Arts & culture

There are numerous sources of information on life as a LGBT(I) person in the different countries where Denmark are engaged in developmental partnerships: Magazines, references to book titles, film clips or references to these. And at LGBTnet.dk we have started to include these in our resources. Read about for example the newest issue of Qzine - African’s only magazine of LGBTI arts and culture. Find them in our extensive database of resources.

Q zine 10

Middle East & North Africa

In most of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) same-sex relations are illegal and LGBT persons face discrimination and violation of fundamental rights. Note that all MENA countries criminalizes same-sex relationships among both males and females, except Israel (Palestine), Egypt, as well as Lebanon and Kuwait (only between males). 

As of November 2017 homosexual acts are illegal in 14 countries in MENA. In seven of these countries (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Qatar, United Arab Emirates) homosexual acts are punishable with death. In all MENA countries except Iran, Tunisia, Israel (Palestine), Lebanon and Iraq there is a state ban on NGOs.

Many of the countries of the MENA region have legal systems based on sharia (Islamic) law, and many of their constitutions explicitly designate Islam as the state religion, even though non-Sunni-Muslim minorities account for up to 40% of their populations. Female Genital Mutilation (“FGM”) is another severe issue facing women in the MENA region, particularly in Egypt, Sudan and Yemen. Its fundamental aims are to destroy female sexual pleasure and to control female sexuality.

 

ILGA_map_2012_MENA

 

Algeria

More on Algeria to come later.

Read more: Algeria

Egypt

Egypt is influenced by the civil law system. As the criminal code is silent on the subject of private, adult and consensual homosexual acts, and cross-dressing, they are not de jure illegal in Egypt. However, since 2000 certain laws have been used to impose what amounts to a de facto ban on homosexuality and cross-dressing.

Read more: Egypt

Iran

LGBT rights in Iran have come in conflict with the penal code since the 1930s. Homosexuality is a crime punishable by imprisonment, corporal punishment, or by execution. Gay men have faced stricter enforcement actions under the law than lesbians. However, it is disputed as to whether the executions of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, or three other men executed in 2011 in Khuzestan province, were punishment for other crimes or carried out specifically because of their homosexuality.

Any type of sexual activity outside a heterosexual marriage is forbidden. Transsexuality in Iran is legal if accompanied by a gender confirmation surgery, with Iran carrying out more gender realignment operations than any other country in the world after Thailand. These surgeries are typically partially funded by the state – there have been claims that some homosexual men may have been pressured to undergo them both by government and society.

At the discretion of the Iranian court, fines, prison sentences, and corporal punishment are usually carried out rather than the death penalty (unless the crime was a rape). The charges of homosexuality and Lavat (sodomy) have in a few occasions been used in political crimes. Other charges had been paired with the Lavat crime, such as rape or acts against the state, and convictions are obtained in grossly flawed trials. On March 14, 1994, famous dissident writer Ali Akbar Saidi Sirjani was charged with offenses ranging from drug dealing to espionage to homosexuality. He died in prison under disputed circumstances.

Some human rights activists and opponents of the Iranian government claim between 4,000 and 6,000 gay men and lesbians have been executed in Iran for crimes related to their sexual orientation since 1979, while Amnesty International reports 5,000 have been.

Legislation

Male to male relationships: Illegal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Yes

Female to female relationships: Illegal

Same sex marriage or civil union: No

Discrimination protection

NRHI inclusive of sexual orientation: No

Constitution protection: No

Employment protection: No

Hate crimes law: No

Incitement: No

Other protection: No

LGBT organizations/networks

Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees: http://irqr.ca/2016/

The Iranian Queer Organization: http://www.irqo.org/english/

Publications

A 2014 submission prepared by Justice For Iran (JFI) for the 20th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is concerned with a range of distinct but interrelated criminal laws and other legal restrictions and practices that infringe the dignity and autonomy of women and transgender people, on grounds of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, particularly in respect of bodily integrity, sexual and reproductive health and decision-making. It is also concerned with patterns of sexual torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (hereafter “other ill-treatment”) against women prisoners of conscience, and with the culture of impunity by which such long-standing patterns of abuse are characterized: Disciplining Bodies, Diagnosing Identities, Mandatory Veiling, Mandatory Sterilization, Sexual Torture and the Right to Bodily Integrity in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Iraq

