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The most homophobic countries in the world

With many countries around the world legalising same sex marriage and supporting the LGBT+ community, there is still places where being gay, lesbian, bi or transsexual is illegal, sometimes even punishable by death. None of the following countries has LGBT+ protective laws in place. On the contrary most of them are actively hostile towards the community, leaving the affected scared and terrorised.


Iran is absolutely hostile towards gay man in specific. While the penalty for women is up to 100 lashes, the punishment for men is death. Not for all gay man though. The complex legislation around homosexuality treats men differently depending on whether they are “active’ or “passive”. While the passive man will face death penalty the active person will only be punished with death if he is married. As if being homosexual in Iran wasn’t too hard already, such laws create distrust and fear even within secret relationships. According to Amnesty International over 5,000 gays have been executed in the last 40 years.


Iraq is one of the most unsafe places for the LGBT+ community in the world. While homosexuality itself is not illegal by law, there are no laws in place that protect LGBT+ rights. Iraqi law prohibits discrimination based on race, disability, or social status, but it does not address the problem of sexual orientation or gender identity. Societal discrimination in employment, occupation, and housing based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and unconventional appearance was common. On the contrary, the official government, as well as the Islamic State, are threatening homosexual and trans individuals lives with propaganda and even promote killing campaigns. Earlier this year a list of 100 names surfaced, many of them killed. Suspected community spaces were either bombed or burned down leaving LGBT+ Iraqis with fear and terror.

Almost contradictory, Iran has more gender changing surgeries than any other country in the world. It became legal due to a fatwa from Khomeini in 1987. Trans individuals have the gender they identify with legally recognized and sex reassignment surgeries are publicly funded.


Uganda is a notoriously intolerant place for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, who face arrest, discrimination, eviction from their homes and violence from police and individuals. This persecution has spurred an exodus of LGBT refugees from the country in recent years. Many refugees have fled to Kenya, where homosexuality is also illegal, but enforcement of the law has been more sporadic than in Uganda.

Homosexuality is explicitly illegal and is punishable by imprisonment for life. The government even tried to make it punishable by death in 2014, which eventually was found as unconstitutional. But the damage was done, leading to an enormous increase in homophobic hate crimes that remain unpunished.


Egypt is widely regarded as being the biggest jailer of gay men – the New York Times estimated at least 250 LGBT people have been arrested since 2013 while LGBT blog 76 crimes estimate that that number could be closer to 500. Homosexuality is not mentioned in the Egyptian penal code, and technically it is not illegal, but members of the LGBT community are often arrested and charged with pornography, prostitution or debauchery.
Since the military took over the government in 2013, authorities are actively engaging in atrocities towards the LGBT community, imprisoning many making traditional meeting spots unsafe and police even using online dating sites to identify gays, lesbians, bi and transsexuals.

One to look out for

United States

While the United States made great progress in terms of LGBT+ rights under the leadership of President Obama in the last years, a new storm seems to form over the free world. While Obama’s successor President Trump was the first Republican candidate to acknowledge the rights of the LGBT+ community during his election campaign, unfortunately like many other of his promises, they were completely thrown over board since he took office. Under his administration, he reversed specific protections for Trans students. A policy that supported their access to bathrooms in public schools before announcing that he would introduce a Trans military ban in August 2017. The ban would stop Trans individuals from being allowed to serve in the military. While the public approval of same sex marriage has enormously increased since it’s legalisation under Obama, homophobic hate crimes are reaching new highs.


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