34 African nations have anti-gay laws; soon dropping to 32?

Of Africa’s 54 nations, 34 currently have laws against same-sex intimacy. The latest country where it is illegal to be gay is the north-central African nation of Chad.

Location of Chad in African (Map courtesy of Wikimedia)
Location of Chad in African (Map courtesy of Wikimedia)

Two other African nations — Kenya and Botswana — may be heading in the opposite direction. High courts there have scheduled hearings in early 2019 on constitutional challenges to their anti-gay laws.

In August 2017, Chad enacted a law providing for prison sentences of three months to two years for same-sex intimacy. (This blog didn’t immediately include Chad in its list of countries where it is illegal to be gay because there was initial uncertainty about whether the proposal had been enacted into law or had merely won a vote in the legislature.)

It’s now clear that Chad’s repressive law took effect on Aug. 1, 2017. This is the wording of the law, translated from French:

Chapter II on “Other offenses against decency” of Title VII (relating to sexual offences) of the Penal Code, provides as follows:

Article 354. Everyone who has sex with persons of the same sex is liable to imprisonment for three months to two years and a fine of between 50,000 and 500,000 francs.[Source 1]

Chapter III on “Offenses of a sexual nature committed against minors” of Title VIII (relating to offenses against the person or the status of the child) of the Penal Code, provides as follows:

Article 360. Anyone who, without violence, maintains a sexual relationship or practices sexual touching on a person of the same sex aged less than eighteen (18) years will be punished with imprisonment of one (1) to three (3) years and a fine of 100,000 to 500,000 francs.[Source 2]

The latest version of the publication State-Sponsored Homophobia does not include Chad’s new anti-gay law. That report by ILGA (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) was published in the spring of 2017, before Chad’s law took effect.

With the inclusion of Chad, 74 countries are currently on this blog’s list of countries with 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, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.


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