LGBT rights in Asia
Asia homosexuality laws.svg
StatusLegal in 28 out of 50 states
Legal in 4 territories
Gender identityLegal in 27 out of 50 states
Legal in 1 territory
MilitaryAllowed in 7 out of 50 states
Allowed in 2 territories
Discrimination protectionsProtected in 10 out of 50 states
Protected in 3 territories
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsRecognized in 2 out of 50 states
Recognized in 2 territories
RestrictionsSame-sex marriage constitutionally banned in 5 out of 50 states
AdoptionLegal in 2 out of 50 states

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Asia are limited in comparison to many other areas of the world. Same-sex sexual activity is outlawed in at least twenty Asian countries. While at least eight countries have enacted protections for LGBT people, only Israel, Cyprus and Taiwan provide a wider range of LGBT rights – including same-sex relationship recognition. In Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Chechnya homosexual activity is punished with the death penalty.[1][2] In addition, LGBT people also face extrajudicial executions from non-state actors such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.[3][4] Egalitarian relationships modeled on the Western pattern have become more frequent, though they remain rare.[2][5][6] As of 2021, only Taiwan, the British Overseas Territories of Akrotiri and Dhekelia the British Indian Ocean Territory, and certain cities in Israel have legalized same-sex marriage.

Historical discrimination towards homosexuality in much of the region includes when Genghis Khan banned homosexual acts in the Mongol Empire and made them punishable by death.[7][8]

In a 2011 UN General Assembly declaration for LGBT rights, state parties were given a chance to express their support or opposition on the topic. Only Armenia, Cyprus, East Timor, Georgia, Israel, Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam expressed their support. State parties who expressed opposition were Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The other state parties that expressed neither were Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Myanmar, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. In 2016, during an African-led coalition to dislodge the recently established UN expert on LGBT issues, the majority of Asian nations backed to retain the role of the UN LGBT expert, with mostly Muslim nations, with the addition of China and Singapore, declaring their opposition.

In 2019, a survey by The Economist found 45% of respondents in the Asia-Pacific believed that same-sex marriage is inevitable in the region, while 31% of respondents disagreed. Furthermore, three-quarters of those surveyed reported a more open climate for LGBT rights compared to three years ago. Of those reporting an improving climate for LGBT people, 38% cited a change in policies or laws. Meanwhile, 36% said coverage of LGBT issues in mainstream media was a major factor. The top reasons cited for diminishing openness was anti-LGBT advocacy by religious institutions.[9][10]

Laws regarding homosexuality in Asia Same-sex sexual activity legal .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  Marriage performed   Foreign same-sex marriages recognized   Other type of partnership   Legal guardianships or unregistered cohabitation (stripes: non-binding certificates)   Limited foreign recognition (residency rights)   No recognition of same-sex couples   Restrictions on freedom of expression Same-sex sexual activity illegal   Prison on books, but not enforced   Prison   Death penalty on books, but not enforced   Enforced death penalty  vte
Laws regarding homosexuality in Asia
Same-sex sexual activity legal
  Marriage performed
  Foreign same-sex marriages recognized
  Other type of partnership
  Legal guardianships or unregistered cohabitation
(stripes: non-binding certificates)
  Limited foreign recognition (residency rights)
  No recognition of same-sex couples
  Restrictions on freedom of expression
Same-sex sexual activity illegal
  Prison on books, but not enforced
  Prison
  Death penalty on books, but not enforced
  Enforced death penalty

Legislation by country or territory

Main article: LGBT rights by country or territory

This table:

Central Asia

This section's accessibility is in question. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Information on making articles more accessible can be found at WikiProject Accessibility. (August 2021)
LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGBT people allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
Yes
Legal since 1998[1]
No
No
No
Yes
Since 2022[11]
No
Yes
[12]
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan
Yes
Legal since 1998[1]
No
No
Constitutional ban since 2016[13]
No
Emblem-question.svg
No
Yes
Requires sex reassignment surgery[14][12]
Tajikistan Tajikistan
Yes
Legal since 1998[1]
No
No
No
Emblem-question.svg
No
Yes
Requires sex reassignment surgery[15][12]
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan
No
Male illegal
Penalty: up to 2 years imprisonment.
Yes
Female always legal[1]
No
No
No
Emblem-question.svg
No
No
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan
No
Illegal
Penalty: up to 3 years imprisonment with fines. Torture, beatings and vigilante executions are also common.[16]
No
No
No
No
No
No

