LGBT global rights and wrongs

Do you know the facts and figures from around the world?

  • In 76 countries, it’s a crime to be gay. In 10 it can cost you your life.*
  • There is no country in the world where lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people have full equality.
  • 2.8 billion people live in countries where living openly means sacrificing your family, freedom, safety or dignity.

It seems like everything is going better than ever for gay rights. Is that not true?

In some parts of the world, equality has made huge leaps in the past few years. But in others, we’re taking steps back. For example, in the past 2 years alone, India has made it illegal to be gay and countries like Uganda and Nigeria have increased jail sentences for LGBT people and those who support them. Beyond criminalisation, both progress and setbacks have happened on the issues of family equality, freedom of expression, and protection from discrimination.


Only 18 countries in the world have full marriage equality. Over a dozen more provide some important protections to LGBT people and their families, such as civil unions, domestic partnerships, and allowing same-sex partners to jointly adopt their children or be legal parents to their partner’s children. Without these protections, the families of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people aren’t fully recognized and can be torn apart. In the European Union, children can be taken away from the parents who raised them if they cross the wrong border. In many other countries, lesbian and gay people can be kept away from their partners if they’re in the hospital.


Some countries are adding new propaganda laws to stop lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people - and anyone who supports them - from organising and helping each other. These laws censor the press, shut down LGBT organisations, and stop public discussion. Recently, Russia infamously added an anti-gay ‘propaganda’ law, which fines or arrests people for speaking out publicly about gay, lesbian, bi or trans issues. Other countries have similar bills or draft laws being considered. In countries where expressing who you are and who you love is illegal, the #GayIsOK soap might be too!


59 countries protect lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from losing their jobs because of who they love - but only 6 protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation in their constitutions. This kind of discrimination forces LGBT people to live in the shadows and often face extreme poverty. Some countries, like the US, are debating national laws to prohibit this kind of workplace discrimination. Trans people disproportionately face discrimination and violence. One transgender person is murdered every 16 hours worldwide. In many countries, to legally change your gender you’re forced to be sterilised. But some countries, like India, are starting to recognise people with diverse gender identities and grant them full citizenship.

Lush can’t sell Love Soap in all our worldwide shops!

There are some countries where we can’t sell a soap saying Gay is OK, or run a campaign asking for LGBT rights.

The Love Soap would be illegal in some countries because it portrays homosexuality in a positive light. For example, if we sold it in Russia, we couldn’t guarantee that no one under the age of 18 would see it - and for this reason it would be illegal according to Russia’s harsh anti-propaganda laws.

Around 80 stores will be unable to participate because of anti-gay legislation in their countries.  The fact that a simple soap can become illegal in some countries just because it says #GayIsOK is a working example of the discrimination and lack of human rights faced by LGBT people in some countries.

Realising that our Love Soap was illegal is what first got us thinking ‘what if your love was illegal?’

*This article was created in 2015 . At the time of writing, all facts are figures were correct. Since 2015, some of the statitics may have changed.

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