United Republic of Tanzania

AT A GLANCE

Same Sex
Relations
Legal?

NO

Legal Gender
Recognition
Possible?

NO

LGBTI Orgs
Able to
Register?

NO

Actions Related
to SOGI at
the UN

2016: Opposed IE SOGI

Overview

In recent years, the state of LGBTIQ people’s human rights in Tanzania has rapidly deteriorated. Tanzania’s colonial-era Penal Code, under sections 154 and 155, makes consensual same-sex relations punishable with imprisonment of, in some cases, over 30 years. The law is actively enforced. The government began a concerted crack-down on LGBTIQ people in July 2016, and the situation has only worsened since then. Openly homophobic and transphobic statements are regularly made by government officials, LGBTIQ non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders have been threatened Under Tanzania’s restrictive censorship laws, and LGBTIQ human rights defenders have been arrested. In the fall of 2018, a Regional Commissioner publicly announced the establishment of a team of officials and police to find and arrest LGBTIQ individuals, and called on Tanzanians to support this effort by reporting LGBTIQ individuals to the authorities. Same-sex relations are also criminalized in the semi-autonomous area of Zanzibar. Section 150 of the criminal code, related to “unnatural offenses,” prescribes 14 years in prison, Section 153 specifically criminalizes same-sex relations between women, and 154 criminalizes gross indecency. Societal acceptance is extremely low. LGBTIQ topics are highly taboo and LGBTIQ identities are often seen as un-African and immoral. These beliefs result in widespread discrimination of and violence towards LGBTIQ Tanzanians at the hands of private individuals. This is exacerbated by political and religious hate-speech and persecution of LGBTIQ people by authorities.