The Most Difficult Places in the World to Be Gay

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13. Guyana
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: Life in prison
> Population: 779,000
> GNI per capita, PPP: $8,420
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 86%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: $604,617

The penalty in Guyana, a country on South America’s North Atlantic coast, for same-sex conduct can be life in prison.

In 2018, religious leaders called on the government to oppose gay pride parades and festivals. Guyana had planned to hold a referendum on whether homosexuality should remain criminalized in 2017 but called it off. LGBT groups opposed the referendum saying it would stoke homophobia.

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12. Qatar
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: Death
> Population: 2,781,677
> GNI per capita, PPP: $124,401
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 93%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: $4,328

Same-sex relations are illegal in Qatar. Men face up to seven years in prison. Muslims in the country may face the death penalty, based on the interpretation of Sharia law, if they are engaging in extramarital sex, regardless of whether the affair is between men, women, or a man and a woman.

Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament and has come under greater scrutiny for its treatment of LGBT communities.

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11. United Arab Emirates
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: Death
> Population: 9,630,959
> GNI per capita, PPP: $75,440
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 93%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: $72,236

All sex outside of heterosexual marriage is illegal and those convicted can be imprisoned for up to a year. The penal code is not explicitly clear about homosexuality being a capital crime or not. The legal language can be interpreted as making all male homosexual intercourse a capital crime, but it can also mean that only for rape. Consensual homosexual relations are punishable in several ways, including hanging. There is no record of consensual homosexual acts being punished by anything but jail terms of differing lengths and fines.

It is through the Sharia code that the death penalty theoretically can be applied to same-sex sexual relations through the offense of Zina, which refers to any sexual acts by a married person outside of marriage.

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10. Somalia
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: Death
> Population: 15,008,54
> GNI per capita, PPP: N/A
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 5%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: $120.6 million

Intercourse between people of the same sex is illegal in Somalia, an eastern African nation that has been in chaos since 1991. Such acts can result in prison terms from three months to three years. The punishment for other gay activities, defined as “acts of lust,” is also imprisonment of between two months and two years. In 2012, a newly adopted provisional constitution made Somalia’s interpretation of Sharia law the main law of the country, making homosexuality a crime that can be punished by flogging or death.

A U.N. Human Rights Council report in 2015 said the death penalty has been used in parts of the country.

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9. Yemen
> Maximum anti-gay penalty: Death
> Population: 28,498,687
> GNI per capita, PPP: N/A
> Literacy rate (% of people 15 and above): 54%
> Amount of US aid in 2020: $109.3 million

In Yemen, the law states that unmarried gay men are to be punished with 100 whip lashes or one year in prison, but married gay men face death by stoning. Gay women are to be imprisoned for up to three years.

Before the civil war in Yemen, the LGBT community faced hostility in the country on the Arabian Peninsula. The situation has worsened since the war erupted. Yemen has become a more dangerous place for same-sex partners since the Houthi militia seized much of the country in 2013. There have been reports of militants from the Al Qaida-affiliated group Ansar Al Shari shooting or wounding gay men.