LGBT rights in Gabon

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LGBT rights in Gabon
StatusLegal 1960-2019, again since 2020, unequal age of consent[1]
Gender identityNo
Discrimination protectionsNo
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsNo

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Gabon face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Except for a period between July 2019 and June 2020, same-sex sexual activity has generally been legal in Gabon.

Same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples and LGBT persons face stigmatization among the broader population.[2][3]

In December 2008, Gabon co-sponsored and signed the non-binding UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity which called for the global decriminalization of homosexuality. It was one of only six African countries to do so.[4] In 2011, however, Gabon voted against a joint statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity" at the United Nations, a statement which was condemning violence and discrimination against LGBT people.[5]

Laws regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Following the country's independence from France in 1960, and up to 2019, same-sex relationships have not been criminalized.[2] The age of consent is not equal. Opposite-sex sexual acts requires a minimum age of 15, while same-sex sexual acts requires the minimum age of 21.[6]

On 5 July 2019, Gabon enacted revisions to its Penal Code which criminalized homosexual relation between consenting adults with a potential penalty of imprisonment up to 6 months and/or a fine of up to 5 million CFA francs.[3][7] According to Davis Mac-Iyalla of the Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa, he claimed he knew of two men in Gabon who had already been arrested under the law and had to bribe the police to be let go.[8][9] On 23 June 2020, the National Assembly approved the government's bill to decriminalize same-sex sexual activity.[10][11] It was approved by the Senate on 29 June, and signed by the President on 7 July 2020.[12][13]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

There is no legal recognition of same-sex couples.

Discrimination protections[edit]

There is no legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Living conditions[edit]

The U.S. Department of State's 2010 Human Rights Report found that "discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons was a problem, and LGBT individuals often kept their status secret from the community for fear of being harassed or discriminated against".[14]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (1960-2019, again since 2020)
Equal age of consent No[15]
Anti-discrimination laws in hate speech and violence No
Anti-discrimination laws in employment No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Same-sex marriage No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military No
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "WIPOLex". Archived from the original on 9 May 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b "State-Sponsored Homophobia" (PDF). ILGA. May 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b Mussavu, Alix-Ida (29 October 2019). "Homosexualité : Le nouveau Code pénal sanctionne la pratique". Gabon Review. Gabon Review. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  4. ^ "Statement on human rights and sexual orientation and gender identity" (PDF). United Nations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  5. ^ "17/19 Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity". Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  6. ^ "WIPOLex". Archived from the original on 9 May 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  7. ^ "Gabon Code pénal" (PDF). Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Gabon".
  9. ^ Bollinger, Alex (13 December 2019). "Gabon criminalized homosexuality & two men have already been arrested". LGBTQ Nation.
  10. ^ Obangome, Gerauds Wilfried; Felix, Bate (24 June 2020). "Gabon lawmakers vote to decriminalise homosexuality". Reuters. Archived from the original on 24 June 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  11. ^ "Anti-gay law in Gabon passes first step to decriminalization". RFI. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  12. ^ Obangome, Gerauds Wilfried; Felix, Bate; Prentice, Alessandra (29 June 2020). "Gabon senate votes to decriminalise homosexuality". Reuters. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  13. ^ Roeder, Kaela (8 July 2020). "Gabon formally decriminalizes homosexuality". Washington Blade. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  14. ^ "GABON" (PDF). 25 October 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 October 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  15. ^ "WIPOLex". Archived from the original on 9 May 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.