life-imprisonmentInternational: About 40 percent or 2 out of 5 of the world’s gay people live in countries where being gay can result in a prison sentence and only 14% live in places where they have some rights and legal protections.

There is no global count of how many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, reports

Hardly any countries count their own LGBT populations and estimates of LGBT people as a percentage of the population typically vary from 0% to 10%.

To get an idea of the global LGBT population,  the percentage used was the British government’s figure of 6% – the one they used when calculating the impact of Civil Partnerships in the UK in 2004, said the report.

There are five countries which are known to kill citizens for being gay: Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Mauritania and Iran. We estimate that a potential 10 million LGBT people live in these countries, where being out of the closet can result in a death sentence.

This means 2.4%, or 1 in 50, of the world’s gay people live in countries where their sexuality would get them killed by the state.

The report counted 66 countries that will imprison or penalize citizens because they are gay: that ranges from full life imprisonment in Uganda to the unclear situation in India where people can be fined, or potentially imprisoned depending on interpretations of the law.

In Russia, being gay is not against the law, but the expression of being gay can lead to fines and repeated transgressions to imprisonment, thanks to a recent law against ‘gay propaganda’.

The report estimates that 165 million gay people live in countries like this. That would be 39% of the global gay population or 2 in 5 of the world’s gay people living in countries where being gay can get them imprisoned.

Much of Eastern Europe falls in category “No penalties – but no/few protections either” and so does the USA where there is no federal law preventing discrimination against gay people, allowing gay adoption or the recognition of gay relationships.

In almost all of these states there is no recognition of gay hate crime.

An estimated 187 million LBGT people live in countries where being gay is legal, but they don’t have the same rights as straight people.

This means  44% of the world’s gay people live in countries where being gay is legal but there is little/no state recognition of their sexuality and little/no protection against discrimination or hate crime.

The category where “gay people have some legal protections up to equal rights” ranges from protection against discrimination, the recognition of hate crime to full equal marriage and adoption rights.

South Africa is a world leader in legal protections – being the first country in the world to recognize equal gay marriage. This also comprises most of Western Europe, Australia, Canada and a clutch of countries in Latin America.

Only 14% of the world’s gay people live in places where they have some rights and legal protections, or even equal rights with straight people.