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79 countries where homosexuality is illegal!
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, or ILGA, lists 75 countries with criminal laws against sexual activity by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people (LGBTIs), but that’s an understatement.
The death penalty can be imposed for same-sex intimacy in eight of them.
This blog’s similar 79-country list is below, including links to this blog’s coverage of each country.
The difference between the two lists is that ILGA mentions but does not include four political entities that are on this blog’s list:
Indonesia, where two large provinces outlaw homosexual acts; and
Three political entities that have anti-LGBT laws but that aren’t accepted as countries by the international community — the Cook Islands, a self-governing country whose residents all have citizenship in New Zealand; Gaza/Palestine; and the territory of Syria and Iraq that is controlled by Daesh/ISIS/ISIL troops.
This blog’s total would be 81 countries if it were to include Russia and Lithuania, two countries that do not have laws against homosexual acts but instead have repressive laws against “propaganda of homosexuality.” Libya and Nigeria have similar anti-propaganda laws, but also prohibit same-sex relations, so they are already on the list.
Back in 2012, based on a separate, nearly complete count, St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation cited a total of 76 countries. That list was used in that year’s Spirit of 76 Worldwide program aimed at repealing those laws. It also inspired the name of this blog — “Erasing 76 Crimes.”
ILGA lists eight nations that provide for the death penalty for same-sex intimacy, “but only five (Mauritania, Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen) actually implement it. But a sixth State, Iraq, although not in the civil code clearly has judges and militias throughout the country that issue the death sentence for same-sex sexual behaviours. Further, some provinces in Nigeria and Somalia officially implement the death penalty. We are also aware that in the Daesh (ISIS/ISIL)-held areas the death penalty is implemented (although a non-State actor, we list it here). Brunei Darussalam is due to activate the death penalty for same sex sexual acts in 2016, but it seems likely that like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Qatar although it is on the statute, it will not be implemented.”
These are some of the recent changes in the list:
The tiny nations of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean and São Tomé and Príncipe, in the Atlantic Ocean off the shores of central Africa, recently decriminalized homosexuality and were dropped from this list in 2014.
Mozambique's LGBTI advocacy organization, Lambda, can celebrate the repeal of the country's anti-gay law, but it has not yet won its battle for official government recognition, which it has been seeking since 2008. (Photo courtesy of Lambda)
Mozambique’s LGBTI advocacy organization, Lambda, can celebrate the repeal of the country’s anti-gay law, but it has not yet won its battle for official government recognition, which it has been seeking since 2008. (Photo courtesy of Lambda)
Mozambique, on the southeastern coast of Africa, with a population of 24 million, adopted a new Penal Code in the second half of 2014 and was dropped from this list in early 2015.
Lesotho also was dropped from the list after adopting a new Penal Code, which apparently eliminated the nation’s former common-law crime of sodomy.
Iraq was added to the list, although it does not have a civil law against same-sex relations. But in practice Iraq defers to Sharia judges who, as ILGA notes, “continue to order executions of men and women for same-sex sexual behaviour.”
Chad was briefly added to the list — by mistake — because of a proposed new Penal Code that would provide for 15 to 20 years in prison and a fine of 50,000 to 500,000 CFA francs (US $86 to $860) “for anyone who has sex with persons of the same sex.” Chad was removed from the list after ILGA realized that the proposed change had been approved in 2014 by Chad’s cabinet, but not by the president.
Daesh (or ISIS / ISIL) was added to the list because it publicizes its executions of LGBTI people in the the areas of northern Iraq and northern Syria held by its troops. ILGA states that “the Nusr [‘Victory’ in Arabic] website, which claims to be the website of the Islamic caliphate, has a section on Legal Jurisprudence (evidence-based rules and the penal code). One of the pages under this section is dedicated to “punishment for sodomy”, which states: “the religiously-sanctioned penalty for sodomy is death, whether it is consensual or not. Those who are proven to have committed sodomy, whether sodomizer or sodomized, should be killed…”.
