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LGBTQI+ TSI 2023

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Most Homophobic Countries 2024

The acceptance and tolerance of homosexual and LGBTQI+ individuals varies widely from one country to another. Some countries are considered quite gay-friendly and offer significant LGBTQI+ rights and protections to their LGBTQI+ populations—for instance, a growing number of countries have made gay marriage legal.

Other countries are less welcoming. In these countries, not only is gay marriage unlawful, but simply being a member of the LGBTQI+ community can be considered a crime—punishable by death in some cases. Countries that follow Sharia law are particularly likely to view homosexuality as a sin worthy of the death penalty. Moreover, even in countries in which homosexuality and other LGBTQI+-adjacent activities are legal, society at large may discriminate against the LGBTQI+ community, even to the point of subjecting LGBTQI+ individuals to violence. Brazil and Iran are often cited as examples of such a scenario.

Creating a list of which countries are the most homophobic is a challenging process due to the facts that homophobia is both difficult to quantify and takes on a myriad of different forms.

The Homophobic Climate Index

Arguably the most scientifically sound measure of homophobia was published in October 2018 by the European Journal of Public Health. This report collected and compiled many data points that fit into one of two categories: institutionalized or social homophobia. Institutionalized homophobia involved the presence and level of enforcement of laws that criminalize or protect same-sex relationships and activities. By comparison, social homophobia tracked the acceptance, tolerance, violence against, and justifiability of homosexuality within society as a whole.

Within this framework, researchers analyzed data from a wide range of sources, such as the Pew Research Center, the World Justice Project, Gallup World Poll, the IMF World Population Outlook, and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Population Division. This data was then compiled into a single number between 0.000 (absolute acceptance) and 1.000 (complete homophobia), titled the Homophobic Climate Index (HCI).

Top 20 Most Homophobic Countries (Homophobic Climate Index 2017):

Country
HCI 2017 Score
Sudan0.957
Afghanistan0.935
Saudi Arabia0.926
South Sudan0.905
Qatar0.897
Nigeria0.884
Guinea0.880
Iraq0.878
Burundi0.873
Chad0.870
Tunisia0.870
Senegal0.867
Morocco0.864
Malawi0.863
Mauritania0.863
Uganda0.861
Eritrea0.858
Sierra Leone0.856
Togo0.853
Angola0.850

The LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index

Another respected measure of global homophobia was conceived by the travel website Asher & Lyric, which compiled nearly a dozen data metrics from a myriad of sources to create the LGBTQI+ Travel Safety Index. This index tracks country-by-country data for factors ranging from the legality of same-sex marriage and protections against LGBTQI+ discrimination to murder rates of transgender individuals and (where applicable) the legal punishment for same-sex relationships. Like the HCI, the LGBTQI+ Travel Safety Index uses statistical mathematics to combine its various data points into a single score, which in 2022 varied from a low of -200 (most homophobic and unsafe) to a high of 383 (safest and least homophobic).

Top 20 Most Homophobic—and Dangerous for LGBTQI+ People to Visit—Countries (2022 LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index):

Country
LGBTQI+ TSI 2022
Canada383
Sweden378
Netherlands374
Malta369
Portugal358
United Kingdom347
Belgium343
Norway343
Spain341
France338

Countries in Which Same-Sex Encounters Are Punishable by Death

Homophobia and general intolerance of LGBTQI+ people takes on extreme forms in some countries. In a small handful of countries, an individual can be put to death for practicing their homosexuality. Each of countries is Muslim-ruled and has a legal system heavily influenced by Sharia law, which does not explicitly mention same-sex relations, but which some Muslims believe can be interpreted as prohibiting same-sex interactions.

Afghanistan

Most LGBTQI+ individuals in this Taliban-ruled country keep their sexuality and gender identity secret out of fear of being harrassed, persecuted, subjected to violence, or executed. Because the ban on homosexuality is rooted in a strict interpretation of Muslim religious law, advocating for LGBTQI+ causes or even discussing the issue is forbidden, which impedes progress.

Brunei

Brunei passed a new penal code in April 2019, which confirmed that the penalty for LGBTQI+ activity was death by stoning. However, after much international push-back, the Sultan announced that the government would not seek to enforce that portion of the law. However, the law was not amended to remove the death penalty. Moreover, while the moratorium on the death penalty remains in place as of late 2022, the alternative punishment of one year in prison or 100 lashes for men (women are subject to any two of 10 years in prison, 40 lashes, or a hefty fine) is also considered a violation of human rights. The 2022 Travel Safety Index declared Brunei to be the most dangerous country in the world for LGBTQI+ tourists.

