western world, the penalty was usually a fine or imprisonment.

There was a drop in locations where homosexual acts remained illegal from 2009 when there were 80 countries worldwide (notably throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and in most of Africa, but also in some of the Caribbean and Oceania) with five carrying the death penalty[5] to 2016 when 72 countries criminalized consensual sexual acts between adults of the same sex[6].

Brazil is reported to have the world's highest LGBT murder rate, with more than 380 murders in 2017 alone, an increase of 30% compared to 2016.[7]

State-sanctioned violence[edit]

Historic[edit]

The knight von Hohenberg and his squire, being burned at the stake for sodomy, Zurich 1482 (Zurich Central Library)

The Middle East[edit]

An early law against sexual intercourse between men is recorded in Leviticus by the Hebrew people, prescribing the death penalty. A violent law regarding homosexual intercourse is prescribed in the Middle Assyrian Law Codes (1075 BCE), stating: "If a man lay with his neighbor, when they have prosecuted him (and) convicted him, they shall lie with him (and) turn him into a eunuch".

In the account given in Tacitus Germania, the death penalty was reserved for two kinds of capital offenses: military treason or desertion was punished by hanging, and moral infamy (cowardice and homosexuality: ignavos et imbelles at corpore infames); Gordon translates corpore infames as "unnatural prostitutes"; Tacitus refers to male homosexuality, see David F. Greenberg, The construction of homosexuality, p. 242 f. Scholarship compares the later Germanic concept of Old Norse argr, Langobardic arga, which combines the meanings "effeminate, cowardly, homosexual", see Jaan Puhvel, 'Who were the Hittite hurkilas pesnes?' in: A. Etter (eds.), O-o-pe-ro-si (FS Risch), Walter de Gruyter, 1986, p. 154.

Europe[edit]

Execution by fire and torture of five homosexual Franciscan monks, Bruges, 26 July 1578

In Republican Rome, the poorly attested Lex Scantinia penalized an adult male for committing a sex crime (stuprum) against an underage male citizen (ingenuus). It is unclear whether the penalty was death or a fine. The law may also have been used to prosecute adult male citizens who willingly took a pathic role in same-sex acts, but prosecutions are rarely recorded and the provisions of the law are vague; as John Boswell has noted, "if there was a law against homosexual relations, no one in Cicero's day knew anything about it."[8] When the Roman Empire came under Christian rule, all male homosexual activity was increasingly repressed, often on pain of death.[9] In 342 CE, the Christian emperors Constantius and Constans declared same-sex marriage to be illegal.[10] Shortly after, in the year 390 CE, emperors Valentinian II, Theodosius I and Arcadius declared homosexual sex to be illegal and those who were guilty of it were condemned to be publicly burned alive.[9] Emperor Justinian I (527–565 CE) made homosexuals a scapegoat for problems such as "famines, earthquakes, and pestilences."[11]

Laws and codes prohibiting homosexual practice were in force in Europe from the fourth[9] to the twentieth centuries, and Muslim countries have had similar laws from the beginnings of Islam in the seventh century up to and including the present day. Abbasid Baghdad, under the Caliph Al-Hadi (785–786 CE), punished homosexuality with death.

During the Middle Ages, the Kingdom of France and the City of Florence also instated the death penalty. In Florence, a young boy named Giovanni di Giovanni (1350–1365?) was castrated and burned between the thighs with a red-hot iron by court order under this law.[12][13] These punishments continued into the Renaissance, and spread to the Swiss canton of Zürich. Knight Richard von Hohenberg (died 1482) was burned at the stake together with his lover, his young squire, during this time. In France, French writer Jacques Chausson (1618–1661) was also burned alive for attempting to seduce the son of a nobleman.

In 17th century Malta, there was harsh prejudice and laws towards those who were found guilty or speak openly of being involved in same-sex activity. English voyager and author William Lithgow, writing in March 1616, says a Spanish soldier and a Maltese teenage boy were publicly burnt to ashes for confessing to have practiced sodomy together.[14] As a consequence, and fear to similar faith, about a hundred males involved in same-sex prostitution sailed to Sicily the following day. This episode, published abroad by a foreign writer, is the most detailed account of LGBT life during the rule of the Order. It represents that homosexuality was still a taboo, but a widespread practice, an open secret, and LGBT-related information was suppressed.[15]

In England, the Buggery Act of 1534 made sodomy and bestiality punishable by death. This act was replaced in 1828, but sodomy remained punishable by death under the new act until 1861. The last executions were in 1835.

In Nazi Germany, homosexuals were among the groups targeted by the Holocaust (See Persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust). (In 1936, the homosexual Federico García Lorca was executed by right-wing rebels who became Franco's dictatorship in Spain, Hitler's ally.) Neo-Nazis generally oppose homosexuality to the extent of supporting a renewed persecution the way it took place in Nazi Germany. Being homosexual is equated with being unmasculine and the German word ″Schwul″ ('gay') is used by German Neonazis as a curse word.[16]

Contemporary[edit]

Worldwide laws regarding same-sex intercourse and freedom of expression and association
Same-sex intercourse legal
  
Marriage1
  
Marriage recognized but not performed1
  
Civil unions1
  
Unregistered cohabitation1
  
Same-sex unions not recognized
  
Laws restricting freedom of expression and association
Same-sex intercourse illegal
  
Unenforced penalty2
  
Imprisonment
  
Up to life imprisonment
  
Death penalty
Rings indicate areas where local judges have granted or denied marriages or imposed the death penalty in a jurisdiction where that is not otherwise the law or areas with a case-by-case application.
1Some jurisdictions in this category may currently have other types of partnerships.
2No arrests in the past three years or moratorium on law.

As of August 2016, 72 countries criminalize consensual sexual acts between adults of the same sex.[6] They are punishable by death in eight countries:

Countries where homosexual acts are criminalized but not punished by death, by region, include:[18]

Africa

Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria (death penalty in some states), Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia (death penalty in some states), South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Asia

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Kuwait, Malaysia, Aceh, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Gaza Strip under Palestinian Authority

America

Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Pacific Islands

Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands[19]

Afghanistan, where such acts remain punishable with fines and a prison sentence, dropped the death penalty after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, who had mandated it from 1996. India criminalized homosexuality until June 2, 2009, when the High Court of Delhi declared section 377 of the Indian Penal Code invalid.[19]

Jamaica has some of the toughest sodomy laws in the world, with homosexual activity carrying a 10-year jail sentence.[20][20][21][22]

International human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International condemn laws that make homosexual relations between consenting adults a crime.[23][24] Since 1994, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has also ruled that such laws violated the right to privacy guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.[25][26][27]

Level of criminalization[edit]

Worldwide, As of September 2018, homosexuality is illegal 71 countries (if Palestine is included, where homosexuality is illegal in Gaza but legal in West Bank), 2 disputed territories (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and Somaliland) and 1 territory (Cook Islands) by a total of 73. However, all the countries and territories in The Americas and Oceania where homosexuality is illegal the penalty is not enforced de facto and in some cases the legalization has been proposed or is pending, the same situation repeat itself in few countries in Asia and Africa:

Africa[edit]

In Africa, homosexuality is illegal in 34 of 54 countries (Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros. Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and in 2 disputed territories (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and Somaliland) by a total of 36. However, is legal in 20 countries, in all 8 territories and in a few countries of Africa where homosexuality is illegal the penalty is not enforced de facto and in some cases the legalization has been proposed or is pending.

