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The 71 Countries Where It's Still Illegal to Be Gay

Updated May 6, 2019 22.5k views71 items

List of All the Countries Where It's Illegal to Be Gay ranked by notoriety. Although gay marriage is now legal in the U.S. in 16 states, there are many places in the world that still punish individuals for engaging in any type of gay, lesbian or bisexual relationship. Here is a list of the countries where it is illegal to gay.

India recently made headlines by reversing the 2009 decision that stated that India's sodomy statute, which was enacted in 1861, was discriminating and encouraging of harassment towards the LBGT community. The law now prohibits “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” If found guilty of homosexual activity an individual can face up to life in prison.

Several countries operate under Shariah law, which punishes individuals who engage in sodomy by death. In Iran, the law states, “Sodomy is a crime, for which both partners are punished. The punishment is death if the participants are adults, of sound mind and consenting; the method of execution is for the Shari'a judge to decide.” Typical methods of execution involve being stoned or buried alive.

Are you surprised by how many countries still consider it illegal to be gay? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
  • Malaysia
    Photo: EliB / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    In Malaysia, same-sex relationships are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.  If the sexual act took place in a region that follows Sharia law, additional punishments, including whippings, may be administered.

  • Morocco
    Photo: Free Grunge Textures - / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    In Morocco, individuals who are convicted of engaging in same-sex relationships can receive a fine or up to three years in jail.

  • Kenya
    Photo: kevinzim / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    In Kenya, same-sex relationships are punishable from 14-21 years in prison. Even attempting a to engage in a homosexual activity is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

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  • Nigeria
    Photo: Free Grunge Textures - / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    The punishment for same-sex relationships varies by state in Nigeria. The northern states, which follow Sharia law, declare that men who engage in same-sex relationships may be punished by death, whereas women may be whipped or imprisoned. In the rest of Nigeria, same-sex relationships warrant up to a 14 year jail sentence.