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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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Same-sex relations are still banned under Pakistan’s Penal Code. In areas of Sharia law, the death penalty can be imposed, and societal opinion in relation to LGB people is pervasively negative. Laws against “obscene acts” and “unnatural offenses” contribute to widespread antipathy towards LGB people in Pakistan. In contrast, transgender people, locally known as khawaja sara, are seen in a more complex way – both as bearers of good fortune and as outcasts. Consequently, their human rights are protected to a somewhat greater degree. The Transgender Person (Protection of Rights) Act of 2018 allows anyone whose gender does not conform to the sex assigned at birth to change their legal gender on official documents, hold public office, and vote. The act further enshrines protection from discrimination in housing, employment, and education. Social exclusion, harassment, and stigmatization of khawaja sara, transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming Pakistanis continue to be an issue despite these legal protections. Pakistan remains a conservative country that values traditional family structures and conservative religious ideals. Politicians and influential religious leaders frequently denounce LGB people, and LGBTIQ people more broadly, as “un-Islamic” and “immoral.” Public officials have used the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, passed in 2016, to censor websites addressing LGBTIQ issues and depicting LGBTIQ people. Pakistani media often perpetuates inaccurate and anti-LGBTIQ ideas, contributing to negative societal perceptions.

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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