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LGBT Rights by Country : A Comprehensive Guide

LGBT Rights by Country : A Comprehensive Guide

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LGBT Rights by Country: A Comprehensive Guide

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people have long fought for their rights across the world. While some countries have legalized same-sex marriage and have anti-discrimination laws, others still criminalize homosexuality, and LGBT people face persecution, violence, and discrimination.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide to LGBT rights by country, including the current legal landscape and social attitudes towards LGBT people.

Legal Landscape

The legal landscape affecting LGBT people varies widely by country or jurisdiction. While some countries have legal recognition of same-sex marriage, others criminalize homosexuality and can impose the death penalty.

As of January 2021, 29 countries have legalized same-sex marriage. However, only one country, Iran, is known to impose the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual acts. The death penalty is officially in law but generally not practiced in Brunei, Mauritania, Nigeria (in the northern third of the country), Saudi Arabia, Somalia (in the autonomous state of Jubaland), and the United Arab Emirates. LGBT people also face extrajudicial killings in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime and in the Russian region of Chechnya. Sudan overturned its unenforced death penalty for anal sex (hetero- or homosexual) in 2020.

Fifteen countries have listed stoning as a punishment for adultery, which would include same-sex sex, but this is only enforced by judicial authorities in Iran.

The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted its first resolution recognizing LGBT rights in 2011. Following the resolution, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights published a report documenting the violations of LGBT rights, including hate crimes, criminalization of same-sex activity, and discrimination. The United Nations urged all countries that had not yet done so to enact laws protecting basic LGBT rights.

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Scope of Laws

Laws that affect LGBT people include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Laws regarding recognition of same-sex relationships, including same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships.
  2. Laws regarding LGBT parenting, including adoption by LGBT people.
  3. Anti-discrimination laws in employment, housing, education, and public housing.
  4. Anti-bullying legislation to protect LGBT children at school.
  5. Hate crime laws imposing tougher criminal penalties for bias-motivated violence against LGBT people.
  6. Toilet bills affecting access to gender-segregated facilities for transgender people.
  7. Sexual orientation and military service laws.
  8. Laws regarding access to assisted reproductive technologies.
  9. Buggery laws that criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity. These may or may not target homosexuals, men or men and women, or leave certain homosexual acts legal.
  10. Adultery laws to which same-sex couples are subject.
  11. Age of consent laws that may impose higher ages for same-sex sexual activity.
  12. Laws regarding the donation of blood, corneas, and other tissues by men who have sex with men.
  13. Laws regarding access to sex reassignment surgery and hormone replacement therapy.
  14. Legal recognition and accommodation of the reassigned sex.

Historical Attitudes

LGBT rights have come a long way over the years. However, there are still countries where LGBT people face persecution, violence, and discrimination. Here are some examples of historical attitudes towards LGBT people:

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