Here is this blog’s list of 79 countries and independent political entities with anti-homosexuality laws, with links to the blog’s coverage of them:
16 Malawi (enforcement of law suspended)
23 Seychelles. Seychelles does not prosecute anyone under their anti-sodomy law, has promised to repeal it, but has not yet done so. A same-sex wedding was conducted in Seychelles on June 13, 2015, on British territory (the British high commissioner’s residence). Seychelles laws currently have no provision for marriage equality.
24 Sierra Leone
26 South Sudan
Asia, including the Middle East
39 Daesh (or ISIS / ISIL)
44 Lebanon (law ruled invalid in one court)
50 Palestine/Gaza Strip
52 Saudi Arabia
54 Sri Lanka
57 United Arab Emirates
60 Antigua & Barbuda
63 Dominica (But see “Dominica leader: No enforcement of anti-gay law” )
67 St Kitts & Nevis
68 St Lucia
69 St Vincent & the Grenadines
70 Trinidad & Tobago
In the United States, anti-sodomy laws were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, but they are still on the books in 13 states: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia. Conservative state legislators refuse to repeal the laws and, in some cases, police still enforce them. In the past several years more than a dozen LGBT people were arrested for violating those laws, but the arrestees were freed because prosecutors won’t seek convictions based on defunct laws.
71 Cook Islands
72 Indonesia (Aceh Province and South Sumatra)
75 Papua New Guinea
77 Solomon Islands
No country in Europe has a law against homosexuality. The last European location with such a law was Northern Cyprus (recognized as a country only by Turkey), which repealed its law in January 2014.
Also in Europe and worth mentioning but not on that list of countries with laws against homosexuality are:
Russia, which enacted an anti-gay propaganda law in 2013 prohibiting any positive mention of homosexuality in the presence of minors, including online;
Lithuania, which has a similar law.
Ukraine, which has considered, but so far has not adopted a similar law against “gay propaganda.”
Moldova, which adopted and then repealed such a law in 2013.
In addition, in central Asia, Kyrgyzstan in October 2014 was on the verge of adopting an anti-gay “propaganda” law harsher than that in Russia. If that bill becomes law, any type of distribution of positive information on same-sex relations, not just discussions in the presence of a minor, would become a crime punishable by fines and a jail sentence.
The ILGA report of 2015 on state-sponsored homophobia and
The ILGA map of countries that recognize and those that reject gay and lesbian rights.
76 Countries Where Anti-Gay Laws Are As Bad As Or Worse Than Russia’s Each country’s anti-LGBTI law is summarized in a list compiled by BuzzFeed. With photos.
Countries that still criminalise homosexuality AntiGayLaws.org publishes tables for each continent, citing the language of each country’s anti-LGBTI laws, along with whether the country has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and/or allows the UN to monitor and assess its human rights record.
Rapes, domestic and sexual violence are very often in hetersexual partnerships, that is not the case in gay and lesbian partnerships:
A perpetrator can have any relationship to a victim, and that includes the role of an intimate partner. There are many different terms to refer to sexual assault committed by a person in a relationship with the victim, including: intimate partner sexual violence, domestic violence, intimate partner rape, marital rape, and spousal rape. No matter what term is used or how the relationship is defined, it is never okay to engage in sexual activity without someone’s consent.
How does sexual assault relate to domestic violence?
Sexual assault in a relationship rarely exists in a vacuum. It often occurs alongside other forms of abusive behavior. The majority of women who were physically assaulted by an intimate partner had been sexually assaulted by that same partner1. To learn more about dating and domestic violence, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website.
Why should I reach out?
If you have experienced sexual assault by an intimate partner, it can be challenging to come forward for many reasons. You may be concerned for your safety or the safety of your children, still have strong feelings for your partner, or aren’t convinced that what’s happening to you is really sexual assault. It’s understandable to feel this way.
Ending an abusive relationship is not something that you have to do alone. Reaching out for help from friends, loved ones, local organizations or law enforcement can help you through this process.
