United Republic of Tanzania

At a glance

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



In recent years, the state of LGBTIQ people’s human rights in Tanzania has rapidly deteriorated. Tanzanian’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 offences,” 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.