It’s Still Illegal To Be Gay in 72 Countries

Notice a pattern anyone?

New Delhi: Homosexuality continues to be a crime in 72 countries and territories around the world, even warranting the death sentence in some. According to a report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), same-sex relations can result in a prison sentence up to life in dozens of countries and in eight it can even lead to a death penalty.

Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia and northern Nigeria criminalise same-sex relations under Sharia law, while the ISIS commits extrajudicial executions of homosexuals in Syria and Iraq. In these harsher nations, penalties differ for married and unmarried men, and are often more lenient for women.

In Yemen, married men can be stoned to death for homosexual intercourse, while unmarried men face whipping or one year in prison, and women seven years imprisonment. In Qatar, the law against sodomy applies only to Muslims; in Saudi Arabia, a non-Muslim can be killed for engaging in gay sex with a Muslim.

Five countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan, the UAE, Qatar and Mauritania – have a death penalty on the books, but there’s no evidence that adults engaging in consensual sex in private have been prosecuted. In a slew of South Asian and African nations influenced by British colonial penal code, homosexuality carries a prison sentence. And a total of 40 countries still have a ‘gay panic’ clause that allows defendants to claim they were provoked to commit a crime because of the victim’s sexuality.

LGBTQ people in these states are often triply persecuted by government, families and terrorist or extremist religious groups. Many flee as refugees to neighbouring host countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, but don’t always succeed in escaping abuse. In July 2016, a gay Syrian refugee was kidnapped, raped and beheaded in Turkey.