Iraq was given a ban on homosexuality, defined in the penal code as sodomy, while under British rule. The ban was initially maintained when Iraq achieved its Independence in 1932. The Criminal Code of 1969, enacted by the Ba'athist party, only criminalized sexual behavior in cases of adultery, incest, rape, prostitution, public acts or cases involving fraud or someone unable to give consent due to age or mental defect. Homosexuality per se was not a crime, but could be justification for government discrimination and harassment under laws designed to protect national security and public morality. In addition to the national penal code, members of the Iraqi Internal Security forces, along with current students and retirees, are bound the rules outlined in Decree Number 9 (2008). The degree bans police officers from associating with people of ill repute, and punishes police officers who engage in homosexual sodomy with up to fifteen years imprisonment. The Military Penal Law No. 19 of 2007 prohibits its men from engaging in homosexual sodomy.

For decades, the LGBT community in Iraq has been one of the most invisible communities in the world facing all kinds of discrimination, with barely any activism or advocacy in favor of this group. But in the last couple of years an underground movement started which led to creating the first and only organization for LGBTIQ+ individuals in Iraq with the name IraQueer.

Legislation

Male to male relationships: Illegal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Yes

Female to female relationships: Illegal

Same sex marriage or civil union: No

Discrimination protection

NRHI inclusive of sexual orientation: No

Constitution protection: No

Employment protection: No

Hate crimes law: No

Incitement: No

Other protection: No

LGBT organizations/networks

IraQueer: https://www.iraqueer.org/

LGBTI Iraq: https://www.facebook.com/alwan.iraqLGbt/

Jordan

Same-sex sexual activity was illegal in Jordan under the British Mandate Criminal Code Ordinance until 1951, when Jordan adopted its own penal code that did not criminalize homosexuality. However, LGBT people displaying public affection can be prosecuted for "disrupting public morality". A general interest gay magazine is published in Jordan. The Jordanian penal code no longer permits family members to beat or kill a member of their own family whose "illicit" sexuality is interpreted as bringing "dishonor" to the entire family. As of 2013, the newly revised Penal Code makes honor killings, as a legal justification for murder, illegal.

Legislation

Male to male relationships: Legal

Punishments for male to male relationships: No

 Age of consent: Equal for both homosexuals and heterosexuals

Female to female relationships: Legal

Same sex marriage or civil union: No

Discrimination protection

NRHI inclusive of sexual orientation: No

Constitution protection: No

Employment protection: No

Hate crimes law: No

Incitement: No

Other protection: No

LGBT organizations/networks

LGBT Jordan: https://www.facebook.com/LGBTIjordan/

LGBT Jordanian Youth Support: https://www.facebook.com/JO.LGBTQ/

Publications

Digital threats and opportunities for LGBT activists in Jordan (2017)

 

Lebanon

A poll done by the Pew Research Center in 2007 showed that 79% of Lebanese believed "homosexuality should be rejected by society", as opposed to 18% who believed "homosexuality should be accepted by society". But recently, there was an increase in the acceptance of LGBT people by the society, particularly after the Lebanese National Center for Psychiatry declassified the non-heterosexual sexual orientations as mental disorders in 2013, a milestone in the Arabic-speaking world.

Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code prohibits having sexual relations that are "contradicting the laws of nature", which is punishable by up to a year in prison. As a practical matter, enforcement of the law had been varied and often occurred through occasional police arrests. In 2002, the police broke into a woman's house after her mother claimed that her daughter had stolen some money and jewelry. Upon entering the house, the police found the woman having sexual relations with another woman and charged them both with the crime of sodomy. In January 2017, a Lebanese judge challenged the legal basis of the arrest of men for same-sex conduct. In his ruling, Judge Maalouf referred to a penal code provision protecting freedom of expression, Article 183, which states that, "An act undertaken in exercise of a right without abuse shall not be regarded as an offense." If no harm is done, there is no crime.

