Angola Decriminalizes Same-Sex Behavior, Protects Against Discrimination

MPact celebrates a hard-won victory for LGBTI advocates in Angola, who diligently fought to overturn an antiquated law that criminalized consensual same-sex relations in their country.

The new statute decriminalizes consensual same-sex sexual relations and protects LGBTI people from discrimination. This law was passed by Angola’s parliament in 2019, signed by the country’s president in 2020, and finally went into effect this week.

Though the criminalization law was not frequently used to prosecute LGBTI people, its mere existence provided a legal basis for homophobic and transphobic discrimination in the southern African country. Offenders can now face imprisonment of up to two years for discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Consensual same-sex sexual activity is still criminalized in 68 countries. Many of these discriminatory policies were introduced throughout the globe by European colonialism and resulted in gay and bisexual men’s increased vulnerability to disease and susceptibility to violence. Gay men in every part of the world, especially racial minorities and men who are living in poverty, continue to shoulder disproportionately high rates of HIV and STI incidence because of laws that impede them from accessing the healthcare, resources, and treatment they need.

Overturning discriminatory and colonial-era laws is merely the first step to ending the stigma and violence that impacts LGBTI communities. Key populations – including sex workers, people who use drugs, transgender people and people living with HIV – continue to be criminalized in many parts of the world. MPact is committed to continuing to work with our partners around the world to demand equal human rights protections for all people.

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