AfricaLGBTQ+ HUMAN RIGHTS ACROSS THE COMMONWEALTH
For the majority of African countries in the Commonwealth, same-sex sexual activity is criminalised for men.
In some northern states in Nigeria where Sharia law is enforced, the maximum possible penalty is death by stoning; while in the rest of Nigeria and in 12 other countries, there is the threat of a jail term as punishment, with life imprisonment the maximum possible penalty in The Gambia, Tanzania, Uganda and Sierra Leone. The latter, however, is one of four countries where there is currently little to no evidence that the law is being enforced (the others are Eswatini, Mauritius and Namibia).
Women’s sexual activity is frequently not mentioned in law, though lesbians and bisexual women still frequently face stigma, discrimination, and violence.
In most countries, same-sex marriage is illegal, and LGBTQ+ people neither enjoy rights such as being able to adopt or serve openly in the military, nor protections from discrimination in employment or more broadly. Generally speaking, transgender rights are in their infancy.
South Africa is an outlier in the region. Same-sex sexual activity is legal, same-sex marriage is allowed, and LGBTQ+ people may adopt, serve in the military, and change their legal gender if they have had hormonal or surgical treatment.
However, LGBTQ+ people still face discrimination and violence including so-called “corrective” rape, the practice of raping lesbians to turn them straight.
Kingdom of Eswatini
United Republic of Tanzania
Same-sex sexual activity legal
Serve openly in military
has no military
Change legal gender
On National Identity