Tanzania criminalizes homosexuality and LGBT people suffer persecution and violence at the hands of state and non-state actors.


Male to male relationships: Not legal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Imprisonment of 30 years on mainland, 25 in Zanzibar.

Punishments for female to female relationships: None on mainland, 5 years in Zanzibar.

Female to female relationships: Not legal

Social climate

The prosecution of same sex conduct has not occured in years, but the existence of the law has kept the LGBTI community victimised and marginalised, and police frequently harass members of the community using "loitering" as the general charge. The plight of LGBT people in Tanzania has been document in this report from 2013 from Human Rights Watch: Treat us like human beings: Discrimination against Sex Workers, Sexual and Gender Minorities, and People Who Use Drugs in Tanzania

LGBT people in Tanzania live on the margins of society, in constant fear of being evicted from their homes, dismissed from their schools or jobs, verbally or physically abused or otherwise discriminated against.

More on the situation for LGBT people in Tanzania in this shadow report by International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Global Rights.

LGBT organizations/networks

For security reasons we will not display a list of LGBT organisations and networks here, but there is a growing community and a number of organisations working for and with and driven by LGBT people in Tanzania.


Tanzania is party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention Against Torture, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

More information

A traditional form of same-sex marriage called nyumba ntombhu represents a western Tanzanian practice where the older women are allowed to marry younger women in order to overcome a problem of gender-based domestic violence. It is also an alternative form of family structure for older women who do not have sons to inherit their property. Women who are married under nyumba ntombhu usually hire a man and pay him when a younger woman falls pregnant: Nyumba Ntombhu in Tanzania

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