Marital or spousal rape is rape committed by one spouse against the other. This type of rape has been controversial in the modern era because of the historical assumption that marriage takes away the woman’s right to refuse to have sex.
As you read the following paragraphs, you may think to yourself, “Where did this information come from? What’s the source?” There are so many sources on this subject that I’ve chosen to list a number of them at the end of this post rather than insert them within the text.
The “ownership” view that rape couldn’t exist within marriage was upheld in British and American common law for a long time, based on legal opinions such as this: “But the husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband which she cannot retract” (Sir Matthew Hale’s History of the Pleas of the Crown, 1736).
Additionally, even atheists will point to the Bible as an example of “common sense”: “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:4-5, NIV).
They interpret this to mean that neither spouse can ever say no to sex — and in an ancient patriarchal culture, the real effect was to give the husband sexual autonomy but not the wife.
Conveniently, people often skip the very next verse, verse 6: “I say this as a concession, not as a command.” They also skip over the numerous passages throughout the Bible regarding the mutual love, respect, understanding, and gentleness that are actually supposed to characterize marriage.
Even today, when laws against marital rape exist in all 50 states–historically a very recent development–the cultural assumption of sexual “ownership” presents a massive barrier to better laws and enforcement, and to providing support and care for victims of marital rape. The reflexive, unthinking assumption is that when two people get married, the wife no longer has a right to say “no” or to own and control her body.
Commenters on the Internet are quite frank: “If she didn’t want to have sex, she should’ve have gotten married.” Assumption: When a woman takes marital vows, she gives up her free agency, sexual autonomy, and sexual power of choice as a human being forever. Or until divorce.
The more “civilized” version pressures women to simply “choose” to not have a choice — to always have sex according to her spouse’s will — and then crows that the woman has made this choice herself. This is not genuine free choice either.
Both spouses should be able to say No to each other. Both spouses should respect the other person’s No and not punish them emotionally or physically for it. Spouses who are not free to say No are not free to fully love.
Today, when we have the benefit of more knowledge and of studies on the subject, we also know that men don’t always want sex either. I’ve focused on women not because rape of husbands doesn’t happen (it’s rare, but it does happen), but because historically the husband’s sexual agency and his ability to say No, own his body, and set his own sexual agenda were not interfered with. In general, married men still had control over their bodies; married women explicitly did not.
Here are key facts about marital rape law and the realities of marital rape.
Until 1976, rape laws in all 50 states contained a Marital Rape Exemption specifically to prevent husbands who raped their wives from being charged with a crime.
As of 1996, only 17 states and the District of Columbia had abolished this exemption completely.
While all 50 U.S. states have laws against marital rape, 33 of the states consider marital rape a lesser crime than other types of rape–typically they charge the attacker with spousal abuse or battery instead of rape.
Studies show that marital rape is the most common type of rape. Ten to 14 percent of all completed rapes are committed by husbands or ex-husbands, and in keeping with rape reporting statistics nationwide, experts believe this is an underestimation of the actual incidence of marital rape.
Marital rape involves extreme trauma. Many people consider marital rape less traumatic than other types of rape, but studies show the opposite is true (see this example of information, and there’s plenty more with a simple Internet search or your local library). Being raped by a spouse is a betrayal of one’s trust, one’s humanity, and of the relationship. This is a whole other level of trauma not found in stranger rape or even date rape–our trust in a stranger or a date is far less to begin with, and our personal investment in them minimum to none.
Victims of marital rape have very little of the support that other rape victims can access. Many people around the victim may not believe it was rape at all. Victims of marital rape, far more than victims of other types of rape, find themselves having to cope in nearly total isolation.
It wasn’t until 1993 that marital rape nationally became a crime in the United States. For many years the U.S. legal system allowed a loophole in the marital rape law having to do with whether the spouses were actually living together at the time of the rape. If they were, the perpetrator got off. Additionally, when it’s already so difficult to secure a rape conviction for any type of rape, convicting rape within a marriage based on evidence is vanishingly unlikely.
