Being LGBT: Their Status and Rights in Bhutan

8 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2019

See all articles by Sonam Chuki

Sonam Chuki

Royal Education Council, Paro Bhutan

Date Written: November 20, 2019


The Bhutanese Penal Code criminalises ‘unnatural sex … or any other sexual conduct that is against the order of nature’. Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transpeople, and other sexuality and gender minorities, lack legal rights, and their social status is low. Homosexuality is still a taboo subject in conservatively pious Bhutanese society. Most LGBT people are not open, nor does the majority of the population, particularly in rural Bhutan, discuss LGBT issues openly. In urban areas, however, people discuss LGBT issues in private. In recent years, a number of LGBT people have been begun to speak publicly on state- and privately-owned local media and social media. This article draws upon qualitative interviews to describe the daily life and challenges of LGBT people in Bhutan under the existing Penal Code of Bhutan, and considers possible changes to the Bhutanese Penal Code.

Suggested Citation

Chuki, Sonam, Being LGBT: Their Status and Rights in Bhutan (November 20, 2019). Australian Journal of Asian Law, 2019, Vol 20 No 1, Article 10: 127-134, Available at SSRN:

Sonam Chuki (Contact Author)

Royal Education Council, Paro Bhutan ( email )

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