Criminalising Homosexuality: Irreconcilable with Good Governance

As of November 2015, same-sex sexual conduct between consenting adults in private continues to be criminalised in 75 jurisdictions around the world. In most of these jurisdictions, the prescribed maximum punishment is a lengthy prison sentence. A few jurisdictions still retain the death penalty.

The Human Dignity Trust has produced a series of ground-breaking notes explaining how criminalisation interacts with various key areas of democratic values, good governance and well-being.

These notes highlight how crucial decriminalisation is for states to prosper and uphold their core democratic principles. They demonstrate the variety of lenses through which criminalisation's damaging effects can be seen, from exacerbating HIV to harming businesses to undermining the rule of law.

In combination they make it abundantly clear that the decriminalisation of homosexuality must be a global priority.

  1. Criminalising Homosexuality: Synopsis and Recommendations
  2. Criminalising Homosexuality and Democratic Values
  3. Criminalising Homosexuality and the Rule of Law
  4. Criminalising Homosexuality and the Role of Business
  5. Criminalising Homosexuality and Public Health
  6. Criminalising Homosexuality and International Human Rights Law
  7. Criminalising Homosexuality and Working through International Organisations
  8. Criminalising Homosexuality and LGBT Rights in Times of Conflict
  9. Criminalising Homosexuality and Understanding the Right to Manifest Religion
  10. Criminalising Homosexuality: Indicators of Good Governance


Corrigendum, 09 September 2016: Errors in the original text of these notes relating to the scale and impact of criminalisation of lesbian and bisexual women have been corrected as follows:

  • On p. 6 of "Criminalising Homosexuality: Irreconcilable with Good Governance: Synopsis and our Recommendations”;
  • On p. 4 of "Criminalising Homosexuality and International Human Rights Law”;
  • On p. 4 of "Criminalising Homosexuality and Working through International Organisations"

For more detailed information on the topic of criminalisation of women, please see our report Breaking the Silence: Criminalisation of Lesbian and Bisexual Women and its Impacts.


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