Nearly Half of the World Doesn’t Permit LGBTQ Groups, Report Finds

The survey found 85 countries that either do not have such groups or won't provide them with state sanctioning.

Nearly half of the world’s countries do not allow LGBTQ groups to organize without threat of arrest or state violence, a new report has found.

Just 56% of countries—109 out of 194—freely allow such groups, according to data analysis from LGBTQ organization OutRight Action International, published on Tuesday.

The survey found 55 countries where LGBTQ advocacy groups exist, but cannot receive state authorization, such as in Lebanon and Russia. Meanwhile, Outright could not find any such groups in existence in 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Malaysia, and Somalia, in some cases banning them, Reuters notes.

russia lgbt arrest
DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian riot policemen detain gay and LGBTQ rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev (C) during an unauthorized gay rights activists rally in central Moscow on May 30, 2015.

“This is a way of hindering and trying to stop any kind of progress or push for equality that LGBT groups want to do,” Maria Sjödin, deputy executive director of OutRight, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Jean Chong, co-founder of Sayoni, an LGBTQ rights organization based in Singapore, said it is difficult to operate without official sanctioning.

Tunisia lgbt arrest
FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images
Policemen in plain clothes arrest a Tunisian activist as they disperse an LGBTQ protest in Tunis on January 27, 2018.

“It is impossible to get an office space and you cannot ask for donations publicly as you are not a legal entity,” Chong noted.

While it is possible to formerly register as an LGBTQ group in Singapore, activists are reportedly often blocked in those efforts, leading many to instead register under broader terms, such as general human rights organizations.

Turkey lgbt arrest
OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images
Riot police officers detain a LGBT demonstrator during a rally staged by the LGBT community on Istiklal avenue in Istanbul on June 26, 2016.

“I truly believe that change in society happens because people organize and push for it. That is how greater equality for LGBT people has been achieved,” said Sjödin.

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