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Vital Statistics!

 Almost half the world’s population lives under criminal laws!

81 countries in the world criminalise same sex relationships

These countries represent in 2013 a total population of 2.8 billion people.

This represents 40% of the world’s population. Back in 1950, it was 76% of the world population who lived under explicit criminal laws sanctioning same sex relationships.

But while the global trend is undoubtedly clear, the actual number of people who live under criminal laws has remained almost unchanged since 1970.

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56 million people at least are directly targeted by these laws !

LGBT population sizes are hard to measure.

First because very few measurement initiatives have taken place

Second because the notion of LGBT is problematic in itself and a lot of people might be attracted emotionally or sexually to someone of the same gender without considering themselves homosexuals, a term that comes loaded with a Western and 20th Century-laden identity, whereas sexual and gender minority expressions have existed throughout history and exist today in many formats which neither ‘homosexuality’ nor other categories such as ‘transgender’ can capture. Similarly, a lot of people whose gender identity differs from majority norms don’t identify as ‘Transgender’.

Nevertheless, we take the conservative estimate that 2% of any given population might, at some stage of their life, be wanting to share an intimate relationship with someone of the same sex, or be wanting to express their gender in a way that does not correspond to what society expects from them in accordance with the sex they are being attributed.

Which means that in 2013, 56 million people live under regimes which violate their most basic human right.

70% of the world population’s freedom of speech is violated !

But looking at explicit criminalisation of same-sex relationships and/or gender expression is far from giving a full picture of the dire situation faced by sexual and gender minorities worldwide. Many other laws and regulations, often referring to ‘morality’, ‘order’, ‘pornography’ or other vague terminology, are used to silence and persecute minorities.

If laws and other provisions that censor the free expression on sexual orientation and gender identity are taken into account, it is 4.7 billion people whose freedom of expression and right to information is being violated. This represent 67.62 % of the global population.

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In contrast, only 6.57% of the world population lives under explicit legal protection against hate speech motivated by sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

While ver 500 Pride marches and events took place in 2012 , in more than 87 countries, Pride parades are banned or obstructed by the authorities.

For details on figures, please consult : Decriminalization of Homosexuality Figures & Graph-with adjuted figures

In 10 countries, potential application of Sharia law can lead to the death sentence for private consensual adult male same-sex acts, according to a recent Amnesty International report:

Iran, Irak, Mauritania, (northern States of Nigeria), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen


Check out the thematic resources section on this site for key statistics on various specific issues