Kuwait LGBT Laws

Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual
1. National

In October 2012, according to Kuwaiti activists there are at least eleven transgender people being held in prison awaiting trial, six of them arrested in the last two weeks for “imitating the opposite sex” [R1.2].

In June 2008, in an attempt to ‘protect its youth’ the Kuwaiti government reportedly was stepping up a campaign to ‘rid’ the country of gay and transexual citizens [R1.1].

December 2007, Kuwait’s parliament passed a law that criminalised “imitating the appearance of the opposite sex”.

The amendment states that “any person committing an indecent act in a public place, or imitating the appearance of a member of the opposite sex, shall be subject to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or a fine” [R1.1].

Kuwait does not allow transgender people to change their legal identity to match the gender in which they live or to adapt their physical appearance through gender reassignment surgery [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

In April 2004, in an unprecedented ruling a Kuwaiti court said a 25-year-old man who underwent sex-change surgery can be officially regarded as a woman. The judges were apparently guided by a religious edict allowing gender change if there are medical reasons for it [R2.1].

The ruling was to be approved by a higher court before it becomes final [R2.1].

In January 2003, in the first case of its kind in Kuwait, an unamed transsexual submitted papers to the court as proof that she had had a sex-change operation and asking for a legal gender change to female [R2.2].

R1.2 GayStarNews: Eleven trans arrested in Kuwait 30 OCT 12
R1.1 PinkNews.co.uk: Kuwaiti Transexuals Arrested and Beaten to ‘Protect’ Citizens 18 JUN 08
R2.1 Reuters: Kuwaiti Court Rules Sex Change OK 26 APR 04
R2.2 Gay.com UK: Kuwaiti Transsexual Asks Court To Change Legal Genders 22 JAN 03
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

As at May 2012, consensual sex between male same-sex couples is unlawful [R1.1].

Penal Code, Law No. 16 of June 2, 1960, as amended in 1976 [R1.1]

Article 193. Consensual intercourse between men of full age (from the age of 21) shall be punishable with a term of imprisonment of up to seven years.

Article 192 prohibits sexual intercourse by an adult man on a male under the age of 21, with a penalty of up to ten years imprisonment.

As to consensual sex between females, the law is silent.

In 1997, Kuwaiti Police were reported as having arrested and gaoled gay foreigners prior to their deportation [R1.2].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 13 February 2016, it was reported that American women Monique Coverson and her partner Larissa Joseph have been convicted and jailed for 20 years, allegedly on trumped-up drug charges because they’re lesbians. A German lab test, revealed that the two women were using K2, a synthetic form of marijuana, which is legal in Kuwait [R2.1].

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 589.01kb, 16 MAY 12
R1.2 Adelaide Gay Times: Kuwaiti Police Arrest Foreign Gays 24 JAN 97
R2.1 Telesur: Lesbian Couple Sentenced to 20 Years in Kuwaiti Prison 13 FEB 16