But, even in this twenty-first century, many countries still see the LGBTQ community through the lens of criminology. For them, it is a dishonor to their almighty. A shame to their nation and a disgrace to the whole human race. This goes beyond the definition of “problematic”. According to Equaldex, several gay activities are not legal in more than 70 countries.
The LGBTQ community has time and again faced deadly consequences for trying to accept who they are. Gay people’s sexuality has always been a stereotypical concern for society. Accordingly, it said to be a sin bigger than any other crime. This leads to the emergence of homophobia.
However, there are countries in this world that have embraced homosexuality as their own. They do not think of it to be an apparent “difference”. These are the safest places for gay people/travelers to go and be in peace.
Let us look at a list of a few places/countries that gay travelers are strictly advised to avoid.
Without a doubt, Nigeria can secure the number one position in being a threat to LGBTQ people. It includes up to 14 years in jail if one is found out to be gay/not straight. All of these penalties come under the Sharia Law that regulates their country.
The situation in the country is so extreme that even the mere discussion of the topic is prohibited. This was reiterated by Lyric Fergusson and her husband, Asher in their 2019 LGBTQ+ Danger Index, which ranked the world’s most dangerous and safest countries for gay travelers. The index was also put to revision in 2021.
According to Equaldex, there is no protection against discrimination for LGBTQ people in Nigeria. And, the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act of 2013 has further increased the miseries of gay people.
A country located in northeastern Africa, Sudan is particularly intolerant to the LGBTQ topic. Open discussions around the topic are viewed through the eyes of extreme judgment.
The country has specific discretions against sodomy, and the first two instances of this apparent “offense” lead to lashes and imprisonment for 4-5 years. However, the third time one engages in this “illegal stuff”, they can face deadly consequences like the death penalty. Although, in July 2020 it did remove the death penalty as a punishment for anal sex.
If gay people want to travel to Sudan, they have to be extra careful. As one act of so-called “illegality”, they straight up land in between lashes.
Yemen is yet another country that considers homosexuality to be the biggest sin of all times. When we talk about punishment for unmarried people, engaging in homosexuality can cost them 100 lashes and prison time. However, if a married man does it, then the consequences range up to death by stoning.
For instance, Article 268 of the national Penal Code criminalizes sexual intercourse between women with a punishment of 3 years imprisonment. A near about similar fate awaits a man. Therefore, a place for any other non-binary person is not present in Yemen.
“We don’t have gays in Yemen”, Fouad Al-Ghaffari, an aide to the minister of Humans Rights.
In the words of Lyric Fergusson, “The Punishment for homosexuality in Malawi have earned this African country spot #10 on our list.’’ (LGBTQ+ Danger Index, 2021).
Homosexuality can result in 14 years of prison for men and 5 years for women. Once again, apart from these two binary genders, there is no room for any other preference to accommodate itself.
Although, cases of particular enforcement have not been heard especially with regards to tourists. But, the country’s illiberal mentality in terms of banning pro LGBTQ+ organizations, speaks a thousand words more than its immediate actions.
In this particular Islamic Republic, homosexuality has no place to breathe. It is a criminal offense that calls for 100 lashes and the death penalty in case of same-sex intercourse. And, 31 lashes when any homosexual activity apart from intercourse takes place.
It has no laws to protect the LGBTQ+ communities from discrimination, even the common public sentiment towards these topics, in general, is very stereotypically intolerant. Same-sex marriage also has the fate of prohibition in Iran.
According to a 2008 British WikiLeaks cable, Iran executed between 4,000-6,000 gays and lesbians since its 1979 Islamic revolution.
Brunei as a kingdom might have received a lot of accolades for curbing the novel coronavirus shortly. However, in terms of sexuality and LGBTQ+ rights, it still has a long way to go. Homosexuality is illegal in Brunei. It results in death penalties and whipping in the case of men and caning and death punishment with women.
Openly embracing their sexuality can turn into an open nightmare for same-sex couples in Brunei.
Although, in 2016, a group that organized the Brunei Project, held a private event where they celebrated the first “International Day against Homophobia.”
After facing international criticism for the implementation of the Syariah Penal Code in 2013, the Sultan enforced a moratorium on the death penalty for gay sex.
For members of the transgender community, Saudi Arabia is not at all a friendly country. It illegalizes homosexuality, with the addition of the death penalty for this apparent “crime”. All of this comes under the regulation of Sharia Laws.
If not death, then they either face whipping or banishment. Therefore, gay people who want to travel there, have to be extra cautious about not showing any signs of public display of affections. If they do so, the consequences can be beyond dire!
For instance, according to the Humans Rights Watch, a blogger from Yemen was put to jail for apparently supporting equality in all fields and for all people. This included the LGBTQ+ community.
The beauty of this East African country, may excite you to give it a visit. However, if you belong to the LGBTQ+ community, think twice!
Any homosexual act leads to 30 years of imprisonment, many a time this ranging till a lifetime in jail. It has also been quite bigoted in topics owing to equality and respect for LGBTQ+ activities and people in general. The overall mindset is of complete disregard for the LGBTQ+ communities.
As a country, Qatar can be kept high on the list of countries being extremely dangerous for LGBTQ+ people. With a 3 year imprisonment for being involved in homosexual acts, it stands up to a death penalty for Muslims, under the Sharia Law.
Additionally, in a country that does not mend its laws for a World Cup (of 2022), one can only think about what will gay travelers have to go through if they visit this place.
Apart from Articles 285, 281, and 296 of the Penal Code, the Sharia Courts also put a massive infringement on homosexuality.
The country has a vast range of beautiful locations that call for tourism from all around the world. However, this beauty hits the drain when we look at how gay-friendly or rather gay un-friendly the country is.
Homosexuality is a criminal offense in Malaysia, and under Sharia Law, it can end up a gay person with 20 years of his life in prison. This comes along with whipping and fines.
The Malaysian Government has time and again tried to make its anti-LGBTQ rules stricter, with a recent attempt to increase the criminal penalties and punishments. Even their tourism minister, Sri Nancy Shukri denied accepting the existence of gay people in 2019, which is as recent as it sounds.
It is beyond the definition of shocking to see these states practicing such stringent laws even in this twenty-first century. While some countries have progressed so much in the area of giving LGBTQ+ people what they deserve, these countries are nowhere close.
Being gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, queer, or any non-binary person is a way of life. Calling it a choice will also be wrong, it is just the way a person is. That is their identity. Therefore, states trying to snatch away the identity of a person creates nothing but a feeling of helplessness in them.
Though in some of these countries, talks are going on to revert/renounce the anti-LGBTQ+ laws, the battle is a very long one. The LGBTQ+ community not only in these regions but in the whole world still has a lot to achieve. They have so much more to fight for, ask for, urge for!