The internet and streaming platforms have made it much easier to distribute and view LGBTQ movies. Unfortunately, there remains a lot of pushback with countries banning these movies as much as possible. Knowing which countries prohibit these movies and how you might get around those restrictions is essential.
Some countries known for banning LGBTQ movies from streaming include Saudi Arabia, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Kenya, among others. Most justify their bans as protecting local cultural and religious beliefs, while others are also politically motivated. You can find workarounds to view banned movies but always stay on the right side of the laws if you choose to use them.
In this article, you’ll discover why and how some countries ban LGBTQ movies from streaming. You’ll also learn why they do that and how you might get around the bans to view those movies regardless.
Why Are Some Movies Banned On Streaming Platforms?
Banning movies is just one form of censorship that occurs on streaming platforms. Despite how people assume these platforms are open and accessible, the reality is that they have to follow specific rules to operate in different markets worldwide.
Censorship is the larger issue here, and banning movies isn’t as straightforward as people think.
For example, a country might only ban uncensored movie versions and demand heavy edits before they can be allowed on streaming platforms. That could be to filter out images they consider to be inappropriate, like kissing or sex scenes between LGBTQ partners.
However, countries known for online censorship might ban a movie entirely if they feel the storyline promotes LGBTQ values. That can happen even if there are no sex scenes in the film.
Also, it’s important to remember that if an LGBTQ movie is banned on a streaming platform, it’s not always because the country’s government ordered it.
Instead, some platforms proactively self-censor to avoid problems with the local government. Some platforms will engage in this sort of practice to prevent controversy they foresee happening.
Which Countries Ban LGBTQ Movie Streaming?
Here are 5 examples of countries that ban LGBTQ movies on streaming platforms:
1. Saudi Arabia
The first country on this list that bans LGBTQ movie streaming is Saudi Arabia. Along with several of its neighbors in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is known to force streaming platforms to remove LGBTQ movies.
The reasoning given by the country is that these kinds of movies violate its religious and cultural values. As a result, popular streaming services like Netflix violate local regulations by allowing LGBTQ movies to be available through their online libraries.
It’s important to understand that banning LGBTQ movies on streaming platforms is just one of many examples of censorship in this particular country.
Cinematic releases of some movies, like the animated Disney film “Lightyear”, have also come under fire for showing same-sex relationships on-screen.
Evidently, Saudi Arabia applies the same kind of censorship to movies on-screen as they do online through streaming platforms.
China is another country that’s infamous for all kinds of online censorship, including the streaming of LGBTQ movies.
In this area, China is known for maintaining ‘The Great Firewall’, preventing its citizens from accessing foreign websites. That’s done to protect its cultural values from supposedly being polluted by negative values from overseas.
On top of that, the country also has strict guidelines on what can and can’t be shown in movies. Even things that are considered normal anywhere else, like scenes depicting smoking and drinking, are also considered inappropriate.
That’s why it’s no surprise that their censorship also covers any depiction of gay couples on screen, whether that’s on television, on streaming platforms, or anywhere else.
Sometimes, the banning of LGBTQ movie streaming isn’t so straightforward. Malaysia, a Southeast Asian nation, is a perfect example of that.
The country has strict regulations against depicting anything on screen to do with LGBTQ characters or lifestyles. As such, gay characters are banned outright in movies and television shows.
Like the other countries on this list, Malaysia has even banned foreign movies that show same-sex couples on-screen, like the animated film “Lightyear” mentioned earlier.
However, there is a gray area when streaming LGBTQ movies. While local streaming platforms are forbidden from streaming those kinds of movies, international ones like Netflix are beyond the reach of local rules and regulations.
That means you can find some LGBTQ movies streaming on Netflix in Malaysia.
Still, these international platforms are under pressure from the Malaysian government to make those titles unavailable to local consumers.
It would be unsurprising if local rules and regulations were applied to international streaming platforms someday or if those platforms chose to self-regulate and make LGBTQ movies unavailable in the country.
Not too far away from Malaysia is Indonesia, which also has a negative stance against LGBTQ culture overall. This country is a perfect example of how banning LGBTQ content online isn’t as clear-cut or straightforward as one might think.
For starters, local providers are forbidden from broadcasting or streaming any LGBTQ movies. That applies across the board within the country’s borders.
