LGBT rights are not recognized in Ethiopia. All homosexual activity is by Ethiopian law seen as a sexual crime, and the public acknowledgement or promotion of homosexuality is overwhelmingly rejected by Ethiopian society.



Male to male relationships: Not legal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Imprisonment of 10 years or more

Female to female relationships: Not legal

Marriage and substitutes for marriage: No law

More on the Ethiopian law at


Legal incidents

In a U.S. Department of State Country Report for 2011, there were some reports of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in Ethiopia. However, reporting was limited due to fears of retribution, discrimination, or stigmatization. Persons did not identify themselves as LGBT persons due to severe societal stigma and the illegality of consensual same-sex sexual activity.


Social climate

In a national conference in June 2012 Ethiopian government officials, religious leaders and civil representatives have declared their opposition to LGBT rights and condemned homosexuality as a Western epidemic during an anti-gay conference. (source:


The AIDS Resource Center in Addis Ababa reported in 2011 that the majority of self-identified gay and lesbian callers, the majority of whom were male, requested assistance in changing their behavior to avoid discrimination. Many gay men reported anxiety, confusion, identity crises, depression, self-ostracism, religious conflict, and suicide attempts. (source: U.S. Department of State Country Report 2011 )


LGBT organizations/networks

In 2007, a group named The Ethiopian gays, lesbians, bisexual & transgender committee was established, initiating grassroots activities as well as attempts at dialogue with the government. However, after reports of severe obstacles in 2008, no documentation of further activity can be found on the internet.






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