Legislation

Male to male relationships: Illegal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Yes

Female to female relationships: Legal

Same sex marriage or civil union: No

Discrimination protection

NRHI inclusive of sexual orientation: No

Constitution protection: No

Employment protection: No

Hate crimes law: No

Incitement: No

Other protection: No

LGBT organizations/networks

Helem: http://www.helem.net/

MOSAIC: https://www.mosaicmena.org/advocacy

 

Libya

More on Libya to come.

Legislation

Discrimination protection

LGBT organizations/networks


 

Morocco

Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Morocco. Morocco's statute and culture towards LGBT issues stands in stark contrast to that of neighboring Spain. In 2016, two girls were arrested in Marrakesh after one's cousin took a photo of them kissing. This sparked international outcry and the use of the hashtag #freethegirls. Their case was postponed until December 2016. In early December 2016, the two girls were acquitted.

Legislation

Male to male relationships: Illegal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Yes

Female to female relationships: Illegal

Same sex marriage or civil union: No

Discrimination protection

NRHI inclusive of sexual orientation: No

Constitution protection: No

Employment protection: No

Hate crimes law: No

Incitement: No

Other protection: No

LGBT organizations/networks

Kif-Kif: http://www.kifkif.lgbt/

Publications

Morocco: Situation of LGBT Persons (2017)

 

 

 

Palestine

LGBT are oftentimes spoke of in the geopolitical and cultural context of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It remains one of the more taboo human rights issues in the region.

The Palestinian territories have no specific, stand alone civil rights legislation that protects LGBT people from discrimination or harassment. The Basic Law of the Palestinian Constitution does, however, guarantee freedom of belief and expression, freedom of bodily integrity, freedom from discrimination "because of race, sex, color, religion, political views, or disability" and protection of human rights, all of which have served the basis of campaigns for explicit LGBT rights in other countries.

 Some LGBT Palestinians have fled, legally or illegally, mostly to Israel's urban centers, like Tel Aviv, seeking tolerance there. There are some reports of LGBT Arabs and Jews having relationships, thus breaking ethnic, religious and gender-based taboos. LGBT Jews and Arabs are among the least prejudiced people in the region, as seen by the cross-cultural relationships and the fact that gay bars are often a peaceful mixture of Arabs and Jews.

 LGBT organizations/networks

Aswat Group: http://www.aswatgroup.org/

Al Qaws: www.alqaws.org

 

Syria

Article 520 of the penal code of 1949, prohibits having homosexual relations, i.e. "carnal relations against the order of nature", and provides for up to 3 three-years imprisonment, although the law is not strictly enforced. In 2004 a Syrian woman named Hiba came forward as a transgender woman who had been given permission to have a sex change operation. n 2003 Syria, in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, voted to postpone a United Nations draft resolution on human rights and sexual orientation. The vote was 24-17. The draft resolution would have the Commission express deep concern at the occurrence of violations of human rights in the world against persons on the grounds of their sexual orientation; stress that human rights and fundamental freedoms were the birthright of all human beings, and that the universal nature of these rights and freedoms was beyond question; and call upon all States to promote and protect the human rights of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation.

Legislation

Male to male relationships: Illegal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Yes

Female to female relationships: Illegal

Same sex marriage or civil union: No

Discrimination protection

NRHI inclusive of sexual orientation: No

Constitution protection: No

Employment protection: No

Hate crimes law: No

Incitement: No

Other protection: No

LGBT organizations/networks

None found as of December 2017.

Tunisia

More on Tunisia to come.

Legislation

Discrimination protection

LGBT organizations/networks


Yemen

Article 264 of the national penal code prohibits private consensual homosexual acts between adult men. The stipulated punishment in the law for unmarried men is 100 lashes and up to a year in prison. The law stipulates that married men convicted of homosexuality are to be put to death. Article 268 of the national penal code prohibits private consensual homosexual acts between adult women. The law stipulates that premeditated acts of lesbianism are punished with up to three years in prison. The government blocks access to webpages that express support of LGBT rights. This policy of censorship also extends to publications and magazines in Yemen.

Legislation

Male to male relationships: Illegal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Yes

Female to female relationships: Illegal

Same sex marriage or civil union: No

Discrimination protection

NRHI inclusive of sexual orientation: No

Constitution protection: No

Employment protection: No

Hate crimes law: No

Incitement: No

Other protection: No

LGBT organizations/networks

None found as of December 2017.

 

 

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