Gay Rights and Legal Obstacles in Africa


Legal obstacles are correlated with same-sex marriage acts, the financial benefits of these couples, and laws against discrimination of these couples. Laws in many nations discriminate against the LGBT community. It has resulted in the formation of positive movements that protect the rights of gay people. However, there are still laws that discriminate against the rights of gay people in many countries. About 40% of the United Nations member countries still have laws that negatively impact the gay couples. The rate of violent behavior against gay people is still high across the world. In 2013, more discriminating laws against the gay community and those that support them were adopted by Uganda and Nigeria.

The United States suggested that funding be cut to countries that are against LGBT laws. Proves is ironic because the US itself has not done much to convince its residents that it is wrong to discriminate against gay people and stop violent behavior against them. Some US states do not even allow gay marriages to take place.

Gay Rights in Africa

Most African countries are against LGBT. Gay people living in Africa are more limited as compared to other parts of the world. In Africa, LGBT is legal in 21 out of 54 countries; it is legal in 3 countries. Gay people are not allowed in the military in Africa except in only one state. Gay people are safe from discrimination in only seven states. Homosexuality is outlawed in 34 countries in Africa. Benin and The Central African Republic do not consider being gay as illegal. However, they have a different set of laws for homosexuals and heterosexuals.

In some nations, being gay is a criminal offense punishable by law. Some countries punish homosexuality by death, for example, in Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania, and Nigeria. Some states punish it by imprisonment, for example, Tanzania and Sierra Leone sentence people who engage in gay activities to life imprisonment. Family members of heterosexuals cannot support them in Nigeria or send them to 10-year prison.

South Africa is the only country in Africa that has liberal attitudes towards homosexuality and heterosexuality. It legalized gay marriages, and its constitution protects the rights of gays and lesbians. Nevertheless, violence and discriminative behavior towards the LGBT community are still widespread in South Africa.

Movements That Protect Gay Rights 

Various social movements protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. The primary function of these movements is to ensure that gay people have a fair treatment like others. Some movements include;

  • The Homophile movement in the 1950s had the aim of helping homosexuals and heterosexuals to accept themselves; it was a self-help type of action.
  • International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Law Association (ILGA).
  • Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association.
  • Intersex South Africa.
  • An association of LGBTI people in Zimbabwe.
  • Sexual minorities Uganda (SMUG).
  • Gender/ Sexuality Rights Association, Taiwan (GSRAT).


There are different rights of LGBT people, depending on the country they live in. Although some countries are making a great effort to ensure equal rights for the LGBT people, there is still a long way to go before this is achieved. Homophobia is offensive in many countries in the world, even in states that support gay rights. To ensure the complete protection of gay people and the rights much more has to do done starting with changing the laws that discriminate against gay.


Here is some African LGBTQ Literature in Honor of Pride Month

470,000 Gay Men with HIV Die Annually Due to Homophobic Laws in Africa

Sexism on the Battlefield: The Story of Iman Elman, Somalia’s Youngest Female Commander