Eurasia

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB people allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Abkhazia Abkhazia
(Disputed territory)
Yes
Legal after 1991
No
No
No
Emblem-question.svg
No
Emblem-question.svg
Akrotiri and Dhekelia Akrotiri and Dhekelia
(Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom)
Yes
Legal since 2000
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
Yes
Civil partnerships since 2005
Yes
Legal since 2014
Emblem-question.svg
Yes
UK responsible for defence
Yes
Bans some anti-gay discrimination[17]
Emblem-question.svg
Armenia Armenia
Yes
Legal since 2003
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No
No
/
Yes
Constitutional ban since 2015[18][19]. Foreign same-sex marriages are recognized since 2017.
No
LGBT individuals may adopt, but not same-sex couples.
No
[20]
No
No
Republic of Artsakh Artsakh
(Disputed territory)
Yes
Legal since 2000
No
No
Constitutional ban since 2006[21]
No
Emblem-question.svg
No
Emblem-question.svg
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan
Yes
Legal since 2000[1]
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
Cyprus Cyprus
Yes
Legal since 1998
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
Yes
Civil unions since 2015
No
No
Yes
Yes
Bans all anti-gay discrimination[22]
Yes
/
No
Gender identity and expression is protected from discrimination. Right to change legal gender proposed.
Georgia (country) Georgia
Yes
Legal since 2000
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No
No
Constitutional ban passed but yet to take effect
No
Emblem-question.svg
Yes
Bans all anti-gay discrimination[23]
Yes
Requires sterilization and sex reassignment surgery for change[24]
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
Yes
Legal since 1998[1]
No
No
No
Yes
[25]
No
Yes
Requires sex reassignment surgery, sterilization, hormone therapy and medical examinations[12]
Northern Cyprus Northern Cyprus
(Disputed territory)
Yes
Legal since 2014[26][27][1]
No
No
No
No
Yes
Bans all anti-gay discrimination[26][27]
Emblem-question.svg
Russia Russia
Yes
Male legal since 1993
Female always legal[28][1]
No
Illegal in practice in Chechnya, where homosexuals are abducted and sent to concentration camps based on their perceived sexual orientation.
No
No
Constitutional ban since July 2020[citation needed]
No
No
[citation needed]
No
Yes
Requires sterilization and sex reassignment surgery for change[24]
South Ossetia South Ossetia
(Disputed territory)
Yes
Legal after 1991
No
No
No
Emblem-question.svg
No
Emblem-question.svg
Turkey Turkey
Yes
Legal since 1858[1]
No
No
No
No
Proposed[29][failed verification]
No
Proposed[29]
Yes
Requires sterilisation and sex reassignment surgery for change[30]