Iran

As in many countries ruled by Sharia law, any sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage is forbidden in Iran. People found guilty of same-sex intercourse suffer punishments ranging from 31 lashes (for same-sex interactions that fall short of intercourse) to 100 lashes to the death penalty. However, gender reassignment surgery is widely accepted and partially state-funded, which has made Iran one of the world's leaders in gender-reassignment surgeries.

Mauritania

Like many LGBTQI+-unfriendly countries, Mauritania features asymmetrical penalties for same-sex activity. Women who have sex with one another face possible fines and prison terms ranging from three months to two years. Men who engage in same-sex relations, by comparison, can be put to death by stoning. However, the law seems to go largely unenforced and it is believed that no LGBTQI+ person has been sentenced to death for their sexuality since at least 1986.

Nigeria

Same-sex acts can be given the death penalty in Nigeria's Muslim-ruled northern states (though some will give women up to 50 lashes instead) and can lead to 14 years in prison in the mostly Christian southern states. Same-sex PDA is forbidden, as is any conversation centered around LGBTQI+ rights and issues. Nigeria was designated as the second-most-dangerous travel destination in the world for LGBTQI+ people by the 2022 Travel Safety Index.

Pakistan

While current punishments for homosexual activity in Pakistan stop short of the death penalty, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom points out that the country's Hadood Ordinances, which were implemented to bring the country's legal system more in-line with Sharia law, could be interpreted as calling for the death penalty for LGBTQI+ activities.

Qatar

While there have been no known executions for homosexuality in Qatar, the death penalty remains a legal possibility for Muslims. Homosexuality and cross-dressing are viewed quite negatively by Qatari society and the government neither recognizes same-sex marriages nor allows LGBTQI+ advocacy. The website Human Rights Watch has reported that police in Qatar are known to arrest and abuse members of the LBGTQI+ community.

Saudi Arabia

The fourth-most-dangerous destination for LGBTQI+ travelers, Saudi Arabia punishes homosexual activity with sentences that could include public whippings, life in prison, deportation, chemical castration, and death. Illegal same-sex activities include transgendered relations, cross-dressing, and same-sex partnerships or marriage. Nor is hostility toward LGBTQI+ individuals limited to the legal system, as reports exist of the general public inflicting violence upon LGBTQI+ people.

Somalia

Homosexual activity in this war-torn country can result in the death penalty in the region of Jubaland, as well as areas controlled by terrorist al-Shabab forces. The government is known to actively prosecute LGBTQI+-related offenses. Furthermore, the Somali people are reported to be largely unsympathetic to LGBTQI+ individuals and rights, which often results in discrimination and violence from the private community as well.

United Arab Emirates

Much like the United States, each emirate in this Middle Eastern country has its own laws regarding homosexuality and the treatment of LGBTQI+ people. However, emirates including Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi are known to be quite intolerant. Moreover, amendments to national law in November 2021 introduced harsh penalties for actions such as sodomy, extramarital sex, cross-dressing, as well as vaguely defined offenses such as acts which "offend the modesty and public morals" or "incite a life of sin." While the death penalty is not known to have been invoked in recent years, the legal possibility remains.

Yemen

Another country divided by civil war, Yemen is believed to have never adminstered the death penalty as punishment for LGBTQI+ activity. However, current Yemeni law allows for the death penalty for married men convicted of homosexual activity, alongside lesser-but-still-severe punishments including imprisonment and up to 100 lashes for unmarried people.

At least two women or at least two men who engage sexually with one another could receive as much as a three-year prison sentence. For imitating someone of the opposite sex, the government could impose a one-year jail sentence. This country’s laws forbid LGBTQI+ organizations from visiting. It’s labeled the “5th worst” risky place to travel and one of the most homophobic countries.

  • Laws on LGBTQI+ issues can change rapidly and with little notice. Interested parties are advised to consult local authorities before traveling to a country in which they may be at risk.
  • The LGBTQI+ Travel Safety Index (TSI) is compiled by the travel website Asher & Lyric. Lower numbers (including negative numbers) indicate more dangerous conditions.
  • Data on the criminalization of same-sex conduct is sourced from Human Rights Watch and the LGBTQI+ advocate website 76 Crimes and is up to date as of March 2023
  • In the Homophobic Climate Index (HCI), lower scores are preferable. Therefore, Sweden ranks as the least homophobic country among the 158 countries surveyed, with Sudan ranking as the most homophobic. Also note that HCI data excludes several countries, some of which, such as North Korea and Somalia, which would likely rank high for homophobia.

