The Most Difficult Places in the World to Be Gay

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18. Uganda
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: Life in prison
> Population: 42,723,139
> GNI per capita, PPP: $1,970
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 77%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: $124.4 million

Any person regardless of gender engaging in same-sex activity in Uganda is liable for imprisonment for life. Attacks against LGBT advocacy organizations in the country have forced some of them to shut down temporarily. Officials have opposed events supporting HIV prevention. In 2017, President Yoweri Museveni said, “You cannot stand up here and say ‘I am a homosexual.’ People will not like it.”

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17. Tanzania
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: Life in prison
> Population: 56,318,348
> GNI per capita, PPP: $3,160
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 78%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: $84.9 million

In Tanzania, one of the most populous nations in Africa, any person, regardless of gender, faces at least 30 years in prison and up to life in prison for engaging in same-sex conduct. An article in the nation’s penal code says materials tending to “corrupt morals” may not be distributed, sold, or shown.

Respect for the rights of LGBT people has declined in recent years. In mid-2016, the government launched a crackdown on LGBT communities that has been escalating ever since. In 2017, Deputy Health Minister Hamisi Kigwangalla banned private health care centers that provided HIV-related services, saying they promoted homosexuality.

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16. Bangladesh
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: Life in prison
> Population: 161,356,039
> GNI per capita, PPP: $4,570
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 74%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: $68.9 million

In the Asian nation of Bangladesh, people who are involved in same-sex conduct can face prison terms for life.

There are reports from Bangladesh about threats of violence from religious radicals, and LGBT people have said the nation has not offered protection. Activists say intolerance and violence against LGBT people have risen in Bangladesh, with gay people afraid of associating with one another.

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15. St. Lucia
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: Life in prison
> Population: 181,890
> GNI per capita, PPP: $12,990
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): N/A
> Amount of US aid in 2020: 0

On St. Lucia, an island nation in the eastern Caribbean, men convicted of same-sex conduct may be liable to imprisonment for life if commited by rape, and 10 years in other cases.

The country’s first LGBT human rights office was burned to the ground in 2011. That same year, three gay American tourists were attacked in what was described as a hate crime. As for citizens of St. Lucia, they tend to underreport crimes against LGBT people because of police apathy. There are also reports of bias against LGBT people in terms of renting homes and harassment in the workplace.

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14. Barbados
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: Life in prison
> Population: 286,640
> GNI per capita, PPP: $16,280
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 100%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: $95,080

The penalty in Barbados, an island in the eastern Caribbean, for a person of any gender engaging in same-sex acts for life in prison.

Barbados has held gay pride parades and other events, and there have been calls to accept gay relationships as part of the island country’s culture. Even so, some political figures remain opposed to changing the law. In May 2017, Minister of the Environment Denis Lowe said he did not support the LGBT movement in Barbados and would not back the legislation of same-sex marriage because he still believed in “the biblical way of life.”