How Angola Decriminalized Same-Sex Relations

Angola has decriminalized consensual, adult same-sex relations. This is a major step toward acceptance of diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity in Angola and across Africa. Our friends at AMSHeR have created a short history of the events leading to this momentous change and the hope it offers as an example for other countries to follow.


On 23 January 2019, Angola passed a new Penal Code decriminalizing consensual same-sex relationships among adults. At the same time, Angola prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. These events are hailed widely as a success story for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in the region.

While celebrations take root, the occasion offers an opportunity for reflection on the process that brought about change into the new law. It becomes important to analyze the contours and share views about where and how the Angolan process of not only decriminalizing same-sex relations but also protection of LGBT people against discrimination begun. It should also be asked who were the role-players involved, what steps were taken and what is to be expected in future following the passing of the law. Based on the Angolan experience this brief shares some lessons that may be needed for similar advocacy processes elsewhere.

Read the full statement below.