Download Table Data

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Country
LGBTQI+ TSI 2023
LGBTQI+ TSI 2022
Criminalized
HCI 2017 Rank
HCI 2017 Score
Additional Details
Canada383383No1480.252
Sweden377378No1580.112
Netherlands373374No1570.131
Malta370369No1450.284
Portugal358358No1460.282
Norway358343No1550.140
Spain356341No1540.163
Denmark347307No1560.137
Belgium343343No1520.177
United Kingdom342347No1490.206
France338338No1510.180
Iceland330330No
Switzerland328325No1430.288
Same-sex marriage effecitvely legal as of July 2022.
Ireland320294No1400.327
Luxembourg320269No
South Africa317292No1370.352
Germany309259No1320.373
Chile307312No1270.434
Legalized same-sex marriage and adoption in 2021.
Austria305305No1360.357
Uruguay305306No1500.189
Australia304307No1380.343
Protections against violence and discrimination vary by state and territory.
Finland300299No1530.168
New Zealand299323No1470.260
United States292267No1350.360
Homosexuality is still prohibited by some state laws, though national law legalizing it renders the ...
United States Virgin Islands289264No
Croatia288254No1260.442
Legalized same-sex adoption in May 2021.
Cuba279176No
Slovenia279242No1440.285
Argentina260260No1420.298
Costa Rica259197No1230.444
Legalized same-sex marriage in May 2020.
Andorra255175No
Brazil248223No1390.338
While homosexuality is legal, LGBTQI+ individuals (trans people in particular) are often the victims...
Puerto Rico245210No
Colombia239241No1410.321
Greece239189No1300.409
San Marino238238No
Ecuador223228No1310.400
Bolivia223223No1160.489
Estonia223206No1190.472
Israel215220No1250.443
Mexico212173No1340.369
Peru206207No950.607
Nepal206181No760.699
Cyprus192192No1220.450
Slovakia191186No1290.429
Taiwan188188No
Czech Republic185185No1280.429
Angola183213No200.850
Decriminalized same-sex conduct and prohibited discrimination based upon a person's sexual orientati...
India17777No840.663
Same-sex relations were legalized in India in September 2018.
Serbia172172No1170.482
Italy169168No1210.455
Montenegro167141No
Ukraine16580No970.602
North Macedonia163113No960.602
Bulgaria159128No1000.584
Nicaragua156122No1150.501
Georgia154122No850.658
Lithuania150145No1200.472
Decriminalized, though actions that fall outside of "established family values" may still be legally...
Liechtenstein142217No
Thailand141131No1090.533
Bosnia and Herzegovina138123No980.601
Aruba138138No
Romania137137No1240.443
Hungary136136No1330.369
Though homosexuality is legal, as of May 2020, Hungary offers no way for individuals to change their...
Suriname136171No670.710
Fiji12386No
Cape Verde123125No1180.474
Mongolia117117No900.636
Botswana10898No830.669
The Botswana High Court struck down laws in June 2019 that prohibited same-sex conduct.
Japan9683No1040.576
Albania96141No1030.577
Moldova95110No880.643
Same-sex marriages are still illegal, though foreign same-sex marriages are recognized.
Latvia95109No1060.565
South Korea9297No750.699
Curacao8550No
Northern Mariana Islands8585No
Sint Maarten8575No
Marshall Islands85110No
Poland8282No1080.546
Lesotho8080No610.731
Haiti7888No530.769
Singapore7818Changing820.676
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s announced in August 2022 that Singapore would decriminalize same-se...
Seychelles7575No
Hong Kong7499No1010.582
Laos7145No600.735
Vietnam6554No940.610
Honduras6515No1110.531
Has one of the highest rates of trans murder in the world.
Macau6540No
Armenia6464No510.775
Philippines6247No1140.505
Mozambique6287No1120.528
Homosexuality was decriminalized in 2014, though pro-LGBTQI+ organizations are still prohibited.
Monaco6261No
Cayman Islands6059No
El Salvador5818No1130.511
Namibia5848Yes790.687
While same-sex relations remain prohibited, the government in 2021 also outlawed discrimination agai...
Burkina Faso5323No540.765
Homosexuality is legal, though homosexual marriages are unrecognized.
Panama5153No1050.572
Panama legalized same-sex adoption in March 2021.
Bahamas5050No1070.562
Micronesia50100No
Turks and Caicos Islands5050No
Samoa4848Yes
Homosexual intercourse between men may be punished with up to five years in prison.
Grenada4333Yes
Unnatural or indecent acts are punishable with a prison sentence of up to ten years.
Saint Kitts and Nevis43-52No
