ILGA: 76 countries ban gay sex, 7 have death penalty

by Rex Wockner

International News Briefs

ILGA - the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association - has released the fourth edition of its massive "State Sponsored Homophobia" report. The most significant change in the new edition: One-sixth of the world's gays and lesbians were emancipated when India's Delhi High Court legalized gay sex last July.

"Compared to last year's report, where we listed the 77 countries prosecuting people on ground of their sexual orientation, this year you will find 'only' 76 in the same list, including the infamous five which put people to death for their sexual orientation: Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen (plus some parts of Nigeria and Somalia)," wrote ILGA Co-Secretary General Gloria Careaga-Perez. "One country less compared to the 2009 list may seem little progress, until one realizes that it hosts one-sixth of the human population, as the country in question is India."

ILGA said the 76 nations criminalize "consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex in private over the age of consent."

They are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Brunei, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Dominica, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In addition, gay sex is illegal in the Cook Islands (a self-governing democracy in free association with New Zealand), the Gaza Strip in Palestine, and Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey.

"Naming and shaming homophobic countries is essential but it is also important to recognize countries where progress is being made," said ILGA Co-Secretary General Renato Sabbadini. "For this year we are happy to see the federal district of Mexico City and Argentina joining the community of states and local authorities recognizing equal marriage rights to same-sex couples -- an example of genuine inclusiveness, which will set the standard for many to follow."

ILGA is a 33-year-old network of 700 LGBT and supportive organizations from 110 nations. It identifies as the only international, nongovernmental, community-based association focused on fighting discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity as a global issue.

To see the full report and maps as well as details on gay equality around the world, visit http://www.tinyurl.com/ilga-ssh.

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