LGBT rights in: Region Same-sex sexual activity
Unenforced penalty (11 countries)
 Algeria Northern Africa No Illegal since 1966

Penalty: Fine and up to 2 years imprisonment (Not enforced).

 Angola Southern Africa No De facto illegal since 1886 (as part of the Province of Angola)

Penalty: Fines, restrictions or penal labor (Not enforced). Legalization pending

 Botswana Southern Africa No Illegal since 1885 (as part of the Bechuanaland Protectorate)

Penalty: Fine to up to 7 years imprisonment (Not enforced). Legalization pending

 Burundi Southeast Africa No Illegal since 2009

Penalty: 3 months to 2 years imprisonment (Not enforced).

 Comoros Indian Ocean States No Illegal since 1982

Penalty: 5 years imprisonment and fines (Not enforced).

 Eritrea Horn of Africa No Illegal since 1957 (as part of the Federation of Ethiopia and Eritrea)

Penalty: Up to 3 years imprisonment (Not enforced).

 Ghana Western Africa No Male illegal since 1860s (as the Gold Coast)

Penalty: 10 years imprisonment or more (Not enforced). Yes Female always legal

 Mauritius Indian Ocean States No Male illegal since 1838 (as part of British Mauritius)

Penalty: Up to 5 years imprisonment (Not enforced). Yes Female always legal + UN decl. sign.

 Namibia Southern Africa No Male illegal since 1920 (as part of South-West Africa) (Not enforced)

Yes Female always legal

 Sierra Leone Western Africa No Male illegal since 1861 (as the Sierra Leone Colony and Protectorate)

Penalty: Up to life imprisonment (Not enforced). Yes Female always legal + UN decl. sign.

 Togo Western Africa No Illegal since 1884 (as Togoland)

Penalty: Fine and 3 years imprisonment (Not enforced).

Imprisonment (17 countries and 2 disputed territories)
 Cameroon Central Africa No Illegal since 1972

Penalty: Fines to 5 years imprisonment.

 Chad Southern Africa No Illegal since 2017

Penalty: 3 months to 2 years imprisonment.

 Egypt Northern Africa Yes/No Male de jure legal, but de facto illegal since 2000

Penalty: Up to 17 years imprisonment with or without hard labour and with or without fines under broadly-written morality laws. Emblem-question.svg Female uncertain.

 Ethiopia Horn of Africa No Illegal

Penalty: 10 years imprisonment or more.

 Guinea Western Africa No Illegal since 1988

Penalty: 6 months to 3 years imprisonment.

 Kenya Southeast Africa No Illegal since 1897 (as the East Africa Protectorate)

Penalty: up to 14 years imprisonment.

 Liberia Western Africa No Illegal since 1976

Penalty: 1 year imprisonment.

 Libya Northern Africa No Illegal since 1953
 Malawi Southern Africa No Illegal since 1891 (as part of the Shire Highlands Protectorate and the Nyasaland Districts Protectorate)

Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment and whippings (Law suspended from usage since 2012).

 Morocco (including Southern Provinces) Northern Africa No Illegal since 1962

Penalty: Up to 3 years imprisonment.

 Nigeria Western Africa No Illegal under federal law since 1901 (as the Northern Nigeria Protectorate and the Southern Nigeria Protectorate)

Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment. No Death in the states of Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara.

 Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Disputed territory; excluding Southern Provinces) Northern Africa No Illegal since 1944 (as part of the Overseas Province of Spanish Sahara)

Penalty: Up to 3 years imprisonment.

 Senegal Western Africa No Illegal since 1966

Penalty: 1 to 5 years imprisonment.

 Somalia Horn of Africa No No Illegal since 1962

Penalty: Up to death (no known cases of death sentences have been handed out for same-sex sexual activity).

 Somaliland (Disputed territory) Horn of Africa No No Illegal

Penalty: Up to death (no known cases of death sentences have been handed out for same-sex sexual activity).

 South Sudan Northern Africa No Illegal since 1899 (as Anglo-Egyptian Sudan)

Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment.

 Swaziland Southern Africa No Male illegal since the 1880s

Yes Female always legal

 Tunisia Northern Africa No Illegal since 1913 (as the French protectorate of Tunisia) Penalty: 3 years imprisonment.

Legalization proposed

 Zimbabwe Southern Africa No Male illegal since 1891 (as part of the British South Africa Company rule of Rhodesia)

Yes Female legal

Up to life imprisonment (4 countries)
 Gambia Western Africa No Illegal since 1888 (as the Gambia Colony and Protectorate)

Penalty: Up to Iife imprisonment.

 Tanzania Southeast Africa No Illegal since 1864 (only Zanzibar)

Illegal since 1899 Penalty: Up to life imprisonment.

 Uganda Southeast Africa No Male illegal since 1894

Penalty: Up to life imprisonment. Emblem-question.svg Female uncertain

 Zambia Southern Africa No Illegal since 1911 (as part of the British South Africa Company rule of Rhodesia)

Penalty: up to 14 years imprisonment.

Death penalty (2 countries)
 Mauritania Western Africa No No Illegal since 1983

Penalty: Death by stoning.

 Sudan Northern Africa No No Illegal since 1899 (as Anglo-Egyptian Sudan)

Penalty: Death penalty on third offense for men and on fourth offense for women.

The Americas[edit]

In The Americas, homosexuality is illegal in 9 of 35 countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) by a total of 9. However is legal 26 countries, in all 21 territories, and in all the countries in The Americas where homosexuality is illegal the penalty is not enforced de facto and in some cases the legalization has been proposed or is pending.

LGBT rights in: Region Same-sex sexual activity
Unenforced penalty (9 countries)
 Antigua and Barbuda Caribbean No Illegal

Penalty: 15-year prison sentence (Not enforced).

 Barbados Caribbean No Illegal

Penalty: Life imprisonment (Not enforced). Legalization proposed

 Dominica Caribbean No Illegal

Penalty: 10-year prison sentence or incarceration in a psychiatric institution (Not enforced). + UN decl. sign.

 Grenada Caribbean No Male illegal

Penalty: 10-year prison sentence (Not enforced). Yes Female always legal

 Guyana South America No Illegal

Penalty: Up to life imprisonment (Not enforced).

 Jamaica Caribbean No Male illegal

Penalty: 10 years hard labor (Not enforced). Yes Female always legal.

 Saint Kitts and Nevis Caribbean No Male illegal

Penalty: 10 years (Not enforced). Yes Female always legal

 Saint Lucia Caribbean No Male illegal

Penalty: Fine and/or 10-year prison sentence (Not enforced). Yes Female always legal

 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Caribbean No Illegal

Penalty: Fine and/or 10-year prison sentence (Not enforced).

