LGBTQ+ Rights in the Eastern Hemisphere Lee Coleman 6th Period mr.merry global studies

We all know that same-sex marriage has been legalized in the US. It's also legal in Canada and Mexico (with some limitations) as well, making the majority of North America "gay-friendly". This doesn't mean these countries are perfect and treat LGBTQ citizens 100% equal to other citizens but they are considered some of the friendlier countries towards LGBTQ+ people (especially Canada). However, how does the rest of the world treat LGBTQ+ people? I decided to find out myself, after seeing this video on LGBTQ discrimination in Uganda. My presentation will focus on LGBTQ+ rights in Africa, Europe, and Asia. Knowing I only had so much time to research, I did not do South America or Australia since they can be considered more progressive when it comes to LGBTQ rights.

And Antarctica has always been gay friendly

Penguins will never judge you for your sexuality and gender

Compelling Questions

  • 1. What is the overall situation for most LGBTQ people in Africa, Asia, and Europe?
  • 2. What is considered the worst country and the best country for LGBTQ in each continent?
  • 3. Who are leaders and figures of the LGBTQ communities in other countries?

Overview of the Countries

Overview of Countries

Europe (including Russia)

LGBTQ rights in Europe

Overall, Europe is a mixed batch when it comes to LGBTQ rights. Homosexuality is legal in the entire continent, but most of them have not legalized same sex marriage. The countries that have legalized it include France, Iceland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Discrimination is still prevalent in areas like Russia.

The good...

England and Spain are probably one of the best countries for LGBTQ individuals. They allow same sex marriage, adoption by same sex couples, changing gender is legal, and discriminating against a person sexual orientation is illegal.

...and the bad.

Russia is by far the most well known of the continent for it's poor treatment of LGBTQ, despite the leader of the country, Vladmir Putin, stating that he is a supporter of LGBTQ rights. Russia doesn't allow "promotion of homosexuality" towards minors, 74% of Russians say that they shouldn't accept homosexuality in society, and there is barely any protections for LGBTQ people.

Asia (divided in to Oriental and Middle East)

Oriental Asia

This area of Asia is relatively neutral on the progression of LGBTQ rights. The biggest country in Asia, China, does not criminalize same sex couples, has banned conversion therapy, and has legalized sex change. However, it doesn't recognizes unions between same sex couples or allow them to adopt, and there are no real protections for LGBTQ persons. This is pretty much the same for the rest of Asia.

Middle East

The Middle East is very different however. Jawad, a gay man in Syria, was arrested by the police for being gay and spent 5 years in jail doing hard labour. Due to coloniolism, Middle Eastern countries tend to have a strong sense of religion and traditional gender roles despite being more liberal in the past with their views on LGBTQ rights. As a matter of fact, out of the ten countries that have the death penalty for being gay, 6 of them are from the Middle East

The good..

Probably considered one of the most friendly countries towards LGBTQ individual in Asia is Taiwan, which is currently working on a bill to recognize same sex unions in marriage and allow same sex couples to adopt.

...and the bad.

Iran is one of the worst countries in the world for LGBTQ individuals. There is no protection for LGBTQ persons, same sex marriage is illegal, conversion therapy is legal and anyone found to have a same sex partner can be killed, especially men.


Homosexuality is illegal in the majority of Africa with the only country with legalized same sex marriage being South Africa. Being an LGBTQ person can get you arrested or even killed.

The good...

With South Africa being the only country in Africa with legalized marriage and protections for LGBTQ individuals, it's probably the best country in Africa for a LGBTQ community.

...and the bad.

Mauritania, Somalia, and Sudan imprison and carry out the death penalty for those who are LGBTQ, making them the worst on the continent.

Figureheads for the LGBTQ Community

Pepe Julian Onziema at the 26th Annual GLAAD Awards

Pepe Julian Onziema

Pepe is a transgender LGBTQ rights activist from Uganda who was named a Global Citizen by the Clinton Global Initiative. He was also selected by Stonewall as Hero of the Year in 2014 and had an interview with John Oliver on the television show Last Week Tonight

Picture of Ashok Row Kavi

Ashok Row Kavi is an openly gay man, LGBTQ activist, and journalist from India, where homosexuality is illegal. He is a huge advocate for curing and reducing aids as well.

Nikki Sinclaire

Nikki Sinclaire was the first ever transgender politician to be in the British Parliament, was the MEP of the West Midlands, and created her own party "We Demand a Referendum Now". She associates herself more with politics than the LGBTQ community, but she is still considered a very important person in the progression of LBBTQ rights and representation.

Further Question

  • What can be done to help LGBTQ in other countries?
  • What organizations help LGBTQ individuals?


"Equaldex." The Collaborative LGBT Rights Knowledge Base. N.p., 2017. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. <>.

Wagstaff, Keith. "13 Countries Where Gay Marriage Is Legal [Updated]." The Week. The Week, 17 July 2013. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. <>.

Kahn, Carrie. "How Mexico Quietly Legalized Same-Sex Marriage." NPR. NPR, 16 June 2015. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. <>.

Lipka, Michael. "Where Europe Stands on Gay Marriage and Civil Unions." Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center, 09 June 2015. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. <>.

Ennis, Stephen. "Russia's Mixed Messages on LGBT." BBC News. BBC, 29 Apr. 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. <>.

Longman, James. "Gay Community Hit Hard by Middle East Turmoil." BBC News. BBC, 29 Oct. 2014. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. <>.

Bearak, Max, and Darla Cameron. "Analysis | Here Are the 10 Countries Where Homosexuality May Be Punished by Death." The Washington Post. WP Company, 16 June 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. <>.

Steger, Isabella. "From Dictatorship to LGBT Paradise: Taiwan’s Road towards Marriage Equality." Quartz. Quartz, 19 Jan. 2017. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. <>.

Pepe Julian Onziema Interview Pt. II (Web Exclusive): Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO). Dir. John Oliver. Perf. Pepe Julian Onziema and John Oliver. Pepe Julian Onziema Interview Pt. II (Web Exclusive): Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO). HBO, 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 13 Mar. 2017. <>.

"An Interview with Ashok Row Kavi-Coming Out in India." An Interview with Ashok Row Kavi ::The Foundation for AIDS Research :: HIV / AIDS Research. AmfAR, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. <>.

Arkell, Harriet. "Sex-change Politician Says She Became Lesbian after Being Raped Four Years after She Became a Woman." Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 18 Nov. 2013. Web. 14 Mar. 2017. <>.


Created with images by vl04 - "Vancouver LGBTQ Pride 2015" • Unsplash - "chinstrap penguin penguins antarctica" • Kuba Bożanowski - "EuroPride 2010"

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