West Asia

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB people allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Bahrain Bahrain
Yes
Legal since 1976[1]
No
No
No
No
No
No
Sex change surgeries allowed since 2014, but no legal recognition.[31]
Iran Iran
No
No
Illegal
Penalty: 74 lashes for immature men and death penalty for mature men.(Although there are documented cases of minors executed because of their sexual orientation)[32] For women, 100 lashes for women of mature sound mind and if consenting. Death penalty offense after fourth conviction.[1]
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Legal gender recognition legal if accompanied by a medical intervention[33]
Iraq Iraq
Yes
/
No
Technically legal since 2003. [34]
Illegal under paragraph 401 of public indecency law
Penalty: Up to 6 months imprisonment and a fine, or vigilante executions, beatings or tortures. [35]
No
No
No
No
No
No
Israel Israel
Yes
Legal since 1963 (de facto), 1988 (de jure)[36]
+ UN decl. sign.[1][37]
Yes
Unregistered cohabitation since 1994.
No
/
Yes
Foreign same-sex marriages are recognized and recorded in the population registry
Yes
Since 2008[38]
Yes
Since 1993; Includes transgender people[39]
Yes
Bans all anti-gay discrimination[40][41][42]
Yes
Almost full recognition of gender's ID without a surgery or medical intervention (Excluding changing gender and name in birth certificate) ;[43] equal employment opportunity law bars discrimination based on gender identity[44][45][46]
Jordan Jordan
Yes
Legal since 1951[1]
No
No
No
Emblem-question.svg
No
Yes
Allowed since 2014[47]
Kuwait Kuwait
No
Male illegal
Penalty: Fines or up to 6-year prison sentence.
Yes
Female always legal[1][48]
No
No
No
No
No
No
Lebanon Lebanon
Yes
/
No
Technically legal since 2017. Illegal under Article 534 of the Penal Code. Some judges have ruled not to prosecute individuals based on the law, however, this has not been settled by the Supreme Court and thus homosexuality is still illegal.[49] However, a 2017 court ruling claims that it is legal, but the law against it is still in place.
Penalty: Up to 1 year imprisonment (rarely enforced).
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Legal gender change allowed, but sex reassignment surgery required[50]
Oman Oman
No
Illegal
Penalty: Fines and prison sentence up to 3 years (Only enforced when dealing with "public scandal").[1]
No
No
No
No
No
No
Laws against forms of gender expression.
State of Palestine Palestine
West Bank:
Yes
Legal since 1951 (As part of Jordan)[1]
Gaza:
No
Male illegal
Penalty: Up to 10 years imprisonment.
Yes
Female always legal[1]
No
No
No
Emblem-question.svg
No
No
Qatar Qatar
No
Illegal
Penalty: Fines, up to 7 years imprisonment[1]
No
No
No
No
No
No
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia
No
No
Illegal
Penalty: Prison sentences of several months to life, fines, castration, torture or death can be sentenced on first conviction. A second conviction merits execution.[1]
No
No
No
No
No
No
Laws against forms of gender expression.
Syria Syria
No
Illegal in the Syrian Arab Republic
Penalty: Up to 3 years imprisonment (Law de facto suspended)[51][1]
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Transgender people allowed to change legal gender
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates
No
No
Death, life in prison, floggings,[52] fines, deportation, chemical castration,[53][54] forced psychological treatments,[55] honor killings,[53] vigilante executions,[56][57] beatings,[58][59] forced anal examinations,[60] forced hormone injections,[61] and torture.[58][62]
No
No
No
No
No
No
In September 2016, the Government passed Federal Decree No 4, a series of changes to reduce doctors' criminal liability. The new law allows doctors to perform medical intervention on intersex people so as to "correct" their sex, effectively removing either the male or female genitalia. Sex reassignment surgery remains illegal. [63][64][65] Laws used to criminalize gender expression.
Yemen Yemen
No
Illegal
Penalty: Unmarried men punished with 100 lashes of the whip or a maximum of one year of imprisonment, stoning for adultery is not enforced. Women punished up to three years of imprisonment; where the offense has been committed under duress, the punishment is up to seven years detention.[1]
No
No
No
No
No
No