Legal provisions that criminalized same-sex relations were struck down by the Eastern Caribbean Supr...
Turkey4040No580.746
Equatorial Guinea4040No
Homosexuality is legal, though homosexual marriages are unrecognized.
Kyrgyzstan3232No710.707
China3131No800.680
Paraguay3029No810.679
Venezuela2834No990.599
Madagascar2626No370.816
Tajikistan2425No660.722
Trinidad and Tobago2171No
In April 2018, the High Court of Justice in Trinidad and Tobago struck down laws that criminalized s...
Timor Leste2010No870.643
Republic of the Congo1616No550.764
Bhutan1616No
Bhutan decriminalized same-sex relations In February 2021.
Mauritius1515No920.632
Anal sex is punishable by two to five years in prison.
Niger1414No300.830
Belarus1353No780.692
Mali1212No640.725
Benin1010No460.781
Gabon1020No470.779
Gabon's lawmakers criminalized same-sex conduct in July 2019, but revoked the law in July 2020.
Djibouti515No770.697
Homosexuality is legal, though marriages between homosexuals are not.
Cambodia494No740.700
Guatemala3-6No1100.533
Dominican Republic31No1020.579
Antigua and Barbuda3-67No
On July 5, 2022, the High Court of Justice for Antigua and Barbuda struck down legal provisions that...
Kazakhstan23No730.701
Pro-LGBTQI+ groups are banned although homosexuality itself is not.
Azerbaijan10No500.776
Sao Tome and Principe00No
Palau00No
Nauru00No
Togo-5-45Yes190.853
Same-sex relations may be punished with fines and up to three years in prison.
Indonesia-73Yes720.706
Illegal in the semi-autonomous Aceh province.
Belize-9-12No
Barbados-10-93Yes860.645
Homosexual acts can result in 10 years to life in prison.
Jordan-15-30No420.794
Although homosexuality is legal, public acts deemed immodest can be punished with up to 6 months in ...
Bahrain-15-15No930.612
While homosexuality has been decriminalized, Pro-LGBTQI+ groups are prohibited.
Bangladesh-19-9Yes890.642
Although rarely levied, punishment for homosexuality is up to 10 years in prison.
Central African Republic-22-52No400.799
Ivory Coast-25-25No450.785
Burundi-25-45Yes90.873
Homosexual acts are punishable by three months to two years imprisonment as well as fines.
Eswatini-26-46Yes480.778
DR Congo-27-27No650.725
Iraq-28-28No80.878
Technically legal, but LGBTQI+ people are often treated unfairly, even violently by non-state actors...
Rwanda-29-29No520.771
Russia-37-2No680.709
Pro-LGBTQI+ groups are often met with legal challenges and are prohibited from promoting alternate s...
Chad-38-58Yes110.870
Punishment for homosexual acts ranges from three months to two years in prison, as well as fines.
Sri Lanka-46-91Yes700.708
Homosexual acts are punishable by two to 10 years in prison, depending upon severity.
Pakistan-47-93Yes690.708
Possible punishments range from two years in prison and a fine to life in prison. The country's Shar...
Dominica-47-57Yes
Homosexual intercourse can result in four to ten years in prison and admission into a psychiatric ho...
Liberia-49-39Yes330.823
Homosexual activity can earn one up to a year in prison.
Zimbabwe-52-52Yes230.841
Homosexual acts are punishable by up to one year in prison.
Comoros-56-56Yes360.817
Unnatural or indecent "acts against nature" may be punished with fines and prison sentences of two t...
Lebanon-58-58Yes560.763
Punishments for homosexuality include up to one year in prison.
Ghana-59-49Yes240.838
Homosexual acts are punishable with up to three years in prison.
Guinea-60-80Yes70.880
Punishment for homosexuality is six months to three years imprisonment.
Turkmenistan-60-65Yes440.790
Homosexual acts may be punished by up to two years in prison.
Jamaica-61-132Yes910.635
Homosexuality is punishable by years in prison, sometimes including hard labor.
Kenya-62-87Yes270.834
Punishment for homosexual acts between males ranges from five to 14 years, depending upon severity.
Cameroon-64-54Yes250.835
Homosexual conduct may earn one both fines and six months to five years imprisonment.
Uzbekistan-65-65Yes490.777
Homosexual acts between males can be punished with up to three years imprisonment.
Senegal-67-67Yes120.867
Homosexual acts may be punished by fines and up to five years in prison.
Kiribati-70-70Yes
Homosexual acts between males may be punished by up to 14 years in prison.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines-70-70Yes
Buggery (anal sex) is punishable by five to 10 years in prison.