Asia[edit]

In Asia, homosexuality is illegal in 21 of 49 countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen) by a total of 21. However is legal in 28 countries, in all 4 territories, and in a few countires of Asia where homosexuality is illegal the penalty is not enforced de facto and in some cases the legalization has been proposed or is pending.

LGBT rights in: Region Same-sex sexual activity
Unenforced penalty (6 countries)
 Bhutan South Asia No Illegal

Penalty: Prison sentence up to 1 year (Not enforced).

 Lebanon West Asia No Illegal under Article 534 of the Penal Code (Not enforced). Some judges have ruled not to prosecute individuals based on the law, however, this has not been settled by the Supreme Court and thus homosexuality is still illegal.

Legalization pending.

 Myanmar Southeast Asia No Illegal

Penalty: Up to life sentence (Not enforced).

 Pakistan South Asia No Illegal

Penalty: 2 years to life sentence (Not enforced).

 Singapore Southeast Asia No Male illegal

Penalty: up to 2 years prison sentence (Not enforced since 1999). Yes Female legal since 2007

 Sri Lanka South Asia No Illegal

Legalization proposed

Imprisonment (11 countries)
 Afghanistan Central Asia No No Illegal

Penalty: Long imprisonment or death penalty (No known cases of death sentences have been handed out for same-sex sexual activity after the end of Taliban rule).

 Brunei Southeast Asia No No Illegal

Penalty: Fines and imprisonment up to 10 years or death by stoning (No known cases of death sentences have been handed out for same-sex sexual activity).

 Kuwait West Asia No Male illegal

Penalty: Fines or up to 6-year prison sentence. Yes Female always legal

 Malaysia Southeast Asia No Illegal

Penalty: fines, prison sentence (2-20 years), or whippings.

 Maldives South Asia No Illegal

Penalty: For men, the punishment is banishment for nine months to one year or a whipping of 10 to 30 strokes. For women, it is house arrest for nine months to one year.

 Oman West Asia No Illegal

Penalty: Fines and prison sentence up to 3 years (Only enforced when dealing with "public scandal").

 Qatar West Asia No No Illegal

Penalty: Fines, up to 7 years imprisonment, or death penalty (Not enforced).

 Syria West Asia No Illegal

Penalty: Up to 3 years imprisonment (Law de facto suspended)

 Turkmenistan Central Asia No Male illegal

Penalty: up to 2 years imprisonment. Yes Female always legal

 United Arab Emirates West Asia No No Illegal under federal law

Penalty: deportation, fines, prison sentences or death penalty (Not enforced). Illegal in the emirate of Dubai

Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment. Illegal in the emirate of Abu Dhabi Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment.

 Uzbekistan Central Asia No Male illegal

Penalty: up to 3 years imprisonment. Yes Female always legal

Up to life imprisonment (1 country)
 Bangladesh South Asia No Illegal

Penalty: 10 years to life imprisonment.

Death penalty (3 countries)
 Iran West Asia No No Illegal

Penalty: 74 lashes for immature men and death penalty for mature men (although there are recorded cases of minors who were executed because of their sexual orientation). For women, 50 lashes for women of mature sound mind and if consenting. Death penalty offense after fourth conviction.

 Saudi Arabia West Asia No No Illegal

Penalty: Prison sentences of several months to life, fines and/or whipping/flogging, castration, torture or death can be sentenced on first conviction. A second conviction merits execution.

 Yemen West Asia No No Illegal

Penalty: Unmarried men punished with 100 lashes of the whip or a maximum of one year of imprisonment, married men with death by stoning. Women punished up to three years of imprisonment; where the offense has been committed under duress, the punishment is up to seven years detention.

Oceania[edit]

In Oceania, homosexuality is illegal in 6 of 14 countries (Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu) and in 1 of 12 territories (Cook Islands) by a total of 7. However, it is legal in 8 countries, in 11 territories and in all the countries and territories in Oceania where homosexuality is illegal the penalty is not enforced de facto and in some cases the legalization has been proposed or is pending.

LGBT rights in: Region Same-sex sexual activity
Unenforced penalty (6 countries and 1 territory)
 Cook Islands (Part of the Realm of New Zealand) Polynesia No Male illegal

Penalty: 5-14 years imprisonment (Not enforced). Legalization pending Yes Female legal + UN decl. sign.

 Kiribati Micronesia No Male illegal

Penalty: 5-14 years imprisonment (Not enforced). Yes Female legal

 Papua New Guinea Melanesia No Male illegal

Penalty: 3 to 14 years imprisonment (Not enforced). Yes Female always legal

 Samoa Polynesia No Male illegal

Penalty: 5-7 years imprisonment (Not enforced). Yes Female always legal + UN decl. sign.

 Solomon Islands Melanesia No Illegal

Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment (Not enforced).

 Tonga Polynesia No Male illegal

Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment (Not enforced). Yes Female always legal

 Tuvalu Polynesia No Male illegal

Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment (Not enforced). Yes Female legal + UN decl. sign.

Legal[edit]

Worldwide, as of September 2018, homosexuality is legal in 133 of 193 countries (in the UN), in 7 of 9 disputed territories (with the exceptions of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and Somaliland) and in 50 of 51 territories (with the exception of the Cook Islands) by a total of 190. However, in various countries where homosexuality is illegal the penalty is not enforced de facto and in some cases the legalization has been proposed or is pending.

Africa[edit]

In Africa, as of September 2018, homosexuality is legal in 20 of 54 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles and South Africa) and in all 8 territories (Canary Islands, Ceuta, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Madeira, Mayotte, Melilla, Réunion and Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha) by a total of 28. However, in a few countries in Africa where homosexuality is illegal the penalty is not enforced de facto and in some cases the legalization has been proposed or is pending.

Northern Africa
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Canary Islands (Autonomous community of Spain) Yes Legal since 1979

+ UN decl. sign.

 Ceuta (Autonomous city of Spain) Yes Legal since 1979

+ UN decl. sign.

 Madeira (Autonomous region of Portugal) Yes Legal since 1983

+ UN decl. sign.

 Melilla (Autonomous city of Spain) Yes Legal since 1979

+ UN decl. sign.

Western Africa
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Benin Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country);

Age of consent discrepancy

 Burkina Faso Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)
 Cape Verde Yes Legal since 2004

+ UN decl. sign.

 Guinea-Bissau Yes Legal since 1993

+ UN decl. sign.

 Ivory Coast Yes Legal since 1993

+ UN decl. sign.

 Mali Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)
 Niger Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country);

Age of consent discrepancy

Central Africa
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Central African Republic Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)

+ UN decl. sign.

 Democratic Republic of the Congo Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)
 Equatorial Guinea Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)
 Gabon Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)

+ UN decl. sign.

 Republic of the Congo Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country);

Age of consent discrepancy

 Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 2001

+ UN decl. sign.

 São Tomé and Príncipe Yes Legal since 2012

+ UN decl. sign.

Southeast Africa
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Rwanda Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)

+ UN decl. sign.

Horn of Africa
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Djibouti Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)
Indian Ocean states
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 French Southern and Antarctic Lands (Overseas territory of France) Yes Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the territory)

 Madagascar Yes Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country); Age of consent discrepancy

 Mayotte (Overseas region of France) Yes Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the region)

 Réunion (Overseas region of France) Yes Legal since 1791
 Seychelles Yes Legal since 2016

+ UN decl. sign.

Southern Africa
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Lesotho Yes Male legal since 2012

Female always legal

 Mozambique Yes Legal since 2015
 South Africa Yes Male legal since 1998

Female always legal + UN decl. sign.

The Americas[edit]

In The Americas, as of September 2018, homosexuality is legal in 26 of 35 countries (Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela) and in all 21 territories (Anguilla, Aruba, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius), Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Sint Maarten, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands and United States Virgin Islands) by a total of 47. However, in all countries in The Americas where homosexuality is illegal the penalty is not enforced de facto and in some cases the legalization has been proposed or is pending.

North America
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Bermuda (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 1994;

Age of consent discrepancy + UN decl. sign.

 Canada Yes Legal since 1969

+ UN decl. sign.

 Greenland (constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark) Yes Legal since 1933

+ UN decl. sign.

 Mexico Yes Legal since 1871

+ UN decl. sign.

 Saint Pierre and Miquelon (Overseas collectivity of France) Yes Legal since 1791

+ UN decl. sign.

 United States Yes Legal in some states since 1962, nationwide since 2003
Central America
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Belize Yes Legal since 2016
 Costa Rica Yes Legal since 1971

+ UN decl. sign

 El Salvador Yes Legal since the 1822

+ UN decl. sign.

 Guatemala Yes Legal since 1871

+ UN decl. sign.

 Honduras Yes Legal since 1899

+ UN decl. sign.

 Nicaragua Yes Legal since 2008

+ UN decl. sign.

 Panama Yes Legal since 2008

+ UN decl. sign.

Caribbean
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Anguilla (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 2001

+ UN decl. sign.

 Aruba (Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)

+ UN decl. sign.

 Bahamas Yes Legal since 1991;

Age of consent discrepancy + UN decl. sign.

 British Virgin Islands (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 2001

+ UN decl. sign.

 Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius; special municipalities of the Netherlands) Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the municipalities)

+ UN decl. sign.

 Cayman Islands (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 2001; Age of consent discrepancy

+ UN decl. sign.

 Cuba Yes Legal since 1979

+ UN decl. sign.

 Curaçao (Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)

+ UN decl. sign.

 Dominican Republic Yes Legal since 1822

+ UN decl. sign.

 Guadeloupe (Overseas department of France) Yes Legal since 1791

+ UN decl. sign.

 Haiti Yes Legal since 1791 (as Saint-Domingue)
 Martinique (Overseas department of France) Yes Legal since 1791

+ UN decl. sign.

 Montserrat (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 2001

+ UN decl. sign.

 Puerto Rico (Commonwealth of the United States) Yes Legal since 2003
 Saint Barthélemy (Overseas collectivity of France) Yes Legal since 1791

+ UN decl. sign.

 Saint Martin (Overseas collectivity of France) Yes Legal since 1791

+ UN decl. sign.

 Sint Maarten (Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) Yes Legal (No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)

+ UN decl. sign.

 Trinidad and Tobago Yes Legal since 2018
 Turks and Caicos Islands (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 2001

+ UN decl. sign.

 United States Virgin Islands (Territory of the United States) Yes Legal since 1985
South America
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Argentina Yes Legal since 1853

+ UN decl. sign.

 Bolivia Yes Legal since 1832

+ UN decl. sign.

 Brazil Yes Legal since 1831

+ UN decl. sign.

 Chile Yes Legal since 1999;

Aof consent discrepancy + UN decl. sign.

 Colombia Yes Legal since 1981

+ UN decl. sign.

 Ecuador Yes Legal since 1997

+ UN decl. sign.

 Falkland Islands (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 1989

+ UN decl. sign.

 French Guiana (Overseas department of France) Yes Legal since 1791

+ UN decl. sign.

 Paraguay Yes Legal since 1880; Age of consent discrepancy

+ UN decl. sign.

 Peru Yes Legal since 1924

+ UN decl. sign.

 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 2001

+ UN decl. sign.

 Suriname Yes Legal since 1869 (as Dutch Guiana);

Age of consent discrepancy + UN decl.

 Uruguay Yes Legal since 1934

+ UN decl. sign.

 Venezuela Yes Legal since 1997

+ UN decl. sign.

Asia[edit]

In Asia, as of September 2018, homosexuality is legal in 28 of 49 countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, East Timor, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Palestine, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam) with 3 exceptions (in the provinces of Aceh, South Sumatra, and the city of Palembang (Applies only to Muslims) in Indonesia; in Gaza, Palestine; and Chechnya, Russia where homosexuals are abducted and sent to concentration camps based on their perceived sexual orientation. See Gay concentration camps in Chechnya), but is also legal in all 4 disputed territories (Abkhazia, Artsakh, Northern Cyprus and South Ossetia) and in all 4 territories (Akrotiri and Dhekelia, British Indian Ocean Territory, Hong Kong and Macau). However, a few countries in Asia where homosexuality is illegal the penalty is not enforced de facto and in some cases the legalization has been proposed or is pending.

Central Asia
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Kyrgyzstan Yes Legal since 1998
 Tajikistan Yes Legal since 1998
Eurasia
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Abkhazia (Disputed territory) Yes Legal after 1991
 Akrotiri and Dhekelia (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 2000

+ UN decl. sign.

 Armenia Yes Legal since 2003

+ UN decl. sign.

 Artsakh (Disputed territory) Yes Legal since 2000
 Azerbaijan Yes Legal since 2000
 Cyprus Yes Legal since 1998

+ UN decl. sign.

 Georgia Yes Legal since 2000

+ UN decl. sign.

 Kazakhstan Yes Legal since 1998
 Northern Cyprus (Disputed territory) Yes Legal since 2014
 Russia Yes Male legal since 1993

Female always legal No Illegal in practice in Chechnya, where homosexuals are abducted and sent to concentration camps based on their perceived sexual orientation. See Gay concentration camps in Chechnya for more information.

 South Ossetia (Disputed territory) Yes Legal after 1991
 Turkey Yes Legal since 1858
West Asia
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Bahrain Yes Legal since 1976
 Iraq Yes Legal since 2003
 Israel Yes Legal since 1963 (de facto), 1988 (de jure)

+ UN decl. sign.

 Jordan Yes Legal since 1951
 Palestine (Disputed territory) West Bank:

Yes Legal since 1951 (As part of Jordan) Gaza: No Male illegal Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment. Yes Female always legal

South Asia
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 British Indian Ocean Territory (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 2001

+ UN decl. sign.

 India Yes Legal since 2018
   Nepal Yes Legal since 2007

+ UN decl. sign.

East Asia
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 China Yes Legal since 1997
 Hong Kong (Special administrative region of China) Yes Legal since 1991
 Japan Yes Legal since 1880

+ UN decl. sign.

 Macau (Special administrative region of China) Yes Legal since 1996
 Mongolia Yes Legal since 1961

+ UN decl. sign.

 North Korea Yes Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)

 South Korea Yes Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country) + UN decl. sign.