South Asia

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB people allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Afghanistan Afghanistan
No
No
Illegal
Penalty: Long imprisonment or death penalty (No known cases of death sentences have been handed out for same-sex sexual activity after the end of Taliban rule from 1996-2001).[1]
No
No
No
No
No
No
Bangladesh Bangladesh
No
Illegal for males and females
Penalty: 10 years to life imprisonment (Not enforced).[1]
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
A third gender option (hijra) besides male and female is available[66]
Bhutan Bhutan
Yes
Legal since 2021.[67]
No
No
Proposed
No
No
No
No
British Indian Ocean Territory British Indian Ocean Territory
(Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom)
Yes
Legal since 2001
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
Yes
Civil partnerships since 2005
Yes
Legal since 2014
Emblem-question.svg
Yes
UK responsible for defense
Emblem-question.svg
Emblem-question.svg
India India
Yes
Legal since 2018[68]
Yes
Unregistered cohabitation recognised
No
Proposed (under consideration)
No
Proposed
No
Proposed[69]
Yes
Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity prohibited nation-wide[70][71][72]
Yes
A third gender option (hijra) besides male and female is available; transgender people have a constitutional right to change gender[73][72]
Maldives Maldives
No
Illegal
Penalty: Up to 8 years imprisonment, house arrest, lashings and fines[74]
No
No
No
No
No
No
Nepal Nepal
Yes
Legal since 2007
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No
Proposed
No
Proposed
No
Proposed
Yes
Since 2007[citation needed]
Yes
Bans all anti-gay discrimination
Yes
/
No
Change to third gender "O" legal since 2007, unable to change to male or female[75]
Pakistan Pakistan
No
Illegal
Penalty: 2 years to life sentence (Not enforced).[1]
No
No
No
No
Yes
Transphobia illegal

No
Homophobia/biphobia is not illegal

Yes
Right to change gender; transgender and intersex citizens have legal protections from all discrimination and harassment[76]
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
No
Illegal under Article 365 Penalty: Up to 10 years in prison with fines, vigilante attacks, vigilante executions, torture, forced anal examinations, and beatings.[77][78] The threat of arrest is used as extortion against LGBT by police and government workers.[79][80]
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
/
No
Right to change legal gender is allowed, but surgery is rarely available throughout the medical facilities in the country.[81]

East Asia

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB people allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
China China
Yes
Legal since 1997[1]
No
/
Yes
"Legal guardianship" since 2017
No
No
Emblem-question.svg
No policy explicitly bars LGBT people from serving, but they may face discriminations under “public mortality or order” or mental health- related laws and regulations.
No
Yes
/
No
Transgender people allowed to change legal gender, but only after sex reassignment surgery. However, it is difficult to change the gender information of educational attainments and academic degrees for lack of legal procedures, even after sex reassignment surgery[82], which has caused discrimination against well-educated trans women[83].
Hong Kong Hong Kong
Yes
Legal since 1991[1]
No
/
Yes
Same-sex marriages registered overseas for government benefits and taxation, and limited recognition of local cohabiting partners
No
No
LGBT individuals may adopt, but not same-sex couples[84]
Emblem-question.svg
The central government of China is responsible for the defense of Hong Kong.[85]
Yes
Bans some anti-gay discrimination (government discrimination only)
Yes
Transgender people allowed to change legal gender, but only after sex reassignment surgery
Japan Japan
Yes
Legal since 1880
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No
* Symbolic recognition in some jurisdictions.
No
Proposed
No
Yes
The Japan Self-Defense Forces allow gay people to enlist.[86]
Yes
No nationwide protections, but some cities ban some anti-gay discrimination[1]
Yes
Transgender people allowed to change legal gender, but only after sex reassignment surgery
Macau Macau
Yes
Legal since 1996
No
No
No
Emblem-question.svg
The central government of China is responsible for the defence of Macau.
Yes
Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Emblem-question.svg
Mongolia Mongolia
Yes
Legal since 1961
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No
No
No
Emblem-question.svg
Yes
Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Yes
Transgender people allowed to change legal gender but only after sex reassignment surgery
North KoreaNorth Korea
Yes
/
No
De jure legal, punishable through Articles 193 and 262 regarding obscenity and decency laws.[dubious ]
Penalty: Unknown
Emblem-question.svg
Emblem-question.svg
Emblem-question.svg
Emblem-question.svg
10-year celibacy required.[87]
Emblem-question.svg
Emblem-question.svg
South Korea South Korea
Yes
Legal
(No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in South Korea)
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No
No
No
No
No
/
Yes
Protection from discrimination varies by jurisdiction in some areas, including Seoul
Yes
Transgender people allowed to change legal gender but usually requires sex reassignment surgery
Taiwan Taiwan
Yes
Legal
(No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)[88]
Yes check.svg
[89]
Yes check.svg
Legal since 2019[90][91][92]
No
/
Yes
Stepchild adoption only; joint adoption pending
Yes
Yes
Constitutionally bans all anti-gay discrimination
Yes
Transgender people allowed to change legal gender but only after sex reassignment surgery[93]