One of the most common myths about marital rape is that it happens when the wife withholds sex from her husband. Research and evidence demonstrates decisively that the wife’s withholding sex is not the cause of, and doesn’t lead to, marital rape. Interviews with attackers and other evidence have all pointed to marital rape as a demonstration of control and power or an outlet for the attacker’s rageaholism.
Crisis in South Africa: The shocking practice of 'corrective rape' - aimed at 'curing' lesbians
Clare Carter travelled across South Africa to photograph and interview the victims of this appalling crime. These are their stories...
Mvuleni Fana was walking down a quiet alleyway in Springs – 30 miles east of Johannesburg – on her way home from football practice one evening when four men surrounded her and dragged her back to the football stadium. She recognised her attackers. One by one, the men raped her, beating her unconscious and leaving her for dead.
The next morning, Mvuleni came round, bleeding, battered, in shock, and taunted by one overriding memory – the last thing they said to her before she passed out: "After everything we're going to do to you, you're going to be a real woman, and you're never going to act like this again".
Corrective rape is a hate crime wielded to convert lesbians to heterosexuality – an attempt to 'cure' them of being gay. The term was coined in South Africa in the early 2000s when charity workers first noticed an influx of such attacks. But despite recognition and international coverage, corrective rape in the region is escalating in severity, according to Clare Carter, the photographer behind these images. This is amid a backdrop of parts of the country "becoming more homophobic", as one recent victim asserts.
Compared to many of South Africa's victims, Mvuleni was lucky: she survived. At least 31 women in the past 15 years did not. In 2007, to cite one incident, Sizakele Sigasa, a women's and gay rights activist, and her friend Salone Massooa, were outside a bar when a group of men started heckling and calling them tomboys. The women were gang raped, tortured, tied up with their underwear and shot in the head. Executed. No one was ever convicted.
Mvuleni's case was also unusual as, unlike 24 out of 25 rapes that even reach trial in South Africa, two of her attackers were convicted and imprisoned for 25 years. The others remain at large.
Ever since a 1998-2000 report by the United Nations Office on Crime and Drugs ranked South Africa as highest for rapes per capita, it has repeatedly been described as the rape capital of the world: 500,000 rapes a year; one every 17 seconds; one in every two women will be raped in her lifetime. Twenty per cent of men say the victim "asked for it", according to a survey by the anti-violence NGO, CIET. A quarter of men in the Eastern Cape Provinces, when asked anonymously by the Medical Research Council, admitted to raping at least once – three quarters of whom said their victim was under 20, a tenth said under 10. A quarter of schoolboys in Soweto described "jackrolling" – the local term for gang rape – as "fun".
Although statistics for corrective rape have not been compiled nationally, one support group in Cape Town told ActionAid researchers in 2009 they deal with 10 new cases every week.
Clare Carter left her home in New York City in 2011 to photograph South Africa's corrective rape victims. Horrified at the magnitude of the problem, she spent two years there, finding those affected and gaining their trust. In total, Carter photographed 45 survivors, hearing their stories and piecing together the mosaic forces fuelling the crime by interviewing priests and NGO workers, gay rights activists and family members. She also met with rapists. Carter's investigation – the most comprehensive of its kind – brought her right across the country, zigzagging from Durban and Johannesburg to Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, from some of the smartened-up townships replete with tourist-pleasing government housing, to shack-stuffed rural sprawls.
"Even in the two years I was there the stories I was hearing were getting worse," she says. "Corrective rape is getting more violent."
Indeed, when we meet in London, Carter produces transcripts of interviews with the survivors she photographed, which more often than not refer to knives, stones and sticks being used. One woman describes being anally raped by a gang brandishing a broom handle.
There is one testimony in particular that stands out, from a young woman called Pearl Mali. Carter was introduced to her by Funeka Soldaat, who runs Free Gender, an LGBT rights organisation that specialises in helping victims of corrective rapes. Free Gender have "no phone, no computer, no money, no counsellors, nothing, except Funeka's house". Pearl is now 21 and volunteers there. She was 12 when it happened.
