You can’t call yourself a true LGBTQ+ ally if you still travel to these 11 countries

Cancel the gap year


TW: Homophobia, torture, abuse, violence, discrimination

I mean I’ll start by saying this list could genuinely be massive. There are loads of countries that criminalise LGBTQ+ behaviour, often punishing members of the community with imprisonment or even the death penalty.

And there are loads more countries that have restrictive laws, such as Hungary, who recently banned the discussion of LGBTQ+ people in schools and the media.

There are, however, plenty of countries that are really friendly to LGBTQ+ people, so feel free to go and invest in their economy on your next trip abroad.

But if your LGBTQ+ friends don’t feel safe going to these 11 countries, you probably shouldn’t go either…otherwise you’re a pretty shitty ally.

UAE (Dubai)

Influencers have been questionably jetting off to Dubai throughout the pandemic, but what’s more questionable, is the United Arab Emirates’ record on LGBTQ+ rights.

Here, if a man wears “women’s clothes,” he can get a year in prison. Laws differ for the different regions of UAE, but in Dubai, if a man has sex with another man, they can be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

In Abu Dhabi, “unnatural sex with another person” can be punished with up to 14 years in prison.

Indonesia (Bali)

While there are no laws that criminalise same-sex behaviour in Indonesia, there are also no laws specifically protecting LGBTQ+ people. It’s quite common therefore for government authorities to arbitrarily arrest LGBTQ+ people.

Police and militant Islamists regularly raid LGBTQ+ gatherings and make arrests.

In 2020, a transgender woman was brutally murdered in Jakarta but police decided not to pursue murder charges.


In Poland they literally have “LGBT-free zones.” 90 towns and regions have passed motions declaring their areas as free of “LGBT ideology.”

Unsurprisingly, discrimination towards LGBTQ+ people in Poland is rife, prompting thousands to turn out at a Pride march in Warsaw last week. 



Hungarian Parliament in Budapest

Aside from recently passing a law banning the discussion of homosexuality at schools or in the media, Hungary have also implemented further measures, eroding the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

Just last year, Hungary called an end to the legal recognition of transgender and intersex people. Human Rights Watch said: “It comes at a time when the government has used the Covid-19 pandemic as a pretext to grab unlimited power and is using parliament to rubber-stamp problematic non-public health-related bills, like this one.”



If a transgender person wants to get legal recognition for their gender in Japan, they must agree to be sterilised. Japanese law states that there is a “need to avoid abrupt changes in a society where the distinction of men and women have long been based on biological gender.”

Same-sex unions are not recognised by the national government but unofficial marriages between two people of the same gender do occur at a local level.



LGBTQ+ people in Vietnam face a lot of discrimination on the grounds of their gender or sexuality.  Homosexuality is believed to be a curable mental health condition- a message which is promoted within schools and wider society.

There are very few legal protections against violence and discrimination towards LGBTQ+ people.


LGBTQ rights are a shit show in Egypt. Authorities can arrest people based on their sexuality or gender identity.

These people can be detained, tortured and even subject to forced anal examinations to establish “proof” of same-sex conduct.


In 1992 a law was introduced punishing anal sex with life imprisonment and an “act of serious indecency” with 10 years behind bars.

There have been various challenges made to this law over the years but as it stands, it’s still in place.




Like Hungary, Russia has a “gay propaganda” law which authorities use to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ+ community.

In 2019, an activist called Yulia Tsvetkova was fined the equivalent of $665 for posting LGBTQ+ friendly content on social media pages.

Earlier this year, Tsvetkova was indicted for uploading some body-positive drawings of naked women to social media, on pornography charges. If she ends up being convicted, she’ll face six years in prison.


In the Maldives, consensual sex between two people of the same gender can result in eight years imprisonment and 100 lashes.

Same-sex marriage is banned and punishable with a year in prison.


In Jamaica, a law banning consensual sex between two men was introduced in 1864. Although there have been various challenges to the law over the years, the law remains in place and contributes to a hostile climate for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

A full report on countries and their laws on sexual orientation and gender identity can be found here.

Featured image via Instagram.

The Tab’s Pride reporting series is putting a focus on highlighting LGBTQ+ issues and celebrating queer voices across UK campuses.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story you can contact Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ helpline, on 0300 330 0630 or visit their website. You can also find help through The Mix

If you’ve got a story you’d like to tell us – whether it’s an incident of homophobia on campus, an experience you’d like to share, or anything you think we should hear, get in touch in confidence by emailing [email protected]

Read more from The Tab’s Pride series:

• ‘They tried to pray the gay away’: Growing up gay in a deeply religious household

• I’m out as bisexual at uni but still haven’t told any of my family

• This is what it’s really like growing up with gay parents