Southeast Asia

LGBT rights in Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples LGB people allowed to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Aceh Aceh (autonomous territory of Indonesia)
No
Illegal
Penalty: 100 strokes of the cane or 100 months in prison[94]
No
No
No
LGBT individuals may adopt, but not same-sex couples
No
The central government of Indonesia is responsible for the defense of Aceh.
Yes
Follows the law of the central Indonesian government.
Yes
Follows the law of the central Indonesian government.
Brunei Brunei
No
No
Illegal
Penalty: Death penalty (in abeyance), imprisonment and 100 lashes for men. Caning and 10 years prison for women.[95]
No
No
No
No
No
No
Laws prohibit forms of gender expression.
Cambodia Cambodia
Yes
Legal
(No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)[1]
No
/
Yes
Partnerships recognized in certain cities
No
There has been at least one recorded case of a legally registered and recognized same-sex marriage; constitutional ban since 1993
No
/
Yes
Officially banned, but numerous same-sex adoptions have taken place
Emblem-question.svg
No
Emblem-question.svg
East Timor East Timor
Yes
Legal since 1975
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No
No
No
Emblem-question.svg
Yes
Hate Crime Protections since 2009[96]
Emblem-question.svg
Indonesia Indonesia
Yes
Legal

(No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country, except in Aceh) [1][97]

No
No
No
LGBT individuals may adopt, but not same-sex couples
No
Not explicitly prohibited by Law (de jure), Illegal (de facto)
Yes
Limited protection following legal process by the authorities.[98]
Yes
Transgender people allowed to change legal gender, but only after sex reassignment surgery.
Laos Laos
Yes
Legal
(No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)[1]
No
No
No
Emblem-question.svg
No
Emblem-question.svg
Malaysia Malaysia
No
Illegal
Penalty: fines, prison sentence (2-20 years), or whippings.[1][99]
No
No
No
No
No
No
Generally impossible to change gender. However, a 2016 court ruling recognizes gender changes as fundamental constitutional rights[100] Forms of gender expression are criminalized.
Myanmar Myanmar
No
Illegal
Penalty: Up to 20 years in prison (Not enforced).[1]
No
No
No
No
No
No
Philippines Philippines
Yes
Legal + UN decl. sign. [101][1][102]
No
Pending[101]
No
Pending[103]
No
LGBT individuals may adopt, but not same-sex couples[104]
Yes
Since 2009
Yes
Bans some anti-gay discrimination in certain cities and provinces,[105] including Cebu City,[106] Quezon City, and Davao City;[107][108]
National bill pending
No
Singapore Singapore
No
Male illegal
Penalty: up to 2 years prison sentence (Not enforced).
Yes
Female legal since 2007[1]
No
No
No
No
/
Yes
Due to conscription, but gays are not allowed to go to command school or serve in sensitive units
No
Yes
Transgender people allowed to change legal gender, but only after sex reassignment surgery
Thailand Thailand
Yes
Legal since 1956
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No
Pending[109]
No
No
Pending[110]
Yes
Since 2005
Yes
Bans all anti-gay discrimination
No
Bill pending to allow transgender people to legally change gender after sex reassignment surgery.[111]

Yes
Anti-discrimination protections for gender expression.[99]

Vietnam Vietnam
Yes
Legal
(No laws against same-sex sexual activity have ever existed in the country)[1]
+ UN decl. sign.[1]
No
No
No
LGBT individuals may adopt, not same-sex couples[112]
Yes
Irrespective of one's sexual orientation
Yes
Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Yes
Gender changes recognized and officially practised since 2017;[113][114] previously, gender changes were only allowed for persons of congenital sex defects and unidentifiable sex



See also

References

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