This interactive map shows how different countries have criminalized, decriminalized (and in a few cases recriminalized), being gay throughout modern history. Starting in 1799, the map tells a poignant tale of how colonization spread homophobic legislation to many parts of the world. Use the slide at the bottom to speed through history and watch as successive waves of change affect country after country.

Unfortunately, there are information gaps when it comes to the status of laws in some countries during particular periods of history. These gaps are reflected in our map (grey areas indicate missing or disputed data). Please consider this a work in progress: if you have historical or legal sources that can help us to plug holes or correct inaccuracies, please get in touch!

For the sake of clarity, the boundaries and names of countries remain the same throughout the historical timeline. The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.