Being LGBTQ is a struggle. Although many countries have already recognized the LGBTQ community and have given equal rights to them as straight people, being LGBTQ is still not fully accepted worldwide. The struggle of being one can be tough. In some cases, it can be a struggle for dear life.
We are already in 2017, yet there are still countries that seem to be living in the past. Being LGBTQ still comes with a mind-blowing social stigma and hate even without a rational explanation. Some people simply abhor the LGBTQ community just because it is the norm but they can’t provide a sensible reason as to why. Moreover, in some countries, the hate towards the LGBTQ community are even translated into laws. Although it may sound hard to believe, there are still countries today where they can penalize you for being a member of the LGBTQ community.
The punishment? Death.
Here are 15 countries where you can get penalized with the death penalty for being LGBTQ.
This may sound ridiculous because Malaysia seems to be a well-developed country yet there are still regions there where the LGBTQ community is not well-accepted. Apparently, in these regions, they have the LGBTQ more than the ISIS. Yet, the ISIS kills people for their beliefs while the LGBTQ just want equality. It is such an ironic thing to be happening in a country.
In Malaysia, they follow strict guidelines towards the LGBTQ community. Even the head of the state strongly disapproves homosexuality such that he believes that they deserve to be killed. Prime Minister Najib Razak is pouring in efforts to eliminate the LGBTQ community because according to him, it is unnatural, immoral, and against the teachings of Islam. With their Shari’a law, it is possible for any LGBTQ member caught to get a death sentence.
Pakistan has a young group of activists that continuously fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ community. Although there is this kind of presence in their country, sadly, you can still get penalized even with the death penalty for being LGBTQ under certain circumstances. Moreover, being LGBTQ is a daily struggle there because same-sex relationships are still frowned up and are considered immoral. Get-togethers in the LGBTQ community are rare and often are held under strict police supervision.
Additionally, in Pakistan, there are still medical experts who push their beliefs that being LGBTQ is a disease and that they can “cure” it. The voices of these experts are considered very significant, which is why a lot of people still don’t tolerate the LGBTQ community in their country.
13. Saudi Arabia
A rich and progressive country in the Middle East, you may think that Saudi Arabia has already moved forward from the hate against the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, they have not. They still implement strict rules against homosexuality, which can lead to months or years of imprisonment. The penalty can be worse such that the person caught can face a death sentence.
Hence, living in Saudi Arabia as an LGBTQ is tough. Similar to most Middle Eastern countries who are against homosexuality, you can be put behind bars just for being you. With their strict laws, it is best for the LGBTQ community to live discreetly. However, they other people can still out them to authorities and they can be put to jail.
A country close to the United Arab Emirates, which is known for having Anti-LGBTQ laws, is Qatar. Hence, it goes without saying that this country is not tolerant of homosexuality as well. A lot of countries in the Middle East are strongly against homosexuality and Qatar is no exception.
In Qatar, you can get imprisoned for being gay. Even if you aren’t a local of the country, you are prone to imprisonment due to homosexuality. An example was when a teenage Instagram celebrity was jailed in Qatar for two months because he was gay.
This may not come as a surprise especially knowing how traditional Afghanistan is. The country has strict laws that follow the Islamic teachings. In their country, there are still a lot of extremists who believe and push for the death penalty among LGBTQs. Moreover, their strict laws even go beyond the LGBTQ community. For instance, sexual acts between two unmarried people can also be penalized with the death penalty in Afghanistan.
The Shari’a law is strong and actively practiced in Afghanistan, which is why many of its citizens still believe that homosexuality should be punished with death immediately. Although there are a few who tolerate the LGBTQ community, many are still scared to simply come out in the open.
The Republic of Uganda, located in East Africa, is another country that is strongly against LGBTQ. Uganda, via sponsorship from politician David Bahati, has its own Anti-Homosexuality Act. This act is even called as the “Kill the Gays” Act. Apparently, it is almost what is literally happening in Uganda. With strong efforts from the government against homosexuality, it is apparent that hate towards it is strong among the public as well.
The good news though, the country is slowly evolving. With inspiration from the United States and how they now treat homosexuality, Uganda’s laws are changing as well. We can just hope that someday the LGBTQ community will get equal rights and won’t have to live in fear anymore in this country.
There is a continuous struggle among LGBTQs in Yemen. This war-torn nation is a place where a lot of refugees are coming from and it also has made it difficult for homosexuals. The country has crazy regulations when it comes to homosexuality, which shows how strongly they oppose it. Simply to survive, homosexuals in the country hide their true identities and fake it to show that they are straight so that they won’t be imprisoned, or worse, face a death sentence.
The laws against homosexuality in Yemen is strictly imposed. Being a super traditional country, homosexuality in Yemen can get you a death penalty. In many instances, extremists who feel that the government is not doing enough against homosexuality, form their own groups and kill LGBTQs with their own hands.