Her mother suspected Pearl might be a lesbian as she was a "tomboy" and so one day her mother returned home from church with an "old man". Pearl doesn't know what conversation had taken place, only that "there was money involved". Her mother told her to go to her room.
"She said if I don't do what is right I won't get my lunch tomorrow."
The man entered her bedroom.
"He locked my door and I was in my pyjamas about to get in bed and he told me how beautiful I was, how fast I am growing."
He said he was going to sleep there with her, and started slapping Pearl, who screamed, bringing her mother to the door.
"She said, 'Pearl you are making noise, shut up'. He told me to take off my clothes and I refused. He beat me – I was fighting him but he overpowered me and raped me."
The next morning, Pearl's mother acted normally, and soon after asked him to move in. For the next four years he regularly raped Pearl, as her de-facto husband, to make her straight. She tried going to the police, but they started "laughing" when she said the most recent rape was last week. They expect women to come immediately.
Pearl Mali, who was 'correctively' raped at the age of 12, photographed in Khayelitsha, Cape Town (Clare Carter/Contact Press Images)
Pearl became pregnant by him at 16, prompting her to go to the police again, who this time imposed a restraining order against the man. But days after giving birth, her abuser came to the house while she was alone with the baby.
"He wanted to touch me again so I was fighting and fighting [him]. He kicked me on my waist and all the stitches got loose." Though she successfully fought him off, Pearl's troubles soon spiralled.
"My mum and this guy took the baby away when he was seven months old because I was still a lesbian."
Her mother believed that if Pearl touched and fed the boy "it will make him gay". Pearl moved out and went to court to gain access, but three years later, she is still trying to win custody and is currently only allowed to visit her son at weekends.
"I used to sleep under a bridge, not eat, just cry. I hanged myself; it was on a Monday. I took pills, took alcohol, drank cleaning appliances and then hanged myself. But God said, 'It is not your time'."
Familial collusion in corrective rape is common, according to Carter. Simphiwe Thandeka, from Pietermaritzburg (the capital city of the conservative, fervently Christian province of KwaZulu-Natal) was 13, and a "tomboy", when a male relation started asking, "Why do you dress like this?". He raped her in bed one night, putting a pillowcase over her mouth.
"He told me to keep quiet. At the time I didn't know it was rape."
When she told her mother the next day – because she was bleeding heavily – her mother replied that it is a "family matter", and neglected to tell Simphiwe that the man is HIV positive. Simphiwe only discovered she had contracted the virus – a common outcome for such victims – three years later when she became pregnant by the man's friend, whom he had tried to marry her off to in a final attempt to "correct" her sexuality. After repeatedly raping and beating her with a coat hanger, the friend sent Simphiwe back to her uncle, realising she would never be heterosexual and they would therefore never "get on".
Soon, however, she was pregnant. She called her baby Happiness.
Happiness and Blessing, Simphiwe Thandeka's children born from two of her attacks, photographed in Ashdown, Pietermaritzburg (Clare Carter/Contact Press Images)
Now a mother, a local man told a friend of Simphiwe's that he was attracted to her, but the friend informed him that she liked women.
"He told her, 'I'll prove this girl is not a man, but is a girl'. I was scared. He came to my home, he said he wanted to apologise for what he told my friend, but then he blocked me with his hand. He raped me in the dining room."
This time she went to the police but "they take his side... so nothing I can say or do". She called her second child Blessing.
Of all the countries in the continent, South Africa should be the least likely to be tarnished by homophobic hate crimes. Its 1997 constitution was the first in the world to secure the equal rights of LGBT people and a flurry of laws followed preventing workplace discrimination and, in 2005, allowing gay marriage.
"The constitution is there but it doesn't mean anything to anyone," says Funeka, who founded Free Gender after being correctively gang raped and stabbed multiple times ("My body was there, but I was far, far away," she says).
