10 Countries LGBT Travelers Should Avoid

Feb 9, 2024

It’s hard to be out and proud in many countries, but some are much worse than others. 

LGBT people are often persecuted in countries throughout the world. We’re denied rights and can be subject to violence, imprisonment, and even death if we come out of the closet or show affection to our partners. 

These are ten countries to avoid at all costs. The following countries are dangerous or even fatal for our community members—these countries’ attitudes towards homosexuality range from severe discrimination to complete criminalization and even the death penalty.

10 Countries Where It’s Unsafe To Be Gay

It’s safe to say if you cannot come out in a country, you should probably avoid it for travel. After all, the point of vacation is to sip margaritas on a beach or visit a beautiful cityscape previously untraveled. 

Here are the ten places you should avoid when travelling as a queer person. 

A person wearing a rainbow mask to hide their identity.

1. Belize 

In Belize, displays of same-sex public affection are considered shocking by locals. Homosexuality was illegal until 2016. Until then, sodomy was a punishable crime, but the supreme court deemed this unconstitutional. 

The country has a resounding idea that homosexuality is wrong, and you won’t find any gay club scene in the major tourist areas. If you travel to Belize, be discreet and very selective about your choice of accommodation. 

2. Kenya

If you compare Kenya to other African countries, it is relatively safe for LGBT travelers. But, if you compare the country to the rest of our planet, it’s considerably anti-LGBT. According to Equaldex, 90% of the country disagrees with homosexuality. If you still decide to go, because there are many opportunities to see beautiful wildlife, make sure you don’t have sex!

Sodomy could land you up to 14 years in jail, and anything else considered unnatural or indecent could have you imprisoned for up to 5 years. 

3. Gambia

Gambia has a zero-tolerance policy toward LGBT people. The country’s criminal code says that anyone who attempts to have carnal desires that go “against the order of nature” could face up to 14 years imprisonment. If someone in the country repeatedly displays or acts in a homosexual manner, they could face life imprisonment. 

4. Nigeria

If you go to Nigeria, be extremely careful. In recent years LGBT people have been arrested individually and in the masses. Usually, incarceration is accompanied by extreme violence and police brutality. There are consistent reports of similar situations, including:

  • Assault
  • Mob attacks
  • Harassment
  • Extortion
  • Denial of basic human rights and services

5. Jamaica

Homosexuality and its criminalization in Jamaica date back to 1864. The 1864 Offences Against the Person Act will land you in jail for up to ten years with hard labor if convicted of an “abominable crime.” Once incarcerated, you can expect to be denied basic human rights. Activists are combatting the challenges faced by our community – but currently, it’s better to avoid this country. 

6. Pakistan

The principles of Islam govern Pakistan. It’s not to say that Islam directly condemns homosexuality. Like all books, people can interpret the Quran in many ways. However, homosexuality remains taboo. The taboo is only transcended by wealth and caste. Still, the country largely forbids homosexuality. 

Some Pakistani members of our community call their life experiences “miserable and hard.

7. Myanmar/Burma

Homosexuality in Myanmar is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment. Although the law is rarely practiced, it does mean that some locals are harassed for being themselves. Many laws in the country negatively affect the LGBTQ+ community and crossover into various aspects of life. Gay marriage is illegal, as is making or selling pornography. 

8. Russia

Russia is well known for not being LGBT-friendly. Across the country, you should be careful when travelling, especially in Chechnya. Here many people were unlawfully detained, beaten and abused. In some extreme cases, the police killed them. And the worst part is that sometimes the actions of the police were based on presumption rather than fact. 

9. Afghanistan

Before the Taliban recaptured Afghanistan’s capital city Kabul, life for LGBT people was dangerous. Same-sex relationships have been criminalized since 2018. However, the Taliban’s return to power has heightened the danger for our community. LGBT people living in Afghanistan must conceal their identity from society or risk extreme punishment. So, we do not recommend this for a travel destination if you’re LGBT. 

10 Iraq

In Iraq, the LGBT community is often attacked by the country’s most powerful militias. Some of the reported cases include rape and murder. LGBT people living in Iraq do so in fear daily. To understand if a destination is safe for our community, we only need to listen to the experiences of LGBT locals

Why Are These Countries Not LGBT-Friendly?

Let’s be clear about what it means not to be LGBTQ-friendly. These countries cannot accept people with different sexualities and discriminate against them.

The first reason would be religion. Many religions do not “support” homosexuality and might use their interpretations of religious literature to influence people’s thoughts. Another reason would be the government. The government might have a strict view on LGBT rights, making it very difficult for movements in these countries. And lastly, people are not LGBT-friendly either because of their personal beliefs and values, which will affect how they act towards others.

What Are The Laws In These Countries?

Different countries have different rules and different regulations about homosexuality. Before choosing a travel destination, you should always check how safe the country is for our community. You can always find the relevant information for your travel destination on equaldex. Here you can find resources about how you should act and what’s legal in your relevant destination. 

Why Are These Countries Dangerous?

There could be many reasons these countries are dangerous to our community. A country is rated as safe or dangerous by how safe its LGBT citizens feel. However, this can be difficult to measure, so it can be hard to determine which countries should be avoided. 

Additionally, these countries might also be unsafe because it could mean death to locals if they try to start any type of protest or carry out any type of political activity there against the government or other powerful figures.

What Can I Do To Stay Safe While Travelling In These Countries?

Several countries around the world have different safety regulations. 

The following will be some of the best tips for you to consider if you travel to these countries.

  1. You should always keep your passport on you.
  2. You should keep a low profile.
  3. Avoid any public displays of attraction.
  4. Don’t try to hook up with a local. 
  5. Do not have sex while on vacation in these countries. 

Here’s What To Do Instead For A Great Vacation

Yeah, it sucks to think that we shouldn’t go to these places. However, there are still many beautiful options for a fun vacation. France is extremely LGBT friendly, and the country has a very sex-positive outlook on life. On any given night, you can head out for a drink and fulfil your wildest fantasies. 

In South America, you can also find many pro-lgbt nations. Argentina is a fantastic example. They are so inclusive they are even leading the way for a change in the usage of Spanish pronouns for inclusivity. 

Want to travel to Africa? Go to Cape Town. It is consistently regarded as the most gay-friendly place on the continent. And it’s full of history. 

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Sean Kivi

Sean Kivi


Sean Kivi holds a master's degree from the University of Nottingham in translation studies from Spanish to English. He specializes in writing about gay culture and its influence on discourse. Sean speaks Spanish fluently and focuses on translating gay-themed literature to English and analyzing the discourse to understand how our culture is universal yet distinct in countries worldwide. He has translated for authors in Mexico and completed case studies related to machismo and its influences on gay culture in Latin America.

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