Pride and Prejudice in Shifting Landscape of LGBTQIA+ Laws Worldwide

Posted: 24th June 2021
Pride and Prejudice in Shifting Landscape of LGBTQIA+ Laws Worldwide


Editor’s Note: The following post is an excerpt of a full report. To read the entire analysis, click here to download the report as a PDF.

Executive Summary

In honor of Pride month, Recorded Future’s Insikt Group partnered with Out@RF, the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) Employee Resource Group at Recorded Future, to research the political landscape facing the LGBTQIA+ community worldwide in the last year. Around the world, the progress of civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people remains a long and uneven road, one marked with victories and crises, advances and setbacks, celebrations of pride and attacks motivated by prejudice. Although LGBTQIA+ rights have advanced greatly both in popular support and laws passed in many countries, particularly in the West, in recent years, nationalism has also been on the rise worldwide — and with it, growing calls for a return to “traditional” social values. For many proponents of these values, LGBTQIA+ rights remain anathema. 

In some countries, openly living as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community can be tantamount to a death sentence. But even in nations where there is broad public support for LGBTQIA+ rights and protections are enshrined in federal law, many LGBTQIA+ people continue to face persecution from individuals, businesses, communities, and state and local governments.

In the United States, for example, public support for same-sex marriage has hugely increased over the last 25 years, from just 27% support in 1996 to 70% in 2021. However, there continues to be legislation passed across the country to restrict the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals. In the past year, some states in the US passed several laws restricting transgender individuals in their everyday lives, such as banning transgender youth from playing on gender-divided sports teams with the gender they identify as.

Many European nations are similarly divided on LGBTQIA+ issues. In Russia, a 2020 constitutional referendum that “[defines] marriage exclusively as a union between one man and one woman” received broad public support. There have also been violence and protests throughout eastern Europe throughout 2020 and 2021, with 2 young men kidnapped by security forces personnel in Russia, the Polish Stonewall protest stemming from a series of arrests and detention incidents targeting Polish LGBTQIA+ rights activist Malgorzata “Margot” Szutowicz, and several legal or government restrictions on the LGBTQIA+ community in Hungary.

The rights and protections of the LGBTQIA+ community in the Middle East have not changed significantly in the past year. Same-sex marriage is not recognized in any country in the Middle East, and homosexuality is illegal in most of them. In addition to these limitations, members of the LGBTQIA+ community face online harassment, surveillance, and censorship.

In Latin America, anti-LGBTQIA+ laws, policies, and regulations have been proposed, passed, and sometimes implemented by some governments attempting to court religious and conservative supporters in the last decade. In many countries, LGBTQIA+ individuals continue to be targeted in violent attacks, and many have little faith in local authorities to protect them or prosecute these crimes.        

Across East Asia, there have been limited advancements for LGBTQIA+ rights. Same-sex marriage is illegal or unrecognized in all countries but Taiwan. In many cases, protestors of restrictive laws affecting the LGBTQIA+ community are arrested.

The LGBTQIA+ community across Africa continues to be repressed and targeted. In Ghana, a legislator proposed a bill that would ban all forms of LGBTQIA+ advocacy, effectively making LGBTQIA+ community centers illegal and tightening restrictions on LGBTQIA+ individuals, who already face up to 3 years in prison for same-sex sexual acts under a colonial-era law. LGBTQIA+ members who flee and seek asylum to escape repressive restrictions in Africa find themselves facing homophobic prejudice and abuse while living alongside other asylum seekers.

Editor’s Note: This post was an excerpt of a full report. To read the entire analysis, click here to download the report as a PDF.