But like in Malaysia, international streaming platforms aren’t forced to comply with local rules and regulations in Indonesia. As a result, these platforms could show LGBTQ movies if they wanted to.
Despite that, Netflix has been blocked by local internet service providers (ISPs) in the past for showing ‘inappropriate’ content, including LGBTQ movies. As a result, local consumers couldn’t access the platform through those ISPs, making it difficult for Netflix to grow in the country.
The bottom line is this: LGBTQ movies are banned from being streamed in Indonesia, but enforcing that ban is difficult when it comes to international streaming platforms.
Over in Africa, Kenya is one country that bans LGBTQ movie streaming outright. That means it’s illegal for these kinds of movies to appear through local broadcasters and streamers.
Meanwhile, the country continues to communicate closely with international streaming platforms like Netflix to ensure that LGBTQ content doesn’t appear for local users.
It should be noted that Kenya has a much stricter stance against the LGBTQ community as a whole. Not only do they have laws banning LGBTQ movies, but even relationships are outlawed in this country.
Why Do These Countries Ban LGBTQ Movie Streaming?
Sadly, there remains a long list of countries that ban LGBTQ movies on streaming platforms. While they share overlapping reasons, each country’s primary motivations for doing so differ slightly.
Here are reasons why countries ban LGBTQ movie streaming:
- Lacking understanding: Some countries prohibit LGBTQ movies from streaming due to a lack of understanding. Unfortunately, these countries have a long way to go to understand the importance of LGBTQ culture and its representation in popular media.
- Local laws: Some countries also have strict anti-LGBTQ laws that do not allow any kind of representation in movies. These laws apply to TV broadcasting, streaming platforms, or both.
- Cultural and religious beliefs: A common reason for banning these movies is that they supposedly clash with cultural and religious beliefs. Whether or not that’s true, local officials leverage that reason to gain support for their decision to ban those movies.
- Political ideologies: There’s no denying that some countries are driven to ban LGBTQ movies on streaming platforms by the political ideologies of the decision-makers.
- Social backlash: Lastly, a common reason for banning these movies is to prevent ‘social backlash’. Sometimes, locals might react negatively to LGBTQ movies being allowed to stream. However, it’s sometimes used as an excuse even in countries where the LGBTQ community is accepted on a social level, albeit not at a governmental level.
Countries that ban LGBTQ movies from streaming might provide one or more of the justifications above. Regardless, it shows there is still a long way to go before these kinds of movies are universally accepted.
How Do You Watch Movies That Are Banned From Streaming?
Despite being banned from streaming services and other forms of broadcasting, there are still ways people can view LGBTQ movies. Still, you must always stay on the right side of the law to keep yourself safe if you decide to use one or more of these approaches.
Here are some ways you can watch movies that are banned from streaming platforms:
International Streaming Services
As you read earlier, many countries cannot enforce movie bans on international streaming services. Those services are based overseas, where local laws do not apply.
Depending on where you are, you might be able to view the banned movies you want to see by subscribing to international streaming platforms.
Again, staying on the right side of the law is essential. Do not do this if it violates local laws and could land you in trouble.
Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
Another possible approach is to use a virtual private network (VPN). These services allow you to access streaming services as if you were from another country.
That means you can access movies on the platform banned in your country but available elsewhere.
VPNs are allowed in many parts of the world but can land you in trouble, depending on where you’re from.
For example, using a VPN in China that’s not approved by the government is illegal and should be avoided at all costs.
Live Screenings And Movie Festivals
Sometimes, you might be lucky enough to find the movie you’re looking for at a live screening, even if it’s banned online.
The tradeoff is that live screenings are often limited, so catching one could be tricky.
For example, small-scale movie festivals might screen a movie banned on streaming platforms.
Contact Movie Producers
You can also contact the people who produced the movie you want to watch. They’ll be interested in helping more people see the movie they made. So, they might be able to tell you where it’s available.
Streaming platforms have done wonders for making LGBTQ movies available to the masses. Unfortunately, governments worldwide are still trying to crack down on those movies by banning them for local viewers.
Still, you can find many different ways to view them, like subscribing to international streaming platforms or using a VPN. Remember to stay on the right side of the law to keep yourself safe.
- What Countries Are LGBTQ Movies Banned From Streaming? - December 7, 2023
- Which Streaming Service Has The Most LGBTQ Movies? - December 7, 2023
- Does Hulu Have Gay Movies? - December 7, 2023