There are still dozens and dozens of countries in the world where being homosexual is considered illegal. Places where belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community means risking one’s own life.
Based on 2022 estimates, homosexuality is still criminalised in 64 countries, as well as in six sub-national jurisdictions. Of these 64, six who are members of the United Nations, condemn homosexuality with the death penalty. In five others, also members of the UN, the death penalty could potentially be applied. However, it should be emphasised that even where these laws exist but are not enforced, they contribute to instances of harassment, stigmatisation and violence against individuals belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community.
In Europe, the last country to cancel the ‘crime of homosexuality’ was Northern Cyprus, in 2014, thus becoming the first continent in the world to no longer have any country with laws criminalising homosexuality.
In Italy, the so-called Zanardelli Code – homosexuality was decriminalised in 1889, being amongst the first European countries to do so. However, it is still necessary to introduce a more developed, all-encompassing policy (which the Zan DDL could be) that actions direct punishment of discriminatory behaviour towards LGBTQIA+ persons.
Maria Cecilia Castellazzi, Trainee Lawyer