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More Than a Quarter of the Planet Believes Gay People Should Be Thrown in Prison

Amid a global crackdown on LGBTQ rights, an international survey suggests that more than a quarter of the planet supports criminalizing homosexuality.

Of the 77 countries polled in the 2017 ILGA-RIWI Global Attitudes Survey, 28.5 percent of respondents believed people found guilty of homosexual activity should “be charged as criminals.” More than 100,000 people participated in the report.

Researchers found the strongest opposition to the existence of LGBTQ people in Africa, where a majority of participants favored prosecutions for same-sex behavior. Forty-five percent of Africans believe homosexual activity should be illegal, while just 36 percent believe it should be legalized. Support for same-sex relationships reached as low as the single digits in the 15 African countries surveyed, as the LGBTQ advocacy group ILGA notes.

Asia follows close behind: 33 percent of those polled believe that homosexuality should be a punishable offense, whereas 42 percent opposed that statement.

A majority of respondents in North America, Europe, and Oceania had no problem with relationships between people of the same gender. The latter group showed the highest support for legalizing same-sex activity: 63 percent of Pacific Islanders approved of homosexuality.

The survey shows that pro-LGBTQ support is strongly tied to whether participants are personally acquainted with a queer or trans person.

Respondents who say they know someone in a same-sex relationship are twice as likely to oppose the criminalization of homosexuality than people who don’t know a partnered LGBTQ individual. However, 40 percent of those polled say that they do not have someone in their lives who is dating a member of the same gender.

Globally, more than 70 countries have laws on the books that mandate prison sentences or even the death penalty for LGBTQ individuals.

International opposition to queer and trans rights has been in the spotlight this year following numerous attacks against the LGBTQ community in countries like Azerbaijan, Chechnya, and Egypt. Lawmakers in Egypt are attempting to push one of the world’s harshest anti-gay laws following the arrest of more than 71 people at a September concert. They were apprehended for holding a Pride flag.

Read the entire ILGA report here.

Photography: Lambert/Getty Images

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