What are the countries in the world that still criminalize for homosexuality?
Where is the LGBTI community currently being criminalized and protected?
The ILGA organization, International Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association, based in Switzerland but with members all over the world, recently published a map showing the legal status of this issue.
In nine countries of the world, including three Latin Americans, there is a constitutional protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, either explicitly or by a decision of justice. They are South Africa, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nepal, Portugal, Sweden, Fiji, and Switzerland. Adding Canada, whose constitutional protection was introduced in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by a decision of the Supreme Court.
It should be clarified that "in countries where there is more legal protection does not mean that the situation on the ground is safe or there is no hostility," said Lucas Ramón Mendos, lead author of the study on which the map is based, "State Homophobia", published in March of this year.
The map does not include data on the legal protection of transsexuals since it only talks about sexual orientation and not about gender identity.
But it does indicate the possibilities of seeking protection from the State in case of violence and discrimination, as well as what legal advances have been made in recent years.
In Latin America there have been "political opportunities with governments favorable to this type of claims", says Mendos, although at present "the tendency is the opposite, of threats to progress".
Protection against employment discrimination
In 52 countries there is a "broad protection" against discrimination based on sexual orientation. This also includes access to goods and services, health and education. In Latin America, they are Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Peru, and Uruguay.
Three other Latin American countries offer protection against discrimination in employment, but not in the other categories: Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
Countries with "limited or disparate" protection include those where there are no federal laws against discrimination, although they are state or local.
In this category are Argentina, where there are protective laws in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, the province of Río Negro and the city of Rosario, and the United States, among others.
The ILGA report also includes data on the situation of hate crimes in the different penal codes.
Hate crimes are specifically punishable in 42 countries or hate motives are considered aggravating. In Latin America, they are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, and Uruguay.
In Mexico, there are no provisions that consider these crimes as aggravating at the federal level, but in some local penal codes, such as Michoacán or Querétaro.
Criminalization of consensual sexual acts between adults of the same sex
At the other end of the spectrum are countries that criminalize consensual sexual relations between people of the same sex:
In 70 countries, sexual relations between adults of the same sex are illegal or de facto penalized. Of these, 26 punish only males.
11 countries punish same-sex adults who have consensual sex with the death penalty, or this is technically possible.
26 countries have penalties ranging from 10 years in prison to life imprisonment.
31 countries punish them with up to 8 years in prison.
Two countries de facto criminalize this type of relationship.
Only three countries in the world explicitly prohibit them: Brazil, Ecuador, and Malta.
In Latin America, Argentina prohibits psychiatrists from providing "services" to change people's sexual orientation and Uruguay prohibits any mental health diagnosis on the sole basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
As for marriage between people of the same sex, there are currently 26 countries that recognize it all over the world. In Latin America, they are Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay.
In other countries, there have been favorable provisions of the courts.
In some cases, protective laws have accompanied a social change that was already evident. But in others, it has been the rules themselves that have acted as promoters of change.
In this second group, countries such as Mexico and Argentina would be included, according to Mendos.