Jordan

At a glance

  • Same-sex relations: legal
  • Legal gender recognition: not possible
  • Registration of LGBTIQ organizations: not possible
  • Actions related to SOGi at UN: opposed IE SOGI in 2016

 

Overview

Jordan abolished a colonial-era ban on same-sex relations back in 1951, as such, same-sex relations are not criminalized. So-called “honor-killings” have been outlawed since 2013. However, hate speech from politicians is ripe, and authorities have been known to use morality and public decency laws to target LGBTIQ people. These laws provide legal cover for police and government officials to entrap, harass, and detain LGBTIQ Jordanians with impunity. In 2018, the Jordanian Parliament passed a law which allows for gender confirming surgery for intersex individuals, but criminalizes such surgeries for transgender individuals, further marginalizing trans people.

Societal acceptance of LGBTIQ people is low, there is a general perception that being LGBTIQ is un-Islamic and therefore unacceptable in an Islamic country. Although Jordan’s legal system is not based on Sharia law, Sharia courts, which criminalize same-sex relations, hold symbolic weight and operate throughout the country with limited jurisdiction over certain aspects of life. Despite the ban on honor crimes, the concept of honor remains strong, with LGBTIQ people being seen as a strain on a family’s honor.

Despite these challenges, Jordan has many unofficial LGBTIQ organizations, which hold demonstrations and build support. As a result, the Jordanian LGBTIQ community has experienced a slight increase in visibility and acceptance, particularly among younger and wealthier Jordanians.