Ever since independence from England in 1961 (since 1808) the Sierra Leone government and society have preferred to deny the existence of lesbians and gay men. But since the turn of the 21st century African homosexuality has become a flashpoint of conflict between old biblical/koranic colonial ideas and progressive human rights activism. Sierra Leone is no exception and today male same-sex sexual activity is illegal with possible life imprisonment as punishment. Social attitudes are hostile to homosexuality and cross-dressing because of religious beliefs. Most citizens subscribe to Christian or Muslim traditional gender roles and are expected to abstain from sexual activity outside of a traditional marriage.
Nevertheless, in 2011, the first major study was conducted regarding homosexuality: