LGBT rights in Oman

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Oman face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Homosexuality in the Sultanate of Oman is illegal according to §§, 33 and 223 of the penal code and can be punished with a prison sentence up to three years. In Oman, it is said that cases only get to court if "public scandal" is involved.[1]

StatusIllegal: Islamic Sharia Law is applied[1]
PenaltyUp to 3 years
Gender identity

Living conditionsEdit

In September 2013, it was announced that all Gulf Cooperative Countries had agreed to discuss a proposal to devise a "gay test" intended to single out gay foreigners and prevent them from entering any of the countries.[2][3] However, it has been suggested that concern for hosting 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and fears for controversy in a case that football fans would have been screened, made officials backtrack the plans and insist that it was a mere proposal.[4]

In 2013, an article in Omani newspaper The Week (an English language weekly) suggested that Oman was more tolerant about people's sexuality than other Gulf states, even though homosexuality remains illegal there. The article traced the story of a young gay man in the country under the headline, "The Outsiders".[5]

In response, the government of Oman intervened to suspend publication of the newspaper. Furthermore, the article was denounced across online social networks in Oman and by the country's journalists' association. A member of the Shura Council, Tawfiq al-Lawati, tweeted that the article was advocating homosexuality and suggested Oman was a safe haven for gays. He called for the information ministry to take action against the paper for breaking the country's press code.[5]

Some Omanis countered that the article was simply documenting a truth about the country and it was the job of the press to reflect reality. The paper was subsequently forced to apologise with an entire front-page article. The extravagance of the apology shows just how controversial it is to broach the issue of homosexuality with any sympathy in Oman.[5]

As in all Gulf states, Oman does have an underground gay scene. It is widely seen as more tolerant than many of its neighbours as long as activities remain discreet.[5]

Growth of LGBT rights movement in OmanEdit

Like in other Gulf countries, advocacy for LGBT rights in Oman is a criminal act, activists use social media with an alias to protect their identities with very rare exceptions.[citation needed]

Summary tableEdit

Same-sex sexual activity legal   (Up to 3 years)
Equal age of consent  
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only  
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services  
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)  
Same-sex marriages  
Recognition of same-sex couples  
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples  
Joint adoption by same-sex couples  
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military  
Right to change legal gender   Laws against men dressing as women and vice versa.
Access to IVF for lesbians  
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples  
MSMs allowed to donate blood  

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "State-sponsored Homophobia A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 October 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Gulf Cooperation Countries to test, detect then ban gays from entering their countries". Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  3. ^ Cavan Sieczkowski (10 September 2013). "Gulf Countries Propose Test To 'Detect' Gays, Ban Them From Entering". Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Kuwaiti authorities arrest 23 'cross-dressers and homosexuals'". Middle East Eye. 13 February 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Usher, Sebastian (3 September 2013). "Oman paper suspended amid gay row". BBC.