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Trump’s legal Muslim ban will hurt LGBTI people and this is how

Written by gaytourism

A protestor at a solidarity rally against the Muslim Ban | Photo: Flickr/Garry Knight

The Supreme Court of the United States upheld Donald Trump’s latest iteration of his travel ban, which disproportionately affects people from Muslim-majority countries.

The ban affects seven countries: North Korea, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Venezuela. CNN has a break-down of how it affects immigratin and travel for each country.

While only Venezuela’s ban is limited to a type of person (government officials), many marginalized people will be hurt by this, Muslims and beyond.

‘As much as Judge Kennedy [who announced his retirement today] claims the ban is “neutral on its face,” we know it is meant to target a specific group — Muslims,’ said Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International.

‘Anyone seeking refuge from violence and persecution, including LGBTIQ individuals who face criminalization in five of the countries on the list, now has one more door closed in their face.

These countries do not have comprehensive LGBTI protections, which people may be trying to escape from in order to have a better life.

In order to understand how this ban will harm LGBTI people, GSN looked at LGBTI rights in each country.

North Korea

North Korea’s penal code does not formally address sexuality or gender identity. However, in 2011, the country executed a lesbian couple, not for moral reasons, but allegedly because of their ties to capitalism.

The Constitution also does not address discrimination in regards to sexuality or gender identity. The media, though, is not allowed to air positive depictions of LGBTI people.


Article 520 of Syria’s penal code of 1949 prohibits ‘carnal relations against the order of nature’ and carries up to a three-year prison sentence.

In ISIS-controlled areas, refugees reported to the UN that they executed people for sodomy. Gender affirmation surgery, however, is legal.

There are also gay groups fighting back against ISIS in Syria, raising rainbow flags in protest.


Gender reassignment surgery is legal in Iran, but any sexual activity outside of a heterosexual marriage is illegal. Punishments include imprisonment, corporal punishment, and execution.

The country also does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions, or adoption by same-sex parents.


In the Republic of Yemen, the penal code prohibits homosexual activity among both adult men and women. For men, the punishment for unmarried men is 100 lashes and one year in prison. For married men, the punishment is execution. Women who break this law face up to three years in prison.

The government also censors any pro-LGBTI media.


Libya’s criminal codes prohibits all sexual activity outside of legal marriage (and same-sex marriage is not legal). Homosexual acts between consenting acts are also specifically illegal.

Under Gaddafi, courts began to enact ‘purification’ laws. This included flogging, amputation, and other punishments inflicted on people defying traditional Islamic morality.

Since the fall of his regime in 2011, LGBTI rights still remain uncertain.


Article 409 of the Somali Penal Code introduced in 1973 prohibits homosexual intercourse. Punishment ranges from three months to one year in prison. Other ‘acts of lust’ carry prison sentences of two months to two years.

There are also reports of LGBTI executions.


While Venezuela’s ban only applies to certain government officials, it is still important to know where they stand on LGBTI rights.

Homosexual activity is legal, however same-sex couples and households do not receive the same benefits and protections as hetersexual couples. Venezuela’s law does not explicitly acknowledge same-sex couples and protections are limited.

Same-sex couples cannot legally adopt, but lesbian couples can use IVF.

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