We use the law to defend the human rights of LGBT people globally

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The Issue

LGBT & The Law

There are 72 jurisdictions around the world that still criminalise private, consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex. Almost half of these are Commonwealth countries.

Explore Country information
  • 36 out of 53 Commonwealth countries criminalise consensual same-sex intimacy, with sentences ranging from two years in prison to the death penalty.
  • 15 jurisdictions worldwide maintain discriminatory age of consent laws between opposite-sex and same-sex acts.
  • In at least 25 countries, authorities use public order, vagrancy and misdemeanour offences to harass, arrest and prosecute transgender people. Blackmail, extortion, and physical and sexual violence is commonplace.
Read The Facts


A man and woman in discussion at the IACHR in front a nameplate saying Jamaica


‘Laws criminalising sexual activity between two consenting adults in their own homes have no place in a society that values and protects dignity, privacy and equality. They only serve to foment discrimination and violence towards the wider LGBT community in Jamaica.’ The Trust welcoming a decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to accept a case challenging Jamaica’s anti-buggery and gross indecency laws.


consensual same-sex intimacy not a crime

'Intimacy in private between adults of their own free will should never be a matter for the criminal law.' Our view on a 2018 decision of an appeal court in Lebanon, which held that consensual same sex activity is not unlawful.


Major victory for human rights

‘This is not just another court ruling; its significance cannot be underestimated. It upholds the right to freedom and equality of LGBT people in the second most populous country on earth, and a leading member of the Commonwealth.' Our Director on India's 2018 Supreme Court scrapping of Section 377.

Our Impact

Latest Updates

Key Publications

Breaking the Silence

Read the first ever global analysis of how laws against adult, consensual, same-sex activity specifically impact lesbians and bisexual women.

The cover of Criminalisation in the Commonwealth 2015

Criminalisation across the Commonwealth

Read our expansive report on the extent and pernicious consequences of the criminalisation of adult, consensual, same-sex activity in the Commonwealth.

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