Homosexual acts are illegal in 9 Asian countries (as of May 2012). In countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Burma, this is however rarely or never reinforced. Still, LGBT persons do face discrimination and violation of fundamental rights throughout the region.
People living in Afghanistan face certain unique legal and social challenges. Homosexuality and cross-dressing are considered serious crimes in Afghanistan, possible punishment may include the death penalty. This is usually the case in rural parts of the country where local villagers take the law into their own hands.
When publicly discussed, homosexuality is often linked with prostitution and pedophilia and the level of awareness about sexual orientation or gender identity is limited.
Bangladesh is perceived to be one of the few Islamic states which exercises considerable tolerance towards the issue of homosexuality. The instances of utilising Governmental instruments for persecuting homosexuals is rare. But practising homosexuality is strictly prohibited by the law under Section 377 A of the Criminal Penal Code.
Information on the conditions for LGBT people in Burma is very scarce. The authoritarian nature of the government makes it difficult to obtain accurate information about the legal or social status of LGBT Burmese citizens.
Homosexuality is illegal in Burma. Same-sex relations are criminalised under the nation's colonial penal code, and although it is not strictly enforced, activists say the law is still used by authorities to discriminate and extort.
The society has in recent years been liberalized and especially the last year more rights have been given to LGBT people and in 2012 Burma held its first gay pride celebrations, in a sign of liberalising social attitudes paralleling political reforms in the formerly army-ruled nation.
Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Cambodia when it involves non-commercial acts between consenting adults in private. While traditional cultural mores tend to be tolerant in this area, even expressly providing support for people of an intermediate or third gender, LGBT rights legislation has not yet been enacted by the ruling government. In 2012 the King of Cambodja stated: "as a liberal democracy, Cambodia should allow "marriage between man and man or between woman and woman."
Homosexuality is generally considered a taboo subject by both Indian civil society and the government. Homophobia is prevalent in India. Public discussion of homosexuality in India has been inhibited by the fact that sexuality in any form is rarely discussed openly. In recent years, however, attitudes towards homosexuality have shifted slightly. In particular, there have been more depictions and discussions of homosexuality in the Indian news media and by Bollywood.
The Nepalese government, following the monarchy that ended in 2007, legalised homosexuality in 2007 along with the introduction of several new law sets. Based on the ruling of the Supreme Court of Nepal in late 2008, the government is looking into legalising same-sex marriage. The draft of the new Constitution 2012 includes good provisions for LGBTI rights. Many LGBT people describe Nepal as the most LGBT friendly country in South Asia and this summer Nepal will host the region’s first sports competition for the LGBT community.
Being a LGBT person is a considered a taboo vice in parts of society of Pakistan and gay rights are close to non-existent. According to Pakistani law, homosexuality is illegal and the law has yet to be repealed. The current ban on homosexuality comes from a British colonial era law, which has been on the books since 1860, with subsequent laws further restricting LGBT-rights under the guise of protecting public morality. Due to the social disapproval towards such acts, the public tend to oppose homosexuality and other forms of alternative sexual orientation.
Tolerance for LGBT people has increased over the years due to greater education about sexual orientation and gender identity issues and the growing visibility and political activism of the LGBT community Same-sex marriages are not legally recognized and the LGBT community is not protected by any civil rights laws. Leaders of the House of Representatives have in 2012 rejected the possibility of passing a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in the Philippines.
Although same-sex relations for both men and women are not illegal, same-sex couples and households are not eligible for the same legal protections as heterosexual couples, while it was only in 2010 that a major state-owned media network confirmed for the first time that homosexuality is normal.