The news that India has re-criminalized homosexuality has come as a blow to the worldwide LGBT movement.
Roughly 16% of the world’s total population — 1.2 billion people — live in the South Asian state.
But India isn’t alone in considering homosexual acts a crime. According to the 2013 report from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, 76 countries (plus India) have laws making homosexuality illegal. The map below highlights the countries:
In five of these countries — Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, Sudan — plus parts of Nigeria and Somalia, homosexuality is punishable by death. Additionally, there are a number of countries where homosexuality is not illegal but laws exist that seriously restrict homosexuality — most famously, Russia, which enacted a law that prohibited homosexual “propaganda” last year. In some parts of the U.S., laws against sodomy remain inexplicably on the books and, even more inexplicably, people are arrested under them.
India’s huge size isn’t the only sad thing about the news today. It also appears to be a huge backward step: India had actually decriminalized colonial-era homosexuality laws in 2009. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court reversed that, and while India’s law minister has promised to review the ruling, as AFP notes, it’s unlikely a new pro-gay law could pass any time soon.
The full list of countries is below:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Papua New Guinea
- São Tomé and Principe
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
- St Kitts & Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent & the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
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