Over the past eleven years, the number of a countries that outlaw homosexuality has dropped from 92 to 75, says the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).
The organisation released its annual State Sponsored Homophobia report, first published in 2006, on Tuesday, marked as the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
The report has become the leading resource on legislation around the world affecting people on the basis of their sexual orientation.
“In 2006, 92 states were still criminalising same-sex consensual activity,” said author Aengus Carroll. “By 2016, that number is at 75 states.”
He noted that, “at the same time the variety of laws relevant to sexual orientation has expanded greatly: laws that criminalise our sexual practice or our expression, specific laws that protect us from harms and hatred, and laws that recognise us as beings who need relationships.”
According to the report, there are currently 13 UN member states (or parts thereof) where the death penalty might be applied for same-sex sexual acts, although eight regions actually implement this.
The maximum penalty can vary from 15 years to a life sentence in jail in 14 other countries. Of the five continents, Africa continues to have the most states that criminalise homosexuality, (34).
Seventeen states also have gay ‘propaganda’ laws that limit freedom of expression about sexual orientation in place, with a rise in proposals for their adoption in more countries.
Despite hostile laws still being enacted in many parts of the world, public acceptance of LGBTI persons seems to be growing, said ILGA.
Seventy states now have legal provisions that protect against LGBT discrimination in employment; 22 countries recognise and provide for same-sex marriage, while other 24 guarantee some civil partnership recognition.
“We believe in the powerful and liberating acts that information and knowledge produce,” comment Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy, Co-Secretaries General at ILGA. “We are convinced that this report continues to provide an opportunity to change and challenge norms and practices that continue to oppress LGBTIQ people around the world.”