 Taiwan Yes Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)

Southeast Asia
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Cambodia Yes Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)

 East Timor Yes Legal since 1975

+ UN decl. sign.

 Indonesia Yes Legal nationwide, except;

No Illegal in the provinces of Aceh, South Sumatra, and the city of Palembang (Applies only to Muslims); Age of consent discrepancy

 Laos Yes Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)

 Philippines Yes Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country)

 Thailand Yes Legal since 1956

+ UN decl. sign.

 Vietnam Yes Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the country) + UN decl. sign.

Europe[edit]

Since 2014, homosexuality is legal in all 51 countries, 5 disputed territories and 6 dependencies and other territories of Europe, becoming in the first continent where homosexuality is legal completely.

European Union
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 European Union Yes Legal in all 28 member states
Central Europe
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Austria Yes Legal since 1971

+ UN decl. sign.

 Croatia Yes Legal since 1977 (As part of Yugoslavia)

+ UN decl. sign.

 Czech Republic Yes Legal since 1962 (As part of Czechoslovakia)

+ UN decl. sign.

 Germany Yes Legal in East Germany since 1968

Legal in West Germany since 1969 + UN decl. sign.

 Hungary Yes Legal since 1962

+ UN decl. sign.

 Liechtenstein Yes Legal since 1989

+ UN decl. sign.

 Poland Yes Legal

+ UN decl. sign.

 Slovakia Yes Legal since 1962 (As part of Czechoslovakia)

+ UN decl. sign.

 Slovenia Yes Legal since 1977 (As part of Yugoslavia)

+ UN decl. sign.

  Switzerland Yes Legal nationwide since 1942

Legal in the cantons of Geneva (as part of France), Ticino, Valais, and Vaud since 1798 + UN decl. sign.

Eastern Europe
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Abkhazia (Disputed territory) Yes Legal after 1991
 Armenia Yes Legal since 2003

+ UN decl. sign.

 Artsakh (Disputed territory) Yes Legal since 2000
 Azerbaijan Yes Legal since 2000
 Belarus Yes Legal since 1994
 Georgia Yes Legal since 2000

+ UN decl. sign.

 Kazakhstan Yes Legal since 1998
 Moldova Yes Legal since 1995

+ UN decl. sign.

 Romania Yes Legal since 1996

+ UN decl. sign.

 Russia Yes Male legal since 1993

Female always legal

 South Ossetia (Disputed territory) Yes Legal after 1991
 Transnistria (Disputed territory) Yes Legal since 2002
 Ukraine Yes Legal since 1991

+ UN decl. sign.

Northern Europe
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Denmark Yes Legal since 1933

+ UN decl. sign.

 Estonia Yes Legal since 1992

+ UN decl. sign.

 Faroe Islands (Constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark) Yes Legal since 1933

+ UN decl. sign.

 Finland (includes Åland Islands) Yes Legal since 1971

+ UN decl. sign.

 Iceland Yes Legal since 1940

(As part of Denmark) + UN decl. sign.

 Latvia Yes Legal since 1992

+ UN decl. sign.

 Lithuania Yes Legal since 1993

+ UN decl. sign.

 Norway Yes Legal since 1972

+ UN decl. sign.

 Sweden Yes Legal since 1944

+ UN decl. sign.

Southern Europe
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Akrotiri and Dhekelia (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 2000

+ UN decl. sign.

 Albania Yes Legal since 1995

+ UN decl. sign.

 Andorra Yes Legal since 1990

+ UN decl. sign.

 Bosnia and Herzegovina Yes Legal since 1996 in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Republika Srpska since 1998, and in Brčko District since 2003

+ UN decl. sign.

 Bulgaria Yes Legal since 1968

+ UN decl. sign.

 Cyprus Yes Legal since 1998

+ UN decl. sign.

 Gibraltar (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 1993

+ UN decl. sign.

 Greece Yes Legal since 1951 + UN decl. sign.
 Italy Yes Legal since 1890

+ UN decl. sign.

 Kosovo (Disputed territory) Yes Legal since 1994

(as part of Yugoslavia)

 Macedonia Yes Legal since 1996

+ UN decl. sign.

 Malta Yes Legal since 1973

+ UN decl. sign.

 Montenegro Yes Legal since 1977 (As part of Yugoslavia)

+ UN decl. sign.

 Northern Cyprus (Disputed territory) Yes Legal since 2014
 Portugal Yes Legal since 1983

+ UN decl. sign.

 San Marino Yes Legal since 1865

+ UN decl. sign.

 Serbia Yes Legal from 1858, when nominally a vassal of the Ottoman Empire to 1860, and again since 1994 (As part of Yugoslavia)

+ UN decl. sign.

 Spain Yes Legal since 1979

+ UN decl. sign.

 Turkey Yes Legal since 1858
  Vatican City Yes Legal since 1890 (As part of Italy)
Western Europe
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Belgium Yes Legal nationwide since 1795

+ UN decl. sign.

 France Yes Legal nationwide since 1791

Legal in Savoy since 1792 + UN decl. sign.

 Guernsey (Crown dependency of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 1983

+ UN decl. sign.

 Ireland Yes Male legal since 1993

Female always legal + UN decl. sign.

 Isle of Man (Crown dependency of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 1992

+ UN decl. sign.

 Jersey (Crown dependency of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 1990

+ UN decl. sign.

 Luxembourg Yes Legal since 1795

+ UN decl. sign.

 Monaco Yes Legal since 1793

+ UN decl. sign.

 Netherlands Yes Legal since 1811

+ UN decl. sign.

 United Kingdom Yes Male legal in England and Wales since 1967, in Scotland since 1981, and in Northern Ireland since 1982

Female always legal + UN decl. sign.

Oceania[edit]

As of September 2018, homosexuality is legal in 8 of 14 countries (Australia (including territories of  Christmas Island,  Cocos (Keeling) Islands and  Norfolk Island), Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau and Vanuatu) and in 11 of 12 territories (American Samoa, Easter Island, French Polynesia, Guam, New Caledonia, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Pitcairn Islands, Tokelau, United States Minor Outlying Islands and Wallis and Futuna) of Oceania. However, all the countries and territories in Oceania where homosexuality is illegal the penalty is not enforced de facto and in some cases the legalization has been proposed or is pending.

Australasia
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Australia (including territories of  Christmas Island,  Cocos (Keeling) Islands and  Norfolk Island) Yes Legal in some states and territories since 1975, nationwide since 1997

+ UN decl. sign.

 New Zealand Yes Legal since 1986

+ UN decl. sign.

Melanesia
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Fiji Yes Legal since 2010

+ UN decl. sign.

 New Caledonia (Special collectivity of France) Yes Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the collectivity) + UN decl. sign.

 Vanuatu Yes Legal since 2007

+ UN decl. sign.

Micronesia
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 Guam (Unincorporated territory of the United States) Yes Legal since 1978
 Micronesia Yes Legal

+ UN decl. sign.

 Marshall Islands Yes Legal since 2005

+ UN decl. sign

 Nauru Yes Legal since 2016

+ UN decl. sign.

 Northern Mariana Islands (Unincorporated territory of the United States) Yes Legal since 1983
 Palau Yes Legal since 2014

+ UN decl. sign.

 United States Minor Outlying Islands (Unincorporated territories of the United States) Yes Legal
Polynesia
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity
 American Samoa (Unincorporated territory of the United States) Yes Legal since 1980
 Easter Island (Special territory of Chile) Yes Legal since 1999;

Age of consent discrepancy + UN decl. sign.

 French Polynesia (Overseas collectivity of France) Yes Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the collectivity) + UN decl. sign.

 Niue (Part of the Realm of New Zealand) Yes Legal since 2007

+ UN decl. sign.

 Pitcairn Islands (Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom) Yes Legal since 2001

+ UN decl. sign.

 Tokelau (Part of the Realm of New Zealand) Yes Legal since 2007

+ UN decl. sign.

 Wallis and Futuna (Overseas collectivity of France) Yes Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed in the collectivity) + UN decl. sign.

Criminal assault[edit]

Even in countries where homosexuality is legal (most countries outside of Africa and the Middle East), there are reports of homosexual people being targeted with bullying or physical assault or even homicide.

According to the Grupo Gay da Bahia, Brazil's oldest gay rights NGO, the rate of murders of homosexuals in Brazil is particularly high, with a reported 3,196 cases over the 30-year period of 1980 to 2009 (or about 0.7 cases per 100,000 population per annum).[28] Brazilian gay group Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB) reported 190 documented alleged homophobic murders in Brazil in 2008, accounting for about 0.5% of intentional homicides in Brazil (homicide rate 22 per 100,000 population as of 2008). 64% of the victims were gay men, 32% were trans women or transvestites, and 4% were lesbians.[29] By comparison, the FBI reported five homophobic murders in the United States during 2008, corresponding to 0.03% of intentional homicides (homicide rate 5.4 per 100,000 population as of 2008).

The numbers produced by the Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB) have occasionally been contested on the grounds that they include all murders of LGBT people reported in the media — that is, not only those motivated by bias against homosexuals. Reinaldo de Azevedo, columnist of the right-wing Veja magazine, Brazil's most read weekly publication, called the GGB's methodology "unscientific" based on the above objection: that they make no distinction between murders motivated by bias and those that were not.[30] On the high level of murders of transsexuals, he suggested transsexuals' allegedly high involvement with the drug trade may expose them to higher levels of violence as compared to non-transgender homosexuals and heterosexuals.

Vigil held in Minneapolis for victims of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting

In many parts of the world, including much of the European Union and United States, acts of violence are legally classified as hate crimes, which entail harsher sentences if convicted. In some countries, this form of legislation extends to verbal abuse as well as physical violence.

Violent hate crimes against LGBT people tend to be especially brutal, even compared to other hate crimes: "an intense rage is present in nearly all homicide cases involving gay male victims". It is rare for a victim to just be shot; he is more likely to be stabbed multiple times, mutilated, and strangled. "They frequently involved torture, cutting, mutilation... showing the absolute intent to rub out the human being because of his (sexual) preference".[31] In a particularly brutal case in the United States, on March 14, 2007, in Wahneta, Florida, 25-year-old Ryan Keith Skipper was found dead from 20 stab wounds and a slit throat. His body had been dumped on a dark, rural road less than 2 miles from his home. His two alleged attackers, William David Brown, Jr., 20, and Joseph Eli Bearden, 21, were indicted for robbery and first-degree murder. Highlighting their malice and contempt for the victim, the accused killers allegedly drove around in Skipper's blood-soaked car and bragged of killing him. According to a sheriff's department affidavit, one of the men stated that Skipper was targeted because "he was a faggot."[32]

In Canada in 2008, police-reported data found that approximately 10% of all hate crimes in the country were motivated by sexual orientation. Of these, 56% were of a violent nature. In comparison, 38% of all racially motivated offenses were of a violent nature.[32]

In the same year in the United States, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation data, though 4,704 crimes were committed due to racial bias and 1,617 were committed due to sexual orientation, only one murder and one forcible rape were committed due to racial bias, whereas five murders and six rapes were committed based on sexual orientation.[33] In Northern Ireland in 2008, 160 homophobic incidents and 7 transphobic incidents were reported. Of those incidents, 68.4% were violent crimes; significantly higher than for any other bias category. By contrast, 37.4% of racially motivated crimes were of a violent nature.[32]

People's ignorance of and prejudice against LGBT people can contribute to the spreading of misinformation about them and subsequently to violence. In 2018, a transgender woman was killed by a mob in Hyderabad, India, following false rumors that transgender women were sex trafficking children. Three other transgender women were injured in the attack.[34]

Recent research on university-level students indicated the importance of queer visibility and its impact in creating a positive experience for LGBTIQ+ members of a campus community, this can reduce the impact and effect of incidents on youth attending university. When there is a poor climate - students are much less likely to report incidents or seek help.[35]

Legislation against homophobic hate crimes[edit]

Members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe began describing hate crimes based on sexual orientation (as opposed to generic anti-discrimination legislation) to be counted as aggravating circumstance in the commission of a crime in 2003.[36]

The United States does not have federal legislation marking sexual orientation as criteria for hate crimes, but several states, including the District of Columbia, enforce harsher penalties for crimes where real or perceived sexual orientation may have been a motivator. Among these 12 countries as well, only the United States has criminal law that specifically mentions gender identity, and even then only in 11 states and the District of Columbia.[32] In November 2010, the United Nations General Assembly voted 79-70 to remove "sexual orientation" from the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, a list of unjustified reasons for executions, replacing it with "discriminatory reasons on any basis".[37] The resolution specifically mentions a large number of groups, including race, religion, linguistic differences, refugees, street children and indigenous peoples.[38]

Legal and police response to these types of hate crimes is hard to gauge, however. Lack of reporting by authorities on the statistics of these crimes and under-reporting by the victims themselves are factors for this difficulty.[32] Often a victim will not report a crime as it will shed unwelcome light on their orientation and invite more victimization.[39]

Alleged judicative bias[edit]

"It's pretty disturbing that somebody that [kills] a person in cold blood gets out very quickly…."

Canadian MLA Spencer Herbert[39]

Legal defenses like the gay panic defense allow for more lenient punishments for people accused of beating, torturing, or killing homosexuals because of their orientation. These arguments posit that the attacker was so enraged by their victim's advances as to cause temporary insanity, leaving them unable to stop themselves or tell right from wrong. In these cases, if the loss of faculties is proven, or sympathized to the jury, an initially severe sentence may be significantly reduced. In several common law countries, the mitigatory defense of provocation has been used in violent attacks against LGBT persons, which has led several Australian states and territories to modify their legislation, in order to prevent or reduce the using of this legal defense in cases of violent responses to non-violent homosexual advances.

