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Country Overview


At a glance

Same-sex Relations for Men Legal Throughout the Country?


Same-sex Relations for Women Legal Throughout the Country?


Legal Gender Recognition Possible?


LGBTI Orgs Able to Register?


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In Malaysia, LGBTIQ people face difficulty in many areas of life. Same-sex sexual acts are illegal, with punishments of up to twenty years imprisonment, caning, and fines. In addition to Malaysia’s national laws banning same-sex relations, several states impose Islamic Sharia law, which criminalizes same-sex relations and gender non-conformity. Due to these laws, LGBTIQ Malaysians are subject to arbitrary arrests, assault, extortion, and privacy violations by police and public officials. Hate crimes and extrajudicial killings are often carried out with impunity. In regions under Sharia Law, religious officials can impose greater punishments on Muslim LGBTIQ Malaysians. Malaysia’s censorship laws prohibit distributing, displaying, or creating materials the government deems “obscene” or “against public decency.” These censorship laws have been used to restrict LGBTIQ people’s freedom of expression and make it difficult for LGBTIQ groups to organize. Conservative religious leaders hold significant political and cultural power in Malaysia, and often publicly denounce LGBTIQ people as “un-Islamic” and “immoral,” which contributes to anti-LGBTIQ sentiment in Malaysia. Surveys have shown that a majority of people in Malaysia do not believe society should accept same-sex sexuality. “Conversion therapy” is regularly practiced and is publicly promoted by politicians and religious leaders.


Global Impact

Sub-Saharan Africa

Outright supports LGBTIQ organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa and works with mainstream human rights organizations to respect human rights and influence positive changes in laws, policies, attitudes and beliefs that cause discrimination against LGBTIQ people.

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United Nations

Our work at the United Nations centers around advocating for the advancement of the rights of LGBTIQ people.

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Our work in Asia promotes acceptance of sexual and gender diversity at all levels of society.

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Middle East and North Africa

In the Middle East and North Africa, we partner with local groups in various countries as part of our international solidarity work. We also work with our local partners on different topics through capacity building, advocacy, research and holistic security.

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Europe and Central Asia

Outright International partners with activists to fight for an end to human rights violations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in Europe and Central Asia, where most of our work involves emergency responses to harassment, discrimination, violence, and most recently, Russia’s brutal and expanded invasion of Ukraine.

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Our work in the Americas continues to build on the fundamental and positive transformation of human rights protections in recent years. We partner with groups in the Caribbean that focus on ending gender-based violence and eradicating discrimination against trans people.

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Our work in the Pacific aims to increase the visibility of activists, respond to human rights emergencies, and actively bridge local, regional, and international activism to achieve equality and justice.

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Human Rights Research

Since 1990, we have partnered with activists from all over the world to produce hundreds of groundbreaking reports.

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