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Han, Enze and O'Mahoney, Joseph (2014) 'British Colonialism and the Criminalization of Homosexuality.' Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 27 (2). pp. 268-288.

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What explains the global variation in laws criminalizing homosexual conduct? Recent research has claimed that British colonialism is largely responsible for the criminalization of homosexuality around the world. This article utilizes a newly constructed dataset that includes up-to-date data on 185 countries to assess this claim. We find that British colonies are much more likely to have criminalization of homosexual conduct laws than other colonies or other states in general. This result holds after controlling for other variables that might be expected to influence the likelihood of repressive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights legislation. However, we also find that the evidence in favour of the claim that British imperialism ‘poisoned’ societies against homosexuality is weak. British colonies do not systematically take longer to decriminalize homosexual conduct than other European colonies.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISSN: 09557571
Copyright Statement: © 2014 Centre of International Studies. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Cambridge Review of International Affairs on 02 May 2014, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2013 14:33

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