Sun. May 19th, 2019

South Africa named as “one of the safest places in the world” for same-sex couples

LGBTQI+A list of the best – and worst – countries for same-sex and LGBTQI+ couples has been revealed, and South Africa sits at the very top of the tree.

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This should be a great source of “pride” for our country: A survey conducted by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) has labelled South Africa as one of the safest countries in the world for the LGBTQI+ community.

Mzansi forms one of nine countries that were recognised as safe-havens for same-sex and trans couples. By some distance, SA ranks as the most gay-friendly place in Africa, with only Angola anywhere near our standards.

What makes South Africa so LGBTQI+ friendly?

Well, for a start, we are one of just a handful of countries that recognises homosexuality as a lawful practice in our constitution. Discriminatory behaviour against a gay citizen is punishable by law, as explained in our Bill of Rights.

Same-sex marriage has been legalised and adoption is open to all partners of any sexual orientation. In fact, our progressive attitude towards the LGBTQI+ community is matched only by Malta, Sweden and Portugal. There are five other countries that share our constitutional protections, but fail to recognise either marriage or adoption rights:

  • Bolivia
  • Ecuador
  • Mexico
  • Fiji
  • Nepal

Most European countries allow for both same-sex marriage and adoption, despite having nothing about homosexuality in their constitutions. Turkey and Russia, however, have no protections in place for the gay community and the freedom to talk about these issues is severely limited.

Countries where homosexuality is punishable by death

In total, there are 70 countries that still mark homosexuality as a criminal act, with sentences ranging from two years in prison to the death penalty. There are 11 nations where simply being gay could get you killed:

  • Somalia
  • North Nigeria
  • Mauritania
  • Sudan
  • Iran
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Yemen
  • UAE
  • Qatar
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Dark blue represents liberal attitudes towards homosexuality, whereas dark red indicates countries where the death penalty is enforced – Photo: ILGA / Lucas Ramón Mendos.
  • The data presented in this map is based on State-Sponsored Homophobia and LGBTQI issues, an ILGA report by Lucas Ramón Mendos.

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