There have been several highly publicized cases where people convicted of violence against LGBT people have received shorter sentences. One such case is that of Kenneth Brewer. On 30 September 1997, he met Stephen Bright at a local gay bar. He bought the younger man drinks and they later went back to Brewer's apartment. While there, Brewer made a sexual advance toward Bright, and Bright beat him to death. Bright was initially charged with second-degree murder, but he was eventually convicted of third-degree assault and was sentenced to one year in prison.[40][41] Cases like Bright's are not isolated. In 2001, Aaron Webster was beaten to death by a group of youths armed with baseball bats and a pool cue while hanging around an area of Stanley Park frequented by gay men. Ryan Cran was convicted of manslaughter in the case in 2004 and released on parole in 2009 after serving only 4 years of his six-year sentence.[39] Two youths were tried under Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act and sentenced to three years after pleading guilty. A fourth assailant was acquitted.[39]

Judges are not immune to letting their own prejudices affect their judgment either. In 1988, Texas Judge Jack Hampton gave a man 30 years for killing two gay men, instead of the life sentence requested by the prosecutor. After handing down his judgment, he said: "I don't much care for queers cruising the streets picking up teenage boys ...[I] put prostitutes and gays at about the same level ... and I'd be hard put to give somebody life for killing a prostitute."[40]

In 1987, a Florida judge trying a case concerning the beating to death of a gay man asked the prosecutor, "That's a crime now, to beat up a homosexual?" The prosecutor responded, "Yes, sir. And it's also a crime to kill them." "Times have really changed," the judge replied. The judge, Daniel Futch, maintained that he was joking, but was removed from the case.[31][40]

Attacks on gay pride parades[edit]

"No one needs lesbians, no one will ever get you out of here."

Moscow police to women arrested at a demonstration[32]

LGBT Pride Parades often attract violence because of their public nature. Though many countries where such events take place attempt to provide police protection to participants, some would prefer that the parades not happen, and police either ignore or encourage violent protesters. The country of Moldova has shown particular contempt to marchers, shutting down official requests to hold parades and allowing protesters to intimidate and harm any who try to march anyway. In 2007, after being denied a request to hold a parade, a small group of LGBT people tried to hold a small gathering. They were surrounded by a group twice their size who shouted derogatory things at them and pelted them with eggs. The gathering proceeded even so, and they tried to lay flowers at the Monument to the Victims of Repression. They were denied the opportunity, however, by a large group of police claiming they needed permission from city hall.[32]

The following year, a parade was again attempted. A bus carried approximately 60 participants to the capital, but before they could disembark, an angry crowd surrounded the bus. They shouted things like "let's get them out and beat them up", and "beat them to death, don't let them escape" at the frightened passengers. The mob told the activists that if they wanted to leave the bus unharmed, they would have to destroy all of their pride materials. The passengers complied and the march was called off. All the while, police stood passively about 100 meters away, taking no action even though passengers claimed at least nine emergency calls were made to police while on the bus.[32][42][43]

Russia's officials are similarly averse to Pride Parades. Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov has repeatedly banned marches, calling them "satanic".[44] Pride participants instead tried to peacefully assemble and deliver a petition to city hall regarding the right of assembly and freedom of expression. They were met by skinheads and other protesters, and police who had closed off the square and immediately arrested activists as they entered. As some were being arrested, other participants were attacked by protesters. Police did nothing. Around eleven women and two men were arrested and left in the heat, denied medical attention, and verbally abused by police officers. The officers told the women, "No one needs lesbians, no one will ever get you out of here." When participants were released from custody hours later, they were pelted by eggs and shouted at by protesters who had been waiting.[32][45]

Hungary, on the other hand, has tried to afford the best protection they can to marchers, but cannot stem the flow of violence. In 2008, hundreds of people participated in the Budapest Dignity March. Police, on alert due to attacks on two LGBT-affiliated businesses earlier in the week, erected high metal barriers on either side of the street the march was to take place on. Hundreds of angry protesters threw petrol bombs and rocks at police in retaliation. A police van was set on fire and two police officers were injured in the attacks. During the parade itself, protesters threw Molotov cocktails, eggs and firecrackers at marchers. At least eight participants were injured.[46] Forty-five people were detained in connection with the attacks, and observers called the spectacle "the worst violence during the dozen years the Gay Pride Parade has taken place in Budapest".[32][47]

In Israel, three marchers in a gay pride parade in Jerusalem on June 30, 2005 were stabbed by Yishai Shlisel, a Haredi Jew. Shlisel claimed he had acted "in the name of God". He was charged with attempted murder.Ten years later, On 30 July 2015, six marchers were injured, again by Yishai Shlisel when he stabbed them. It was three weeks after he was released from jail. One of the victims, 16-year-old Shira Banki, died of her wounds at the Hadassah Medical Center three days later, on 2 August 2015. Shortly after, Prime Minister Netanyahu offered his condolences, adding "We will deal with the murderer to the fullest extent of the law."

Advocacy in song lyrics[edit]

Buju Banton, a Jamaican musician, performing in 2007.

As a result of the strong anti-homosexual culture in Jamaica, many reggae and dancehall artists, such as Buju Banton, Elephant Man, Sizzla, have published song lyrics advocating violence against homosexuals. Similarly, hip-hop music occasionally includes aggressively homophobic lyrics,[48] but has since appeared to reform.

Banton wrote a song when he was 15 years old that became a hit when he released it years later in 1992 called "Boom Bye Bye". The song is about murdering homosexuals and "advocated the shooting of gay men, pouring acid on them and burning them alive."[21] A song by Elephant Man proclaims: "When you hear a lesbian getting raped/It's not our fault ... Two women in bed/That's two sodomites who should be dead."[20]

Canadian activists have sought to deport reggae artists from the country due to homophobic content in some of their songs, which they say promote anti-gay violence. In the UK, Scotland Yard has investigated reggae lyrics and Sizzla was barred from entering the United Kingdom in 2004 over accusations his music promotes murder.[21][49]

Gay rights advocates have started the group Stop Murder Music to combat what they say is the promotion of hate and violence by artists. The group organized protests, causing some venues to refuse to allow the targeted artists to perform, and the loss of sponsors. In 2007, the group asked reggae artists to promise "not to produce music or make public statements inciting hatred against gay people. Neither can they authorise the re-release of previous homophobic songs." Several artists signed that agreement, including Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton,[21] but some later denied signing it.[20][50]

During the 1980s, skinheads in North America who promoted emerging neo-Nazi pop culture and racist rock songs increasingly went to punk rock concerts that with anti-gay music advocating violence.

Motivations[edit]

Macho culture and social homophobia[edit]

The vast majority of homophobic criminal assault is perpetrated by male aggressors on male victims, and is connected to aggressive heterosexual machismo or male chauvinism. Theorists including Calvin Thomas and Judith Butler have suggested that homophobia can be rooted in an individual's fear of being identified as gay. Homophobia in men is correlated with insecurity about masculinity.[48][51][52] For this reason, allegedly homophobia is rampant in sports, and in the subculture of its supporters, that are considered stereotypically "male", such as football and rugby.[53]

These theorists have argued that a person who expresses homophobia does so not only to communicate their beliefs about the class of gay people, but also to distance themselves from this class and its social status. Thus, by distancing themselves from gay people, they are reaffirming their role as a heterosexual in a heteronormative culture, thereby attempting to prevent themselves from being labeled and treated as a gay person.

