The Ten Worst Places to be LGBTQ+
LGBTQ+ rights have come a long way in the last century. From as little as 70 years ago when British mathematician and war hero Alan Turing was sentenced by British parliament to chemical castration for having a same sex relationship, to now where we have open pride parades in the streets of the U.S. and much of Europe. Gay marriage and public affection is legal in the U.S. amongst much of Europe and a handful of South American countries. Despite making strides of progress towards equality in much of the world, many people still reside in places where being LGBTQ+ is outlawed and a punishable offense. Unfortunately many of these rigid laws and restrictions on equality stem from an idea called “Sharia Law”. Sharia Law is the fundamental religious concept of Islam, basically the law and ethics code of the Islamic religion. As great as it is that equality has made leaps and bounds forward, it is still important to acknowledge that many people still live in places where LGBTQ+ rights are restricted or non existent. Out of the entire world, this list ranks the worst places to be LGBTQ+ based on law.
Coming in at the worst place to live if you are of the LGBTQ+ community is Pakistan. Pakistan takes the number one spot for a multitude of reasons. In Pakistan it is completely illegal to be gay. The punishment for those who are unmarried and caught in homosexual acts is the death penalty. It’s a catch 22 because gay marriage is also not recognized, so all homosexual activity is considered outside the bounds of marriage. Not only are individuals killed for being gay, but they are killed in an archaic fashion by being stoned or whipped to death. Ouch, that has to be a painful and gruesome way to go. For that grueling reason Pakistan ranks as the worst place to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/eoir/legacy/2013/06/11/legal%20status%20of%20homosexuality.pdf
The second worst place to be gay or of the LGBTQ+ community is the African country Mauritania. In Mauritania it is illegal to be gay, illegal to be same sex married, illegal to be homosexual and adopt children and also illegal for homosexuals to serve in the military. Mauritania is very strict when it comes to their law and LGBTQ+ rights. Homosexuality is not recognized in Mauritania and remains very taboo. Similar to Pakistan, they too carry out capital punishment by stoning for those caught in any homosexual acts. For the death penalty to be carried out there must be four witnesses that can testify that the individuals were engaging in homosexual activity. Without witnesses, they will face jail time for three to five years. It is also important to note that the death penalty is only applicable for men. For women on women acts, they will face jail time instead. Many men caught in homosexual activity attempt to flee the nation, many leaving for Europe where LGBTQ+ is more accepted. For these reasons and the comes in at second place on this list. http://www.refugeelegalaidinformation.org/mauritania-lgbti-resources
The third worst place to be gay or LGBTQ+ is Iran. Iran has officially outlawed homosexuality and made it punishable by death since 1979. Iran has seen little to none progress when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, in fact Iran is so terrible for LGBTQ+ people that a man was publicly hung for being homosexual as recently as 2019. When a reporter inquired about the public execution with Iranian Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, the government official defended Iran’s cruel punishments saying "Our society has moral principles. And we live according to these principles. These are moral principles concerning the behavior of people in general. And that means that the law is respected and the law is obeyed”. With the ongoing death sentences and recent endorsement for persecution, Iran takes third on the list. https://www.dw.com/en/iran-defends-execution-of-gay-people/a-49144899
Nigeria is the fourth worst place to be gay. In 2014 Nigeria passed a law called “The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act”. The law not only prohibited same sex marriage, but outlawed all same sex relationships or intimacy. Those caught showing same sex affection will be jailed for 10 years or more, and are even at risk of being beaten and whipped. Once the legislation was passed, law enforcement began rounding up those suspected of participating in homosexual activity. Sometimes on the simple suspicion, without needing any proof. Many individuals caught were not given lawyers or the chance at a fair trial. The law is so restrictive that anyone caught even advocating for LGBTQ+ rights is at risk to be jailed for 10 years or more. https://www.amnestyusa.org/happening-now-lgbt-nigerians-jailed-after-passage-of-new-anti-gay-law/
5) Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia takes the spot for fifth worst country to live in if you are same sex attracted or transgender. Both same sex intimacy and marriage is outlawed under Saudi Arabia law. Punishments can range from being whipped and jailed for five years for un-married homosexual acts, to the death penalty for married men who partake in homosexuality. The law also prohibits transgender or the ability to change genders, as well as illegal to cross dress or for “men to act like woman and vice versa”. In 2019, famous American singer and performer Nicki Minaj pulled out of a tour stop in Saudi Arabia allegedly because of the strict LGBTQ+ laws imposed on Saudi citizens. The superstar cited “there is no good reason for me to do business with the Saudi Dictatorship”. https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/nicki-minaj-cancels-saudi-arabia-concert-after-complaints-human-rights-n1027956
Sudan is the sixth worst place to be gay. In Sudan homosexuality is a crime punishable by a minimum of whip lashings and maximum of life sentence or death. The first offense is punishable by 100 whips, the second offense is jail time of around three years, and the third offense is a death sentence. A magazine called “Rainbow Sudan” is publishing articles in Sudan and attempting to advance LGBTQ+ rights for the nation. There are literally no protections for anyone identifying as an LGBTQ+ member. For these reasons Sudan ranks as the sixth worst place for LGBTQ+ individuals to reside. http://www.lgbtnet.dk/countries/africa/sudan
Somalia does not allow homosexuality or have any legal protections for anyone identifying as LGBTQ+. The penalty for individuals caught in the act is up to three years in prison. However, in some Somalian regions and territories that are under stricter Islamic control the penalty is a death sentence. These death sentences are actually usually carried out by Somalia militants who take control over territories and enforce their laws upon certain areas. Because of the risk of being under the control of militants instead of the actual Somalian government, Somalia ranks as the seventh worst place. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/06/14/countries-where-being-gay-is-legally-punishable-by-death/39574685/
In Yemen homosexual acts between women are punished with three to seven years in prison. Homosexual acts by females is defined in the Yemen penal code as “sexual stimulation by rubbing”. For unmarried men caught committing homosexual acts will be punished by a minimum of one year in prison and 100 lashings. For married men, those caught participating in homosexuality will punished by death from stoning. However, U.S. Human Rights department recently conducted an investigation into the Yemen law and did not find any evidence of executions for homosexual crimes in the last 10 years. Yemen ranks number eight because the last decade seems to show no death penalties have been carried out by the government. https://www.humandignitytrust.org/country-profile/yemen/
Afghanistan ranks as the eighth worst place to be gay or LGBTQ+. Although the laws on the books aren’t very crystal clear when it pertains to homosexuality and punishment, those that live in Afghanistan know that homosexuality is not only frowned upon, but carry heavy negative consequences and is still seen as a crime. Many LGBTQ+ individuals, or those suspected of being are subject to harassment by police authorities and others. Although no formal law calls for a death sentence, if someone is called out for being gay, neighbors will become outraged and may even kill the individual. For these reasons Afghanistan ranks number nine on the worst places to be gay. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-36884732
10) United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) or most commonly known for containing the world famous first class city Dubai, rounds out this list as the 10th worst place to be LGBTQ+. In the UAE an individual caught up in same sex activity will face one to fourteen years in prison. However, the law is interesting because it does allow for females to partake in same sex relationships, just not men. Unique to this list, United Arab Emirates is actually a popular tourist destination for many Americans, Europeans, and Asians. Unlike many of the other nations on this list, UAB must deal with influx of people from other cultures where being gay is more accepted. For LGBTQ+ travelers, many have to be discreet when it comes to sharing a hotel room, holding hands, or doing routine activities like going to a movie. Despite Dubai being much more modern than a lot of nations on the list, apps like Grindr are blocked and not accessible to those in Dubai. It is strongly advised not to hold hands or show any form of homosexual affection while in the UAE, however travelers have stated that Dubai police are not in the business of arresting LGBTQ+ tourists. For this reason, we rank the United Arab Emirates as the tenth worst place to be LGBTQ+ in the world.