What are the worst countries for Gay and Lesbian travel? 25 Worst Countries for LGBTQ+ travel

by author David Jones

Gay rights have come a long way in recent years. Many countries have finally made same-sex marriage legal. Others now allow gay couples to adopt. Many places are becoming more accepting and understanding of queer individuals. In short, the world is becoming a better place for the LGBTQ+ community.

However, even though things have gotten better in many countries, others are still very intolerant towards gay people. There are some countries where homosexuality is completely illegal. In some countries, people are even executed for engaging in homosexual activities.

This means that gay and queer people need to be careful when planning their vacations. There are lots of gay-friendly countries out there like New Zealand and Norway. However, there are also many destinations where simply being who you are could get you in real trouble. Read on to learn the 25 worst countries for LGBTQ+ travel.

1. Nigeria

Nigeria ranks as the worst destination in the world for gay travel. There are no gay rights in Nigeria. Most LGBTQ+ Nigerian people have to hide their sexuality or risk punishment.

Homosexuality can result in prison sentences of more than a decade or even the death penalty under Sharia law. You can get in trouble for even talking about LGBT issues in Nigeria too. In a survey, 97% of Nigerians said that they did not accept homosexuality.

2. Qatar

LGBT rights don’t exist in Qatar. Members of the LGBTQ+ community can be at high risk of legal punishments and crimes in this country. Homosexuality is against the law, with possible sanctions of up to seven years behind bars.

Muslims who commit homosexual acts in Qatar is punishable by execution. The general attitude towards LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar is very conservative. A lot of the population doesn’t support or discuss homosexuality in any way.

3. Yemen

Yemen is not a right travel destination for LGBTQ+ travel. Men who engage in homosexual acts in Yemen can receive 100 lashes as punishment or even stoned to death.

There’s a lot of social stigma around homosexuality in Yemen all over the country. The government blocks access to internet sites that discuss LGBT rights. It also censors all gay-related content in the media too.

4. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is famously not a friendly or tolerant country regarding the LGBTQ+ community. Non-straight people face a lot of threats and challenges daily in Saudi Arabia.

In Saudi Arabia, the death sentence and flogging are possible punishments for homosexual activity. Many citizens even take matters into their own hands and attack or torture those who are gay, bi, or queer.

5. Tanzania

Many African nations are intolerant of LGBTQ+ people. This means that Africa is quite an inhospitable continent for gay travelers. Tanzania is one of the worst African nations in terms of LBTQ+ rights.

All acts of homosexuality are punished with huge prison terms of up to 30 years. The government in Tanzania has launched ‘witch hunts’ against gay people. Even talking about LGBT issues can lead to severe punishments.

6. Iran

Iran, along with much of the rest of the Middle East, is not tolerant of gay or queer people. People can be executed or tortured if caught engaging in any homosexual activity.

Gay people can also be imprisoned. Some gay men are even pressured into having sex changes purely so that they appear ‘straight’ in the eyes of the law. Iran does more sex reassignment surgeries than almost any other country worldwide.

7. Sudan

Another African nation with a lack of tolerance towards gay people in Sudan. Anyone caught engaging in homosexual activity can receive 100 lashes and several years behind bars. If someone is caught three times, the death sentence is a possibility.

A couple of pro-LGBT groups formed in Sudan in recent years but swiftly disappeared. In general, Sudanese people and authorities are against the idea of gay rights.

8. Barbados

Barbados is a highly desirable vacation destination for its beaches and sunshine. However, it is very unwelcoming to LGBTQ+ people. Homosexual acts can lead to lifetime prison sentences. This rarely happens, but the law still exists.

Many LGBTQ+ people in Barbados feel threatened. They often stay in the closet and hide their sexuality for fear of repercussions. Still, the country did have its first-ever pride event in 2018.

9. Malaysia

Over in Asia, Malaysia ranks as one of the worst countries for gay rights. Homosexual activities are punished with torture and prison sentences. Many people are behind bars for many years or whipped for loving someone of the same gender.

Islam is the dominant religion in Malaysia, and Sharia law prohibits a lot of LGBTQ+ discussions and activities. Many transgender individuals have been arrested in Malaysia in recent years.

10. Malawi

The East African nation of Malawi is another unpopular destination for LGBTQ+ individuals. Homosexuality can lead to more than a decade in prison for males or up to five years for females.

It’s illegal to form pro-LGBTQ+ organizations there too. In recent years, Malawi has started to soften some of its laws slowly. However, it’s still a very dangerous place to be for anyone who doesn’t identify as cis or heterosexual.

11. Zambia

Zambia takes a very conservative view of LGBTQ+ individuals and activities. Homosexual acts are considered to be ‘indecent and unnatural’ in Zambia. Anyone found participating in this kind of behavior can be punished with several years in prison.

Social attitudes towards LGBT people are very negative in Zambia. Some people even believe that homosexuality is a mental illness. Also, the government created a special organization to ‘combat homosexuality’.

12. Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia is a beautiful Caribbean island. Sadly, it’s not a great place for non-hetero individuals. Attempted homosexual acts can lead to prison terms of five years. Meanwhile, full homosexual intercourse can result to up to a decade behind bars.

Some progress is being made. The first gay pride parade for Saint Lucia occurred in 2019. Plus, some leaders have started to say that the country needs to change its attitudes towards homosexuality.