Various psychoanalytic theories explain homophobia as a threat to an individual's own same-sex impulses, whether those impulses are imminent or merely hypothetical. This threat causes repression, denial or reaction formation.[54]

Religious[edit]

Religious texts[edit]

Some verses of the Bible are often interpreted as forbidding homosexual relations.[55][56]

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

— Leviticus 18:22

And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

— Leviticus 20:13

The above verses are the cause of tension between the devout of the Abrahamic religions and members of the LGBT community. It is viewed by many as an outright condemnation of homosexual acts between men, and, more commonly in ancient times than today, justification for violence.

In Religion Dispatches magazine, Candace Chellew-Hodge argues that the six or so verses that are often cited to condemn LGBT people are referring instead to "abusive sex." She states that the Bible has no condemnation for "loving, committed, gay and lesbian relationships" and that Jesus was silent on the subject.[57]

Christianity[edit]

In today's society, many Christian denominations welcome people attracted to the same sex, but teach that same sex relationships and homosexual sex are sinful.[58][59] These denominations include the Roman Catholic Church,[59][60] the Eastern Orthodox church,[61] the Methodist Church,[58][62][63][64] and many other mainline denominations, such as the Reformed Church in America[65] and the American Baptist Church,[66] as well as Conservative Evangelical organizations and churches, such as the Evangelical Alliance,[67] and the Southern Baptist Convention.[68][69][70] Likewise, Pentecostal churches such as the Assemblies of God,[71] as well as Restorationist churches, like Jehovah's Witnesses and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also take the position that homosexual activity is immoral.[72][73]

Some Christian groups advocate conversion therapy and promote ex-gay groups. One such group, Exodus International, argued that conversion therapy may be a useful tool for decreasing same-sex desires,[74] and, while former affiliates of Exodus continue with such views, Exodus has since repudiated the organization's mission [75] and apologised for the pain and hurt and promoting "sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents."[76][77] The medical and scientific consensus in the United States is that conversion therapy is likely harmful and should be avoided because it may exploit guilt and anxiety, thereby damaging self-esteem and leading to depression and even suicide.[78][79][80] There is a broad concern in the mental health community that the advancement of conversion therapy itself causes social harm by disseminating inaccurate views about sexual orientation and the ability of gay, lesbian and bisexual people to lead happy, healthy lives.[78] This promotion of the idea that homosexuality is immoral and can be corrected may make would-be attackers of homosexuals feel justified in that they are "doing God's work" by ridding the world of LGBT people.[81]

The Catholic Church teaches that a homosexual orientation is not sinful and that LGBT people are to be treated with compassion and respect, as all others are. It also teaches that sex is meant to be had between opposite sex spouses. A 1992 letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, condemned gay bashing.[82] It said that LGBT people "have the same rights as all persons including the right of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity."[83] It adds that

It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.[83][84]

However, in the same letter Ratzinger suggested that anti-gay violence could be the fault of victims if they push too hard to seek equal rights, thereby absolving responsibility by those who conduct violent behaviour:

When civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground and irrational and violent reactions increase.[83]

Pope Benedict XVI, then the leader of the Roman Catholic Church stated that "protecting" humanity from homosexuality was just as important as saving the world from climate change and that all relationships beyond traditional heterosexual ones are a "destruction of God's work."[81][dead link] Pope Francis has been seen as more welcoming to LGBT people, saying to a gay man that "God made you like this. God loves you like this. The Pope loves you like this and you should love yourself and not worry about what people say."[85][86][87][88]

Evangelicals in Africa sometimes use religion to justify violence against LGBT people and criminalizing homosexual behavior. Archbishops Peter Akinola of Nigeria and Henry Orombi of Uganda would not condemn violence against gays and lesbians when questioned on the issue at the Global Anglican Future Conference.[89] Mark Russell, Chief Executive of Church Army, expressed outrage over their resistance, stating "Quite honestly [refusal to condemn violence against gay people in their home countries] is disgraceful, it sullies their cause, and is totally un-Christian. You cannot justify violence in God's name. Period. [...] Those who perpetrate violence against gay people in Africa now can use this silence to justify their behaviour. Christians must speak up and say this is wrong."[89]

Islam[edit]

The Quran, the book of Islam, cites the story of the "people of Lot" (also known as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah), destroyed by the wrath of Allah because they engaged in lustful carnal acts between men.

Scholars of Islam, such as Shaykh al-Islām Imam Malik, and Imam Shafi amongst others, ruled that Islam disallowed homosexuality and ordained capital punishment for a person guilty of it.[90]

The legal punishment for sodomy has varied among juristic schools: some prescribe capital punishment; while other prescribe a milder discretionary punishment. Homosexual activity is a crime and forbidden in most Muslim-majority countries. In some relatively secular Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia,[91] Jordan and Turkey, this is not the case.

The Quran, much like the Bible and Torah, has a vague condemnation of homosexuality and how it should be dealt with, leaving it open to interpretation. For this reason, Islamic jurists have turned to the collections of the hadith (sayings of Muhammad) and Sunnah (accounts of his life). These, on the other hand, are perfectly clear and particularly harsh.[92] Ibn al-Jawzi records Muhammad as cursing sodomites in several hadith, and recommending the death penalty for both the active and passive partners in same-sex acts.[93]

Sunan al-Tirmidhi again reports Muhammad as having prescribed the death penalty for both the active and the passive partner: "Whoever you find committing the sin of the people of Lot, kill them, both the one who does it and the one to whom it is done."[90] The overall moral or theological principle is that a person who performs such actions challenges the harmony of God's creation, and is therefore a revolt against God.[94]

Though it must be noted that these views vary depending upon sect. It is noteworthy to point out that Quranists (those who do not integrate the aforementioned Hadiths into their belief system) do not advocate capital punishment.[95]

Some imams still preach their views, stating that homosexuals and "women who act like men" should be executed under the Islamic law. Abu Usamah at Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham defended his words to followers by saying "If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be executed, that's my freedom of speech, isn't it?"[96]

Other contemporary Islamic views are that the ″crime of homosexuality is one of the greatest of crimes, the worst of sins and the most abhorrent of deeds″.[97] Homosexuality is considered the 11th major sin in Islam, in the days of the companions of Muhammad, a slave boy was once forgiven for killing his master who sodomized him.[98]

The 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting was at the time the deadliest mass shooting by an individual and remains the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history.[99][100][101] On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 at Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.[102] The act has been described by investigators as an Islamic terrorist attack and a hate crime.[103][104]

Judaism[edit]

In Judaism, the death penalty against homosexuality has not been used in practice for more than 2000 years, though many movements still view homosexual acts as sinful. Orthodox Judaism generally prohibits homosexual conduct. While there is disagreement about which acts come under core prohibitions, all of Orthodox Judaism puts certain core homosexual acts, including sodomy in the category of yehareg ve'al ya'avor—"die rather than transgress"—the small category of Biblically-prohibited acts (also including murder, idolatry, adultery, and incest) which an Orthodox Jew is obligated under the laws of self-sacrifice under Jewish Law to die rather than do.

See also[edit]

Prejudicial attitudes
Violence
See also

References[edit]

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External links[edit]