(See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists)
Homosexual activity is legal in Madagascar. Nevertheless Article 331 of the Penal Code stipulates that there is a different age of consent between homosexual couples than for heterosexual couples:
Indecent assault committed or attempted on a child of either sex under the age of fourteen years old will be sentenced to between five and ten years in prison and a fine of between ten and fifty million francs.
Indecent assault committed by any ascendant on a minor under twenty-one years of age, even older than fourteen years old but not emancipated by marriage, will be punished by the punishment proposed in the first paragraph.
Without prejudice to the more serious punishments outlined in the previous paragraphs or in Articles 332 and 333 of the present Code, anyone who has committed an obscene act or an act against nature with an individual of the same sex who is under the age of twenty-one years old will be sentenced to between two and five years in prison and a fine of between ten and one hundred million francs.
There are no anti-discrimination laws in the Madagascar Constitution that explicitly protect the LGBTI community from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Article 8, which includes non-discrimination provisions, does not contain sexuality or gender identity.
No published cases have been found. Would be grateful if users of this website would be able to refer us to any that they know of which involved LGBTI cases seeking asylum on these grounds from the Madagascar or having been tried for LGBTI ‘offenses’ in their country.
PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND/OR STATE’S CAPACITY TO PROTECT
The LGBTI community in Madagascar faces general societal discrimination. ‘Public attitudes [on homosexuality] rang[e] from tacit acceptance to outright physical violence, particularly against transvestite sex workers (2010 Human Rights Report).’ At least one media source indicates that locals believe homosexuality does not exist and do not associate culturally accepted cross-dressing and male-on-male physical contact with homosexuality. Such denial means that there is no gay scene in Madagascar and it is likely that homosexuals feel pressured to repress their sexual orientation or gender identity to blend in with a hetero-normative society. That said, it has been reported that in recent years there has been increased awareness of ‘gay pride’ due to improved access to media and Internet, but that the general attitude of denial and distrust has not evolved (2010 Human Rights Report).
One of the many problems plaguing Madagascar at the moment is the increased number of people turning to sex work to support themselves. Recently, as many as half the new sex workers registered are under the age of eighteen, and while predominantly female, there are also male sex workers who inevitably participate in homosexual activity (Globalgayz). Such behavior greatly increases the risk of spreading an STI such as HIV/AIDS. It has also been reported that LGBTI sex workers are often ‘targets of aggression including verbal abuse, stone throwing and murder (2010 Human Rights Report). Unsafe same-sex sexual activity and the spread of STIs have been reported to occur in prisons.
No anti-discrimination laws exist to protect members of the LGBTI Community from marginalization and harassment from ordinary citizens as well as service providers in the community. One such example is that administrative officials have been reported to deny health services to transvestite men or health officials breaking confidentiality agreements (2010 Human Rights Report). Such failure on behalf of the health authorities to provide equal treatment to all citizens results in members of the LGBTI Community not receiving adequate treatment for diseases that disproportionately impact them such as HIV/AIDS.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)
AGLM – Association des Gays et Lesbiennes de Madagascar
Lot VF 71 MahamasinaAvarata, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN SPECIALISTS
No country of origin specialist was found that focuses specifically on issues faced by the LGBTI Community. If users of this website know of any who do, would be grateful for any reference.
Researched by: Rhiannon Archer