"Even if you know how the constitution works, you don't know how to use it to protect yourself. If you don't have money you don't have access to the justice system. Violence in the townships is normal. Homosexuality is [seen as] un-African. Patriarchy is everywhere. The way religious leaders read scripture is painful. Children start raping at 14, 15 and take pictures. We're sitting on a time bomb."
One such religious leader is Reverend Oscar Peter Bougardt, a senior pastor in the Mitchell's Plain township, 20 miles from Cape Town. "Homosexuals can change," he told Carter. "Homosexuality is a curse... a wicked influence... they come after our young people. Any clergy or priest that approves [of] homosexuality is from the pit of hell."
David Hessey, who works for the Gay and Lesbian Association, also blames the courts for failing to deal with corrective rape cases.
"It is not treated as a serious offence. We are awaiting the sentencing of a corrective rape case – a father raped his daughter's girlfriend to 'cure' her and he has been convicted – but it took two years to get the case to court and this is fast for South Africa. Most take six years which is why most people don't report it."
Witnesses are often disregarded in court, as even seeing and hearing a victim screaming is deemed "hearsay, as the woman may be screaming in pleasure and this may be the way they like having sex".
The police routinely have neither the resources nor inclination to investigate. Leonie Spalding, aged 37, says when she came out to her husband he correctively raped her, but the police officer on duty was a friend of her husband's who took her home, asked the husband what happened, to which he replied he was "just doing what any man should do and show me my place as a woman". No charge was brought. In the testimonies collected by Carter, the most common reaction from police to corrective rape is laughter. But she cites a litany of causes for the phenomenon.
"A lot of people are outraged that gay people have equal rights, and are becoming more angry as gay people become more visible," she says. "It's a deeply patriarchal country – men are numero uno in the townships – and use corrective rape as a tool to assert their masculinity, all while egging each other on. Combine that with a lack of education, high unemployment leading to mass boredom, frustration and problems with drink and drugs and you have a perfect storm for patriarchal sadism. And because the police and courts do nothing there's no consequence to corrective rape, which normalises it. It's not seen as a big thing."
Many have argued that the shadow cast by apartheid has a part to play, but it would be wrong to suggest that corrective rape is only South Africa's scourge. I also speak to three women seeking asylum in Britain to hear their stories.
Patricia, aged 40, fled Nigeria after "one of the guys in my area raped me to make me straight. I told my family, and he admitted it, but they didn't do anything because they didn't want to bring any shame on the family".
Belinda, aged 48, left Jamaica after being targeted for her sexuality.
"My brother belonged to a gang and he heard that they were going to rape me," she tells me. "One morning I was on my way to work and a guy tried to hold on to me and rape me. I managed to fight my way off knowing full well I couldn't report it to the police."
Lillian, aged 26, from the Republic of Cabinda (formerly a province of Angola) says: "The men will rape you so you can taste how good it is to sleep with a man. They gonna really rape you badly to teach you a lesson – they think if they do that you will forget who you are."
Before leaving South Africa, Carter went to a taxi rank near Pietermaritzburg where she was told there were men who admit to corrective rape. She filmed them.
"If we want to finish lesbians and gays they must be forcefully raped," says one, grinning at the camera. "A man must go back to his manhood. Women must be women. She must be ready and willing to have sex."
"They must be raped so that their gay and lesbian behaviour can come out," adds another.
The third raises his voice, points two fingers at his temple and concludes: "This gay and lesbian thing must end. I say bang bang bang!"
Tally ill, gay men or paedophiles where the state would decree them imprisoned for up to five years or more in these harsh and brutal camps with deviance reaction conditioning that left many people incapable of a normal human life, stories of electric shock therapy to the genitals, castration, forced leucotomy which would have made what the US did recently seem very tame to the extreme brutality wielded on these people in Siberian camps and the truth it, as the Nazi's found out, as we found out ourselves in Victorian times, brutality can and never work as a cure for crime or deviant behaviour, a lesson post apartheid South Africa really must adopt if it is to be considered a modern liberal country.
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Thanks for adding your voice.