UGANDA has enacted one of the harshest anti-gay laws in the world last week, simply known as the Anti-Homosexuality Act (2023).

The bill imposes a life sentence for engaging in “same-sex sexual acts,” and the death penalty for gay sex in certain circumstances, such as while infected with an illness such as HIV or having sex with a person with disabilities or a minor.

This came mere days before the start of Pride Month, a global event in June that celebrates LGBTQ+ communities around the world. But, while the Uganda law has drawn worldwide condemnation it isn’t an outlier – even as America threatens sanctions. 

Homosexual acts remain heavily criminalised in many parts of the world. Being LGBTQ+ can lead to whippings or other punishments, while no country in Europe has made it illegal in Russia there are still fines for a lack of “traditional values”.

Where it's a crime to be gay: A visual guide to where LGBTQ rights are repressed


64 countries, apart of the United Nations, still criminalise same-sex acts, according to a database run by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

By region, this criminalisation breaks down as follows:

In Africa same-sex acts are illegal in 32 out of the continent's 52 countries. The countries where it is illegal: Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

In Asia and the Middle East same-sex acts are illegal in 20 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen

There are no places in Europe where same-sex acts are illegal

In the Americas, same-sex acts are prohibited in Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

In Oceania, the region made up of Australia and other island-nations in the South Pacific Ocean, same-sex acts are not allowed in Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu

The Spartacus Blog’s Gay Travel Index advises queer holiday-goers on which countries they can expect to be most safe in, where their rights are most protected, where to avoid. 

The National: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a rally in Burhaniye, Turkey.

While it is not illegal to engage in homosexual acts in countries such as Turkey or Egypt, discrimination, against those that are gay, is rife. Gay men are typically arrested and charged under laws regarding immorality or blasphemy, with incumbent Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declaring “we are against the LGBT,” and accused his political opponents of being gay – as if it was an insult. While Egyptian police hunt gay men through using apps like Grindr.

READ MORE: LGBT Youth Scotland leaves Twitter amid safe space concerns

Among the criteria assessed: anti-discrimination legislation, marriage/civil partnerships, whether adoption is allowed, transgender rights, infrastructure, views on conversion therapy, religious influence, local hostility, laws surrounding prosecution.

Malta, Canada and Switzerland are the top three safest countries to visit, while Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan are the most dangerous to go to.

The United Kingdom came in at ninth out of 199 global destinations

While the Netherlands was the first country in the world to fully legalise same-sex marriage. It did so in 2001. Scotland was the 17th country to legalise same-sex unions, which it did in 2014.