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72 countries still prohibit same-sex relations—but liberation cannot be halted forever

Queer freedom is an unstoppable global trend. It knows no borders

MATEJ KOTULA/REX SHUTTERSTOCK. Sources: Pew Research Centre, the Washington Post

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In western countries over the last two decades there has been huge progress towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. But the global picture is much bleaker, with 72 countries still having a total prohibition on same-sex relations. Nearly half of them explicitly criminalise sexual acts both between men and between women. And in eight Muslim-majority countries, there is the death penalty for having sex with a person of the same gender.

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