Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in his annual "National Day Rally" speech on Sunday that he would lift a colonial-era ban on sex between men in the city state. As the country has become more accepting of homosexuality, Loong said that overturning the law was the "right thing to do".
Despite its economic prowess and increasingly cosmopolitan lifestyles, Singapore has held on to conservative politics and strict penal codes. The country remains among the practitioners of the death penalty, another draconian law that has drawn criticism in the country. While Singaporean laws are changing, homosexuality remains punishable with imprisonment in other Asian nations, namely in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and neighboring Malaysia. In February of 2021, small Himalayan nation Bhutan had been the latest on the continent to abolish a ban on homosexuality .
According to Equaldex, Africa, the Middle East and Persia meanwhile are the regions where laws against homosexuality are still the most widespread. In 2022, homosexuality is still punishable by death in several countries and remains illegal in some form in a total of 69 nations. Especially in Africa, both a tightening and a relaxing of relevant laws are happening side by side. Between 2019 and 2021, Gabon and Botswana legalized homosexuality, while Sudan and Uganda made it punishable by life in prison.