13. Uganda

Homosexual acts in Uganda can be punished with lifetime imprisonments. Not only that, but positive discussions about LGBT issues are banned. It’s against the law to form a pro-LGBT organization and over 95% of the population does not support homosexuality.

Uganda’s recent history contains several grim events for gay people. Back in 2010, a newspaper published the names and addresses of 100 people believed to be gay. One of them was subsequently murdered. In 2019, a gay rights activist was beaten to death.

14. Pakistan

Same-sex sexual activities are illegal in Pakistan. Under Sharia law, the death penalty is a possible punishment, but there aren’t any recorded cases of this actually happening. Instead, many people caught engaging in homosexual activity are imprisoned.

There’s a lot of social and religious stigma associated with LGBT issues in Pakistan. The gay and queer communities of the country exist mostly in secret. Many gay Pakistani people feel scared to come out. However, a little bit of progress was made with the Transgender Persons Act of 2018.

15. West Bank and Gaza

Over in the West Bank and Gaza, also known as the State of Palestine, same-sex relations are not encouraged. Homosexual males can be imprisoned in Gaza. In the West Bank, homosexuality is legal, but LGBTQ+ rights are not protected.

Many gay people in Palestine head to neighboring Israel in fear for their lives. In some cases, people can be attacked by their own families just for coming out. It’s a dangerous place to be for any member of the LGBTQ+ community.

16. Kenya


LGBTQ+ individuals face a lot of threats and challenges in Kenya too. Male homosexuality can be punished by many years behind bars. The state doesn’t officially recognize any same-sex relationships. This means that LGBT people have no real protections in Kenya.

The views of the country’s people are very conservative, and homosexuality is regarded as a taboo issue. In terms of public opinion, Kenya ranks in the top for countries that believe homosexuality is unacceptable.

17. Maldives

The small South Asian country of the Maldives is also not a great place to travel for LGBTQ+ people. The country is under Sharia law, resulting in fines, lashings, and prison terms for any homosexual acts.

Individuals can be lashed up to 100 times after being caught engaging in homosexual activity. In general, these harsh laws aren’t actually enforced, but LGBTQ+ people have no official protection in the Maldives. As recently as 2013, a man was almost fatally attacked by locals after revealing his homosexuality.

18. Jamaica

A lot of people visit Jamaica each year, but LGBTQ+ travelers can feel under threat there. Homosexual men can be imprisoned or forced to undertake hard labor if caught. Same-sex activity between women is legal.

A lot of gay, bi, and queer people in Jamaica have suffered violence in recent years. There’s a lot of homophobia all around the island nation. Due to the tension, many gay Jamaicans flee their country and live elsewhere.

19. Ethiopia

Like many African nations, Ethiopia takes a dim view of LGBTQ+ individuals. Same-sex relations are illegal in Ethiopia. Prison sentences are handed out to anyone caught engaging in same-sex sexual activities.

In a recent survey, 97% of Ethiopians said that homosexuality should not be accepted. Many gay or queer Ethiopians suffer from depression and anxiety on a daily basis.

20. Egypt

Egypt is a popular touristic destination with its pyramids and other ancient monuments. Sadly, it’s not a welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community at all. Homosexuality isn’t illegal in Egypt, but homosexual acts are still often punished.

The country’s society and views are shaped by its religious views. This means that public opinion is generally very negative towards LGBT people. Surveys have shown that 95% of Egyptians are against the very idea of homosexuality.

21. Algeria

Over in Algeria, even the possession of homosexual materials is punishable by imprisonment. LGBTQ+ individuals have to deal with a lot of challenges in Algeria. Both male and female same-sex activities are against the law.

We’ve seen several shocking incidents of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people in Algeria. A student was murdered in his dorm in 2019 after rumors spread about his homosexuality.

22. Morocco

LGBTQ+ people also face threats and challenges in Morocco. This North African nation has completely outlawed same-sex sexual activity. There are no real rights or protections for gay, queer, bi, or trans people throughout Morocco.

Back in 2016, a pair of girls were arrested just for a photo of them kissing. Some organizations have pushed for Morocco to become more tolerant and accepting. For now, however, it remains a dangerous place for LGBTQ+ individuals.

23. Oman

Pro-LGBTQ+ organizations are banned in Oman. Same-sex sexual acts are punished with prison sentences ranging up to three years too. Most cases don’t actually go to court, but the threat is always there.

There’s also a lot of social stigma about LGBT issues throughout Oman. The country has its own underground gay scene. LGBTQ+ people often feel forced to keep their identities secret to stay safe.

24. Tunisia

Same-sex relations and activities are illegal for men and women in Tunisia. Tunisian people are sometimes questioned by authorities about their sexuality. They are judged purely based on their appearance.

There’s a lot of prejudice and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in Tunisia. Families reject members who come out as gay and some LGBT people have been attacked in the streets.

25. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a very complicated legal system. Technically, homosexuality is illegal in the Asian nation. However, the Supreme Court has stated that this law is not enforced. This gives gay and trans people some protection. Yet social views are still quite negative.

Many LGBTQ+ people stay in the closet for fear of consequences from the people around them. Fortunately, a little bit of progress is being made. The nation has been making things easier for transgender people to transition.