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Country Overview

South Africa

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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South Africa is progressive on LGBTIQ legal issues and has a vibrant LGBTIQ social scene. However, LGBTIQ South Africans still face many barriers to full equality. In 1996, South Africa became the first country to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation constitutionally. In 2002, it became legal for same-sex couples to adopt, and marriage equality became a reality in 2005. Since 2003, transgender South Africans have been able to attain legal gender recognition. There are many South African LGBTIQ activist groups, and annual Pride events are held in cities across South Africa. LGBTIQ representation in pop culture is strong and relatively diverse. However, despite progressive legislation and public support for the human rights of LGBTIQ people expressed by the country's policymakers at a local, national, and international level, shocking violence and the murder of LGBTIQ people, as well as harassment and bullying in public services, such as education and health care, continues to be staggering. Local activists report that police response is often slow.


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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