Homophobia Visualised



With NYC Pride pulling masses last week, Helsinki Pride starting today and the Orlando tragedy still causing worry in the back of our heads we can see that the same sex relationships are still not approved by all. Wondering how vast this phenomenon really is, we decided to have a look at the homophobia around the world, statistically that is. Wickeddata.online makes it easy to visualise this data.


As it turns out, quite a lot of people live in countries where homosexuality is prohibited altogether! Nearly 40 % of the world’s population actually lives in these areas. As if this wasn’t bad enough, what it really means in areas where almost a third of the world’s population lives, is that you can either get thrown in jail for quite a long time, anywhere from 15 years to as long as you live, or that you may even be sentenced to death, depending on the country. We remain uncertain if this actually means that you would have to express gay behaviour in public in order to get punished or if ill-meaning neighbours can cause you lots of trouble, and this probably takes different forms in any different country.


Chart 1. Third of the world’s population lives in areas where being gay can cause you a penalty anywhere between 15 years in jail to death.


However, it is clear that these countries actually do enforce their laws and that gay people living there are in risk of being arrested. Most countries having laws against the gay are located in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania. In case of being gay and planning a holiday trip, you may want to reconsider visiting those countries. You may want to check the situation of each individual country. They are certainly not the dream destination for your honeymoon.


Your best random pick for a holiday would be Europe, as there are less countries having legislation against the gay in Europe and North America than anywhere else. Most of the countries enforcing their anti-gay laws can be found in Asia. China has no anti-gay legislation, but there are laws in India, and arrests are being made. There are existing laws in places like Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Singapore, but they haven’t made any arrests in past three years.


Chart 2. List of the Asian countries where arrests have been made during the past 3 years and the amount of population in those countries.


There are countries like Russia, Qatar and Egypt where the laws about the same sex relationships are non-existent, but you may still get punished for expressing gay behaviour. The punishment would be given under certain decency laws. As the data doesn’t clearly state out, what this behaviour may be, you might want to be on the sure side and avoid kissing or holding hands in public. (Though the same probably goes for the heterosexual couples in many places as well.)


Even though Pride was violently banned in Istanbul recently, homosexuality has been allowed in Turkey throughout its modern state history since 1858, and the actions were taken allegedly on base of the fear that Pride would offend the Ramadan and cause riots.


What about work? Only 38 % of the UN States  have laws prohibiting discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation, and most of these are European countries. The most advanced countries in Asia are Indonesia, Israel, Taiwan and Thailand.


Chart 3. Amount of countries on each continent and whether protection laws are applied or not.


Same sex marriages are made possible only in very small portion of countries around the globe. In Africa, if you are gay and want to get married, you should be living in South Africa as that is the only African nation allowing gay marriages. We wanted to see, how the possibility to get married correlates with the attitudes of the public in each country as data visualisation makes this comparison easy. Interestingly, they seem to be in conflict sometimes. Out of 70 countries where polling data is available there are two countries where marriage is allowed even when less than half of the population is for gay marriage. On the other hand there are 17 countries where marriage is not possible, even when more than half of population is for gay marriage. Most extreme cases are Netherlands and Spain, where 91% and 84% of population are for gay marriage while the law doesn’t allow it.


Chart 4. Percentage of the population in each country supporting gay marriage and whether marriage is allowed or not.


Having a family with gay parents may be tricky in some countries. Joint adoption  is allowed in 22 countries but surprisingly this doesn’t always correlate with the marital laws as in many places where adoption is allowed, the parents of the family can’t get married. Canada on the other hand is the only country, where you can get married, but joint adoption is impossible. Only half of the countries where second parent adoption is made possible also allow gay marriages.


adoption legal for gay parents
Chart 5. Countries where joint adoption is legal and whether marriage is allowed or not.


Even though this data is extensive as it covers 199 countries, there isn’t data available of all the countries in the world. Even this being true, it seems that there is still work to be done for the human rights to be both recognised everywhere and to concern us all, no matter your sexual orientation. To find out more, have a look at the data set on Wickeddata.online




  • United Nations and World Bank (downloaded Oct 30, 2015)
  • International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association: Carroll, A., State Sponsored Homophobia 2016: A world survey of sexual orientation laws: criminalisation, protection and recognition (Geneva; ILGA, May 2016)


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