The Most Difficult Places in the World to Be Gay

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23. Solomon Islands
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: 14 years in prison
> Population: 652,860
> GNI per capita, PPP: $2,320
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 77%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: $17,508

People convicted of same-sex conduct in the Solomon Islands, hundreds of islands northeast of Australia, face imprisonment for 14 years.

News stories in 2017 reported on physical and verbal abuse LGBT people are subjected to in the Solomon Islands. Some gay people have also said the police do not protect them and that they’ve been the victims of discrimination in the the workplace. Officials from the Solomon Islands have rejected calls to decriminalize same-sex behavior.

In 2018, Solomon Island Governor General Sir Frank Ofagioro Kabui said in a speech that same-sex relations are illegal in the country and that promoting same-sex marriage is like changing the law of gravity by legislation.

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22. The Gambia
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: 14 years in prison
> Population: 2,280,100
> GNI per capita, PPP: $2,570
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 51%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: $615,854

In the African nation of The Gambia, any person regardless of gender who has same-sex relations can be imprisoned for as many as 14 years.

In 2017, the U.S. State Department reported elevated levels of societal bias against gay people in the country. That same year, then newly elected President Adama Barrow said homosexuality was not an issue in The Gambia. Barrow’s predecessor Yahya Jammeh had called homosexuals vermin and threatened to cut their throat. The European Union withheld more than 33 million euros (about $37 million) in aid in protest over the targeting of the LGBT communities in The Gambia.

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21. Kenya
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: 14 years in prison
> Population: 51,393,010
> GNI per capita, PPP: $3,440
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 82%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: $109.5 million

Men who engage in same-sex conduct in Kenya face imprisonment of up to 14 years. Until 2018, Kenya forced anal examinations to find “proof” of same-sex sexual acts. Incidents of mob violence against LGBT people and arrests of victims have been reported.

In April 2018, Kenya banned the film “Rafiki” — about a lesbian relationship — claiming it promoted lesbianism. The ban was briefly lifted in September so that the movie could be submitted for international film awards.

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20. Antigua and Barbuda
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: 15 years in prison
> Population: 96,290
> GNI per capita, PPP: $25,490
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 99%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: 0

Men found guilty of same-sex conduct in Anitgua and Barbuda, an island nation in the West Indies, may be imprisoned for up to 15 years.

The Antiguan Attorney General supported in 2011 so-called buggery laws, stating, “There will be no change in the law on buggery in Antigua and Barbuda, at least not if I can help it. Being gay is morally wrong, and to be honest personally, I am still homophobic.” However, by 2016, the Caribbean nation was moving toward decriminalizing homosexual conduct.

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19. Zambia
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: Life in prison
> Population: 17,351,822
> GNI per capita, PPP: $4,100
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 87%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: $60.1 million

In the African nation of Zambia, any person who engages in same-sex activity regardless of gender can face imprisonment for at least 15 years and up to life.

Anti-gay crackdown occurred in 2013 after four gay couples were rumored to try and register for same-sex marriage. One tribal chief at the time said homosexuals should be “caged.” In 1998, Zambia’s Registrar of Societies refused to register the group Lesbians Gays and Transgender Association (LEGATRA), saying they could not register the group “any more than I could a Satanic organization.”