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Destinations gay travellers MUST avoid: Alarming world map reveals the 72 countries where same-sex couples could be jailed or even executed for their sexuality

Cuba Gay Pride
Same-sex couples who chose to travel overseas risk safety threats, criminal charges, time spent languishing in foreign prisons or even the death penalty, as many countries continue to treat homosexuality as a crime. 

Australia shares increasingly tolerant attitudes towards homosexuality, but it's not an attitude shared by 72 other countries and territories across the world where identifying as gay can be downright dangerous. 

A world map, identifying danger zones and national attitudes towards homosexuality, has been released to give LGBTI travellers a safety guide when heading overseas. 

Same-sex relationships are criminalised in 72 countries and territories worldwide, dozens of which can enforce jail time and eight can even apply the death penalty.

Bali is an Aussie holiday hot-spot, and Indonesia's proposal for a total ban on gay sex puts same-sex visitors increasingly at risk as the country continues to treat homosexuality as a crime with sex-same marriage remaining illegal.

Many LGBTI travellers to the island report abuse and intolerance, while the country's rising intolerance against the LGBTI community was recently criticised by the UN human rights chief. 

And while most Aussies love to go abroad, many LGBTI travellers face unique challenges visiting countries which don't share the same attitudes, rights and legal status as back home.   

A world map, identifying countries and territories according to how tolerant national attitudes were towards LBGTI couples, was released by Travel Insurance Direct.

The map is shaded from red - illegal or intolerant attitudes towards homosexuality - to purple -countries where same-sex marriage has been legalised. 

The countries identified as the biggest danger zones for LGBTI travellers where homosexuality is criminalised and outlawed are shaded in red on the map.

These include large parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and includes Australia's nearest neighbour, Papua New Guinea

In these areas, same-sex acts can result in imprisonment. In Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, homosexuality is punishable by death under sharia law. 

The same applies in parts of Somalia and northern Nigeria.

Countries shaded in orange, which include travel destinations such as Vietnam and Madagascar, do not outlaw against homosexuality but are considered intolerant towards LGBTI travellers. 

Same-sex relations are criminalised under laws covering sodomy, buggery and 'acts against nature'.

'They have never enacted legislation specifically outlawing it,' Phil Sylvester a travel expert from Travel Insurance Direct told news.com.au.

Mr Sylvester described the legal situation as 'not officially illegal'.

'[Travellers can] expect discrimination, prejudice and harsh treatment by officials and society as a whole. 

For lack of an official law these places would be marked red, too,' he said. 

Countries identified as yellow, including China, Russia, Turkey and Indonesia consider homosexuality to be legal.

These countries have only slightly better attitudes as 'there is often open societal hostility' and 'no other protection for the LGBTQI community,' Mr Sylvester said.  

Green countries offer some legal protections, such as anti-discrimination laws, and consider homosexual acts to be legal. They include Mexico, Thailand and parts of eastern Europe.

The same can be said for blue countries, such as Italy, Poland, Greece, the Czech Republic and Chile, but have a wider range of protections in place.  

Purple countries enjoy legalised same-sex marriage and generally offer protection of rights of LGBTI people.

These travel-safe zones include Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and many countries in northern and western Europe.

However, national laws and local attitudes don't always match and often change.

'For example, in Russia, despite it legalised homosexual sex between men in 1993 (lesbian sex has never been illegal), in practice, you risk violence and discrimination if you are openly gay,' Mr Sylvester said.

'Hungary legalised homosexuality in 1962, and has allowed registration of same-sex unions since 1992 and has anti-gay discrimination laws. 

But in 2015 the mayor of Budapest called the gay pride march 'repulsive'.'

Homosexuality may be technically legal in many countries but people who are in same-sex relationships may still feel threatened, face threats to their safety, or endure locals being abusive or openly showing disgust. 

While other countries may not have laws against homosexuality, but condone laws that can be used to target LGBTI people.

Russia has a law against 'promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships' to minors, which may target behaviour that appears to promote LGBTI issues, Mr Sylvester explained.

Source: Mail Online, Daily Mail Australia, Sam Lock, March 23, 2018

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