Myanmar-73-118Yes410.797
Homosexual relations can earn a punishment of 20 years in prison.
Sierra Leone-73-63Yes180.856
Buggery (anal sex) may be punished with 10 years to life in prison.
Algeria-75-75Yes310.823
Homosexual acts, including possession of homosexual materials, are punishable by up to two years in ...
Eritrea-75-75Yes170.858
Punishment for homosexual acts is five to seven years in prison.
Tuvalu-75-75Yes
Homosexual practices between males may result in up to 14 years in prison.
Zambia-79-104Yes350.821
Homosexual acts may receive prison terms of seven years to life.
Maldives-80-100Yes
Punishable by up to eight years in prison or 100 lashes.
Papua New Guinea-81-80Yes390.807
Homosexuality may be punished with up to 14 years in prison.
Ethiopia-83-93Yes320.823
Prison terms of up to 15 years can result.
Uganda-83-92Yes160.861
Homosexuality was decalred illegal in May 2021, punishable by life in prison.
Solomon Islands-85-85Yes
Buggery and other "indecent acts" may be punished with up to 14 years in prison.
Morocco-89-89Yes130.864
Punishable by six months to three years in prison as well as fines.
Saint Lucia-90-75Yes
Buggery (anal sex) is punishable by 10 years in prison (consensual), 5 years (attempted), or life (n...
Tunisia-91-91Yes100.870
Punishment for homosexual activity is three years imprisonment.
Egypt-95-96Yes290.832
Punishable by fines and up to three years in prison, as well as admission to a "special reformatory"...
Iran-105-104Yes260.835
Punishments range from 31 lashes to 100 lashes to death.
South Sudan-116-126Yes40.905
Punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Tanzania-120-120Yes340.822
Punishable by five years to life in prison.
Tonga-130-155Yes
Male homosexuality carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Afghanistan-137-147Yes20.935
Same-sex relations are forbidden by Sharia law, which is followed by the ruling Taliban, and punisha...
Qatar-137-137Yes50.897
Follows Sharia law. Homosexual acts are punishable with prison, floggings, or death.
Gambia-139-139Yes220.842
Homosexuality can be punished by life in prison.
Somalia-140-150Yes
Punishment for homosexuality varies by region, but can include death.
Mauritania-141-96Yes140.863
Punishable by imprisonment or death, though the latter is rarely used.
Yemen-145-128Yes210.848
Punishments for homosexuality include 100 lashes, prison, and (for married men) death by stoning.
Oman-145-145Yes620.731
Homosexual contact and "imitating the opposite sex" (a category trans people would fall into) can ea...
Libya-150-150Yes280.832
Punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
Sudan-159-109Yes10.957
Five years in prison for the first two offenses, life for the third.
Malaysia-160-165Yes570.750
Homosexual acts are punishable by prison, whipping, and fines. Non-cis gender expressions are prohib...
United Arab Emirates-160-134Yes590.738
Prohibited in all emirates, particularly Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah.
Guyana-162-175Yes630.729
Up to life in prison (not enforced; decriminalisation proposed)
Malawi-163-163Yes150.863
Homosexuality is punishable by prison, which may be supplemented with corporal punishment such as wh...
Kuwait-180-180Changing430.794
Kuwait criminalises same-sex sexual activity between men. Sentences include a maximum penalty of sev...
Nigeria-190-190Yes60.884
Homosexuality is punishable by prison or death. Discussion of LGBTQI+ rights is also illegal.
Saudi Arabia-196-177Yes30.926
Follows Sharia law, in which homosexual acts are punishable by whipping, banishment, or death.
Brunei-200-200Yes
An updated Sharia code Brunei enacted in April 2019 introduced harsh punishments for gender nonconfo...
SyriaYes
Unnatural sexual intercourse may earn its participants up to three years in prison.
Palestine-106Yes
(Gaza Strip) Homosexual acts may receive up to 10 years in prison.
Guam289No
Cook IslandsYes
The penalty for anal intercourse between males is a prison term of five to seven years.
showing: 204 rows

Which country is the most homophobic?

Sudan is currently the country that is most homophobic toward its citizens, but it is dangerous for LGBTQI+ people to even visit the country of Brunei.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources