- This article is about current LGBT rights around the world. For historical and current movements to further LGBT rights, see LGBT social movements.
Template:World homosexuality laws map Template:LGBT rights Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) related laws vary greatly by country or territory—everything from legal recognition of same-sex marriage or other types of partnerships, to the death penalty as punishment for same-sex sexual activity or identity.
LGBT-related laws include but are not limited to: government recognition of same-sex relationships, LGBT adoption, sexual orientation and military service, immigration equality, anti-discrimination laws, hate crime laws regarding violence against LGBT people, sodomy laws, anti-lesbianism laws, and higher ages of consent for same-sex activity.
Throughout history and across cultures, the regulation of sexuality reflects broader cultural norms.
Most of the history of sexuality is unrecorded. Even recorded norms do not always shed full light on actual practices, as it is sometimes the case that historical accounts are written by foreigners with cryptic political agendas.
In the earlier centuries of ancient Rome (particularly during the Roman Republic) and prior to its Christianization, the Lex Scantinia forbade homosexual acts. In later centuries during, men of status were free to have sexual intercourse, heterosexual or homosexual, with anyone of a lower social status, provided that they remained dominant during such interaction. During the reign of Caligula, prostitution was legalized and taxed, and homosexual prostitution was seen openly in conjunction with heterosexual prostitution. The Warren Cup is a rare example of a Roman artefact that depicts homosexuality that was not destroyed by Christian authorities, although it was suppressed. A fresco from the public baths of the once buried city of Pompeii depicts a homosexual and bisexual sex act involving two adult men and one adult woman. The Etruscan civilization left behind the Tomb of the Diver, which depicts homosexual men in the afterlife.
In feudal Japan, homosexuality was recognized, between equals (bi-do), in terms of pederasty (wakashudo), and in terms of prostitution. The Samurai period was one in which homosexuality was seen as particularly positive. In Japan, the younger partner in a pederastic relationship was expected to make the first move; the opposite was true in ancient Greece. Homosexuality was later briefly criminalized due to Westernization.
The berdache two-spirit class in some Native American tribes are examples of ways in which some cultures integrated homosexuals into their society by viewing them, not with the homosexual and heterosexual dichotomy of most of the modern world, but as twin beings, possessing aspects of both sexes.
The ancient Law of Moses (the Torah) forbids men lying with men (intercourse) in Leviticus 18 and gives a story of attempted homosexual rape in Genesis in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities being soon destroyed after that. The death penalty was prescribed.
Laws prohibiting homosexuality were also passed in communist China. (The People's Republic of China neither adopted an Abrahamic religion nor was colonized, except for Hong Kong and Macau which were colonized with Victorian era social mores and maintain separate legal system from the rest of the PRC.) Homosexuality was not decriminalized there until 1997. Prior to 1997, homosexual in mainland China was found guilty included in a general definition under the vague vocabulary of hooliganism, there are no specifically anti-homosexual laws.
In modern times eight countries have no official heterosexist discrimination. They are Argentina, Belgium, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, and Spain. This full non-discrimination includes the rights of marriage and adoption. Two additional countries have marriage rights for same-sex couples, namely Portugal and Canada, but in Portugal this right does not include same-sex adoption, and in Canada it varies by jurisdiction (it is legal everywhere except in Nunavut and Yukon). The Canadian Blood Services’ policy indefinitely defers any man who has sex with another man, even once, since 1977. LGBT people in the US face different laws for certain medical procedures than other groups. For example, gay men have been prohibited from giving blood since 1983, and George W. Bush's FDA guidelines barred them from being sperm donors as of 2005, even though all donated sperm is screened for sexually-transmitted diseases and even the most promiscuous heterosexual men are not barred from donating.
- The Beautiful Way of the Samurai Native Tradition and Hellenic Echo
- The Middle Assyrian Law Codes (1075 BC) states: "If a man have intercourse with his brother-in-arms, they shall turn him into a eunuch", see Sodomy law#History
- "Xinhua - English". Web.archive.org. http://web.archive.org/web/19960101-re_/http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-12/26/content_3970520.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
- 晓飞, 郭 (2007-05-01). 中国法视野下的同性恋. 知识产权出版社. ISBN 978-7801986979.
- Canadian Blood Services - Société canadienne du sang. "Canadian Blood Services - Société canadienne du sang - Questions and Answers". Blood.ca. http://www.blood.ca/centreapps/internet/uw_v502_mainengine.nsf/page/Questions%20and%20Answers?OpenDocument#HT3. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
- "FDA says gay men still can’t donate blood - AIDS". MSNBC. 23 May 2007. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18827137/. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
- Resnick, Eric (17 March 2006). "Red Cross now seeks to allow gay blood donation". Gaypeopleschronicle.com. http://www.gaypeopleschronicle.com/stories06/march/0317062.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
- FDA Recommends Barring Gay Men From Being Sperm Donors By Linda Orlando
- International Lesbian and Gay Association
- Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual: Law at the Open Directory Project
- Amnesty International USA: LGBT legal status around the world — interactive map
- GayLawNet: Laws — information by country
- International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission[dead link]