Stop the persecution in paradise

75+ countries criminalise lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Many of these countries are popular holiday destinations, and over half are in the Commonwealth.

We commissioned an independent YouGov poll which uncovered a lack of awareness of the issue among the UK public, with people consistently underestimating the number of countries that criminalise LGBT people†.

Launched TODAY

We’ve created an online quiz Paradise or Persecution where the UK public are confronted with beautiful images of holiday destinations and asked to guess if this paradise is also a place that criminalises local LGBT people. The purpose of the quiz is to raise awareness of the scale of the problem and call on the UK public to act in advance of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting this month (27-29 Nov).

You can play and share the quiz here or go directly to sign the petition here.

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How does it relate to the Alliance’s work?

Not only is it an appalling abuse of human rights to criminalise people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but as a result of criminalisation, and alongside wider stigma and discrimination, LGBT people face crisis levels of HIV infection.

80% of LGBT people that the Alliance reached in 2014 were criminalised. Worldwide, gay men and other men who have sex with men are 19 times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population, while transgender women are up to 49 times more likely to acquire HIV than all adults of reproductive age. It is an Alliance advocacy priority to remove the barriers that heighten people’s risk of HIV infection and that prevent them from accessing HIV and health and rights related services.

Karen Johnson, Global Campaign Coordinator at the Alliance, says: “It is important that we raise public awareness of the scale of the problem and the effect that criminalisation has on people’s access to HIV services.

It will be impossible to end AIDS until all people – regardless of their identity or sexuality – can get access to health services and treatment.

Paradise or Persecution follows on from our successful Write Us In! campaign which called for inclusive language around Universal Health Coverage to ensure those groups who are most marginalised and vulnerable to HIV infection are not left behind.

Play and share Paradise or Persecution here.

Survey results†
•    96% of people surveyed were wrong, or didn’t know, how many countries criminalise LGBT people.
•    The survey also found that though the local political and economic situation of a country was an important consideration when booking a holiday, cost, nightlife, beaches and language barriers all ranked higher for holiday makers, than whether LGBT people are criminalised; however
•    A majority (63%) believed that same sex activity was a matter of fundamental human rights, and should not be decided by individual governments.

Read more the press release in full here.

Related info


•   Paradise or Persecution: campaign background information
•   Report: Creating enabling legal environments - a leadership challenge for the Commonwealth
•   Good Practice Guide: HIV and Human Rights
•   Advocacy toolkit for key populations
•   ILGA's report: State-sponsored homophobia