102 who are in prison for being gay, 75 more awaiting trial

Iran's Revolutionary Guards arrested dozens of "homosexuals and devil-worshippers" in October 2013. (Photo courtesy of Mehr News Agency)
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards arrested dozens of “homosexuals and devil-worshippers” in October 2013. (Photo courtesy of Mehr News Agency)

A look at 169 people who fell victim to anti-gay laws
Worldwide, at least 94 people are currently in prison for allegedly violating laws that punish those who are born gay, lesbian or bisexual. In addition, at least 75 other people are awaiting trial on charges related to  homosexuality.
Those are the tallies in the latest Erasing 76 Crimes list of people whose lives have been devastated by anti-gay laws in some of the 76-plus countries where homosexuality is currently illegal. Admittedly, listing 169 people is probably an extreme understatement of the number of people worldwide who are behind bars or awaiting trial on anti-homosexuality charges, but finding out about specific cases is difficult, especially in countries without a free press.
Jackson Mukasa, left, and Kim Mukisa
The possibility of life in prison confronts Jackson Mukasa, left, and Kim Mukisa, who are scheduled to go on trial soon in Uganda on charges of violating that country’s anti-gay laws.

The list provides a narrow window into just one of many types of injustice affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, sometimes with fatal results.
At present, the list is led by:

  • Nigeria (an estimated 36 LGBT people in prison on homosexuality charges),
  • Egypt (an estimated 18 in prison and 10 free while awaiting trial),
  • Saudi Arabia (an estimated 21 in prison, according to specific recent reports; hundreds of other cases cited without any specifics),
  • Cameroon (8 in prison and 12 free while awaiting trial), and
  • Iran (24 arrested and detained as “homosexuals and satanists” in October 2013; all reportedly out on bail awaiting trial on undisclosed charges).

Other countries on the list are:

  • India (13),
  • Uganda (11),
  • Zambia (5),
  • Morocco (2 specified; dozens more people reportedly arrested and tried),
  • Senegal (2),
  • United Arab Emirates (2),
  • Zimbabwe (2) and
  • Malaysia (1).

To understand what these people are going through, see the full list of people in prison or free awaiting trial for alleged violations of anti-gay laws.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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