15 Least Gay-Friendly Countries in the World

What are the least gay-friendly countries in the world?

As a fan of traveling, when choosing where to travel I sometimes look up how safe that country is as well as at its social and cultural norms, just to know what is culturally accepted and what is not. However, if you are gay or you are traveling with a gay friend the word “safety” has a completely new meaning. To know which countries you should avoid, take a look at our list below. Actually, “least friendly” might be an understatement in this case, since in a lot of countries on this list being gay is punishable by law with sentences varying from a couple of years in prison to lifetime or even death. In case you want to stay positive and focus on those parts of the world where equal rights and tolerance exist you might want to take a look at our 16 Most Gay-Friendly Countries in the World list and get ready to buy a ticket for your next destination.

15 Least Gay-Friendly Countries in the World


While some Western countries promote equal rights and acceptance for same-sex couples, this is not the case in the rest of the world. In fact, maps published by ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association show a very discouraging picture of the world.  According to their comprehensive survey, there are only 22 countries in the world where gay marriage is legal (out of which 1 is in Africa, 6 in Americas, 13 in Europe and 1 in Oceania). You can take a look at the list published by Forbes magazine as well.  ILGA’s survey found that same-sex sexual acts are illegal in 72 states (33 in Africa, 23 in Asia, 11 in Americas, 6 in Oceania), same-sex sexual acts are punished by the death penalty in 13 states. Criminalizing states are mainly centered in Africa and the Middle East, but they are also present in the Caribbean. National Geographic also emphasizes that there are countries (e.g. Russia) where same-sex sexual acts are not criminalized but any kind of LGBT propaganda or public affirmation of “non-traditional sexual relations” is forbidden.

In order to compile this list of least gay-friendly countries in the world, I focused on a couple of sources including Equaldex, The Washington Post’s article about the state of LGBT rights in the world, maps published by National Geographic, City Lab’s Global Map of Homophobia, etc. The most valuable and credible source is definitely ILGA’s comprehensive survey entitled “A World Survey of Sexual Orientation Laws: Criminalization, Protection and Recognition”. In order to compile the list I considered various factors including: recognition of same-sex marriages, whether same-sex sexual acts are illegal and if they are what the penalties are. Countries that discriminate the most were higher on the list and those countries which apply the death penalty for same-sex sexual acts were at the top of the list of least gay-friendly countries in the world. Let’s take a look: