Estimated Total Population:

1.1 million

World Bank, 2019

Estimated SGM Population:



Estimated Total SGM Adult Population:



Estimated % of SGM Adults (18+):



Though consensual same-sex acts are not legal in Eswatini (note: sometimes stylized as eSwatini), the government does not seriously enforce these laws. However, activists maintain that the mere existence of the anti-gay law is “like pointing a gun at [them]” (Reuters, 2019). This lack of commitment to reforming discriminatory anti-LGBT laws and dismissal of SGM populations is unfortunately common amongst government officials in the country; the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, said Swaziland would not extend human rights to LGBTI people, because they did not exist in the Kingdom (The Other Foundation, 2017).Despite what officials may believe, Eswatini has a lively activist culture; groups such as Eswatini Sexual and Gender Minorities (ESGM) and Rock of Hope Eswatini work to better the situation for SGM individuals in the country. It is through their advocacy and activism that the country held its first pride parade in 2018. We can only assume that it is also their work that made the large body of research into SGM populations in eSwatini possible. Eswatini also has the highest national HIV prevalence globally at 27%among 15-59 year olds (unicef, 2020), mostly due to “key gaps [which] still [exist] in design and delivery of effective high impact interventions at sufficient coverage,” rendering the work of organizations like ESGM and Rock of Hope requisite in controlling the epidemic.

Eswatini's Laws and Policies from ILGA World Report (2019)

Marriage for Same-Sex Couples
Civil Unions
Joint Adoption
Second Parent Adoption
Employment Nondiscrimination Laws
Broad Protections
Criminalization of Violence
Ban of Conversion Therapy
Consensual Same-Sex Acts are Legal?
Male Only
Max Penalty (Yrs in Prison)

Selected Published Studies, Reports, and Other Documents

Buseh, A. G., Glass, L. K., & McElmurry, B. J. (2002). CULTURAL AND GENDER ISSUES RELATED TO HIV/AIDS PREVENTION IN RURAL SWAZILAND: A FOCUS GROUP ANALYSIS. Health Care for Women International, 23(2), 173–184. doi:10.1080/073993302753429040

Müller, A., Daskilewicz, K. and the Southern and East African Research Collective on Health (2019). ‘Are we
doing alright? Realities of violence, mental health, and access to healthcare related to sexual orientation
and gender identity and expression in eSwatini: Research report based on a community-led study in nine
countries’. Amsterdam: COC Netherlands.

The Other Foundation (2017) canaries in the coal mines: An analysis of spaces for LGBTI activism in Swaziland.

H Logie, C., Perez-Brumer, A., Jenkinson, J., Madau, V., Nhlengethwa, W., & Baral, S. (2018). Marginalization and social change processes among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in Swaziland: implications for HIV prevention. AIDS care, 30(sup2), 33–40.

Kennedy, C. E., Baral, S. D., Fielding‐Miller, R., Adams, D., Dludlu, P., Sithole, B., ... & Kerrigan, D. (2013). “They are human beings, they are Swazi”: intersecting stigmas and the positive health, dignity and prevention needs of HIV‐positive men who have sex with men in Swaziland. Journal of the International AIDS Society16, 18749.

Logie, C. H., Dias, L. V., Jenkinson, J., Newman, P. A., MacKenzie, R. K., Mothopeng, T., ... Baral, S. D. (2019). Exploring the Potential of Participatory Theatre to Reduce Stigma and Promote Health Equity for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) People in Swaziland and Lesotho. Health Education & Behavior, 46(1), 146–156.

Logie C, Perez-Brumer A, Jenkinson J, et alO08.5Barriers and facilitators to engagement in the HIV prevention cascade among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in swazil and Sexually Transmitted Infections 2017;93:A19.

Lyons, C., Stahlman, S., Holland, C. et al. Stigma and outness about sexual behaviors among cisgender men who have sex with men and transgender women in Eswatini: a latent class analysis. BMC Infect Dis 19, 211 (2019).

Mak Joelle, Mayhew Susannah H., von Maercker Ariane, , Colombini Manuela (2016) Men’s use of sexual health and HIV services in Swaziland: a mixed methods study. Sexual Health 13, 265-274.


Howard, B. ‘All in this together’: Africans tolerant on ethnic, religious, national, but not sexual differences.