Another African nation that is against the LGBTQ community is Sudan. In this country, forward-thinking about homosexuality is virtually not present. Hence, LGBTQs here are treated badly, as if they are the root of all evil. With their strict conventions, their backward way of how they view homosexuality remains. People take homosexuality as a sin and that people who are homosexuals should die.
Sudan, like other Islamic nation, follows the Shari’a law. Hence, homosexuality and sexual acts between two people of the same sex is a crime that can be punished with death. The penalties for getting caught are extremely painful including getting lashed or getting stoned to death.
Mauritania, or the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in full, is a country located on the borders of Mali and Algeria. Even if you aren’t familiar with this country, it is not that difficult to understand why the LGBTQ community isn’t accepted here. Their very traditional Islamic belief is the root of their intolerance of the LGBTQ community. Moreover, their authoritarian government is a show of force of the military with very minimal consideration to human rights.
In Mauritania, you can get imprisoned simply for being LGBTQ. If you get caught doing LGBTQ sexual acts, you can be stoned to death.
Although at a very gradual pace, they are beginning to consider the welfare of the LGBTQ community, it is still a nightmare to be gay in Mauritania. A lot of them choose to live in secrecy because they fear for their lives.
Gambia is a small country in Africa that has very low tolerance for the LGBTQ community. In this regard, the country has put in place strict anti-LGBTQ laws that will make any member of the community scared to reveal themselves. In that country, even the head of the state has been very vocal against homosexuality and has threatened the community several times. President Yahya Jammeh said a couple of years back that he will “slit the throat” of any gay man he meets. Additionally, he said that if he ever heard of a man who wants to marry another man, those two people will never be seen again.
With these words and their strict rules, it is apparent that living as an LGBTQ in Gambia can be very scary. The strong hate against the community is making every day harder to deal with for homosexuals in their country.
Anti-LGBTQ laws are not only prevalent in the Middle East. Apparently, there are also several countries in Africa that are strongly against homosexuality and the like. Take the country Nigeria. In this country, being an LGBTQ is a crime and can be punishable with death. For a lighter sentence, members of the LGBTQ community can suffer up to 14 years of imprisonment when caught in Nigeria.
In 2016, an Anti-Gay Bill was signed into a law by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. The law clearly stated that homosexuality and activities that are related to it can put the participants behind bars instantly for a decade. A lot of LGBTQ-friendly countries tried to change the president’s mind but they failed. At present, even simply showing support to the LGBTQ community in Nigeria can put you behind bars.
On its own, Somalia can be a terrifying place. With Somali pirates abound, getting kidnapped or killed by them is a possibility. Moreover, the country is not friendly especially when it comes to the LGBTQ community. For being a homosexual, a person can be sent to prison for a number of years. If caught doing sexual acts with the same sex, it can be punished with a death sentence.
Hence, a lot of the members of the LGBTQ community in Somalia are trying to leave the country in hopes that they can live with their real self outside the country. With laws against homosexuality set in place in the country, being an LGBTQ in Somalia is a struggle. Apparently, the fear creeps in, especially when people find out regardless of age. There are even incidents where families disowned homosexual family members.
3. The United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a staunch stand against the LGBTQ community. In this country, any local person proven to be gay can be sentenced with jail time even without engaging in any sexual acts. Hence, it is extremely difficult to come out as LGBTQ in this country because you can get imprisoned for just being one. For foreigners, the penalty may be lighter but you can still be subject to penalties. This includes a hefty fine and deportation.
With their strict laws against homosexuality, one can also be killed for being LGBTQ. This may seem ridiculous especially for a nation so rich, we expect them to be forward-thinkers. For instance, Dubai is one of the most advanced cities in the world yet you are still vulnerable to persecution if you are a homosexual residing in UAE.
Iran is another country who doesn’t tolerate homosexuality. Not only does this country oppresses the gays, it punishes them for being gays. If you live in Iran and you’re an LGBTQ, you most likely live in fear. Even if you try to keep it a secret, if someone finds out, they can out you without your consent and tell on you to the authorities. If proven that you are an LGBTQ, you can be punished by going to prison, or worse, death.
Since Iran is a Muslim country, they have traditional beliefs that take homosexuality as immoral. Hence, they treat it as a sin, and for them, the only way to cleanse it is to kill the homosexuals. They try to suppress homosexuality by putting people in jail but if caught doing homosexual acts, you can be sentenced to death.
In general, Iraq is not the friendliest country that you have probably heard of. Aside from the long war happening in that part of the world, which makes living even for regular citizens difficult, it is somewhat expected that it is even more difficult for members of the LGBTQ community. In Iraq, homosexuality is not only taboo, it is even considered a crime by many. Militia groups have poured efforts to track down and cleanse their country of homosexuality. This means killing the gays literally. Apparently, even if you’re not gay but you don’t appear masculine, you can be executed.
Although this cleansing is not endorsed by the government, officials are having a tough time preventing it. Moreover, it is tougher in this country since almost all of its neighbouring countries harbour strong hate against the gays.
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