Human Rights Watch Country Profiles: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The following country profiles are derived in part from sections of the Human Rights Watch 2019 World Report that relate to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Europe: It’s time to end discrimination against rainbow families

Declaring it “crucial and urgent” that European States overcome the discrimination experienced by both adults and children in rainbow families, PACE has called for the elimination of all unjustified differences in treatment in the field of private and family life based on grounds of sexual orientation.

Acceptance of LGBT people and rights has increased around the world

New Global Acceptance Index ranks 141 countries on LGBT acceptance and legal protections and provides a link between inclusion and GDP per capita. 

Israel: Homophobic op-ed by Islamic leader raises Arab Israeli ire

A homophobic article by an Israeli Islamic leader has sparked a flurry of condemnations by Arab civil society, shining a light on a usually suppressed debate on gay rights. Commenting on the same-sex wedding of Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, Sheikh Kamal Khatib, deputy head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, launched a scathing attack on homosexuality in an op-ed titled “You make me sick,” published on

“Western societies have reached the lowest of lows,” wrote Khatib, and that society was succumbing "to moral degradation." "It is noteworthy,” he continued, “that suspicious local organizations, tabloids and biased writers have been advocating this perversion. To all those, I say not ‘may you be well and have boys’ but rather ‘may you be miserable and suffer plagues and AIDS, you perverts!'”

Khatib’s comments quickly drew fire from Israeli Arabs on social media.

Al-Qaws, a Palestinian NGO supporting sexual and gender diversity in Palestinian society, argued in a rare statement that Khatib’s concern over homosexuality may indicate a paradigm shift in Arab treatment of the subject: “We wonder,” the organization wrote, “Is this a miserable attempt to exploit the issue of gays for political purposes, or did the Sheikh see change taking place before his eyes and get nervous?”  Read More

Palestine: Documentary Oriented

New talent Jake Witzenfeld takes a look at the LGBT community of Tel Aviv in his directorial debut, Oriented. The documentary takes place over 15 months, through the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2014, and follows three Palestinian friends living in Tel Aviv as they face struggles with their nationality and sexuality.

Khader, son of a notorious Muslim mafia family lives with his Jewish boyfriend, David. Although legally Israeli, Fadi doesn’t identify as such and doesn’t feel he has the right to call himself a Palestinian. Instead he just defines himself as Arab. Naim struggles with coming out to his parents, something he feels empowered to do whenever he’s in Tel Aviv, but anytime he goes home, his return is met with crippling insecurities. Read More 

Debates at Davos Get Around to Gay Rights

This year, for the first time, the World Economic Forum is addressing the issue of gay and lesbian rights on the formal agenda for Davos...