Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Oman face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Homosexuality in the Sultanate of Oman is illegal according to §§, 33 and 223 of the penal code and can be punished with a jail sentence of up to 3 years. In Oman it is said that cases only get to court if "public scandal" is involved.
In September 2013, it was announced that all Gulf Cooperative Countries had agreed to discuss a proposal to establish some form of, yet unknown, testing in order to ban gay foreigners from entering any of the countries. However, it has been suggested that concern for hosting 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and fears for controversy in a case that football fans would have been screened, made officials backtrack the plans and insist that it was a mere proposal.
In 2013, an article in Omani newspaper, "The Week" (an English language weekly), suggested that Oman was more tolerant about people's sexuality than other Gulf states, even though homosexuality remains illegal there. The article traced the story of a young gay man in the country under the headline, "The Outsiders".
In response the government of Oman intervened to suspend publication of the newspaper. Furthermore, the article was denounced across online social networks in Oman and by the country's journalists' association. A member of the Shura Council, Tawfiq al-Lawati, tweeted that the article was advocating homosexuality and suggested Oman was a safe haven for gays. He called for the information ministry to take action against the paper for breaking the country's press code.
Some Omanis countered that the article was simply documenting a truth about the country and it was the job of the press to reflect reality. The paper was subsequently forced to apologise with an entire front page article. The extravagance of the apology shows just how controversial it is to broach the issue of homosexuality with any sympathy in Oman.
As in all Gulf states, Oman does have an underground gay scene. It is widely seen as more tolerant than many of its neighbours as long as activities remain discreet.
Like in other Gulf countries, advocacy for LGBT rights in Oman is a criminal act, activists use social media with an alias to protect their identities with very rare exceptions.
|Same-sex sexual activity legal||(Up to 3 years)|
|Equal age of consent|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment only|
|Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services|
|Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)|
|Recognition of same-sex couples|
|Step-child adoption by same-sex couples|
|Joint adoption by same-sex couples|
|Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military|
|Right to change legal gender|
|Access to IVF for lesbians|
|Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples|
|MSMs allowed to donate blood|
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