Same-sex relations remain criminalized under Article 230 of Tunisia’s Penal Code, introduced under French colonial rule. Moreover, Tunisia is a majority Muslim country, with religious leaders holding both political and cultural power, many of whom publicly espouse the idea that LGBTIQ identities are un-Islamic and immoral, contributing to pervasively anti-LGBTIQ sentiment. LGBTIQ Tunisians are subject to harassment and discrimination by private citizens and police officers. In addition, the state does not allow for changes relating to identity in official documentation, which makes transgender Tunisians particularly vulnerable.
Some progress, however, has been made. In June 2018, the Individual Freedoms and Equality Committee made a set of wide-ranging recommendations for legislative reform, which included the recommendation to repeal the law criminalizing same-sex relations. In another sign of progress, the Tunisian delegation to the UN agreed to two recommendations calling for the country to combat discrimination and violence against LGBTIQ people and to stop the practice of forced anal examination. Tunisia’s Minister of Human Rights has publicly stated that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is unconstitutional and cases of targeted violence against LGBTIQ people are prosecutable. Despite this, tangible progress remains to be seen.