Lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LBTI) people are marginalised in Tonga. Section 136 of the Criminal Offences Act criminalises sodomy with a penalty of up to ten years imprisonment. While this provision is termed in gender-neutral language, only male homosexuality seems to be generally acknowledged in Tonga. The offenders may also be whipped as a punishment if convicted. Transgender people have a violation of rights in Tonga; Section 81(5) of the Criminal Offences Act (1988) criminalises gender nonconformity. Tonga also prohibits “any male person” from “impersonat[ing] a female” while soliciting for an immoral purpose, prescribing a fine and up to one year in prison as punishment. There is no legal framework for the recognition of intersex rights.
Tonga is the only country in the Pacific that has not signed or expressed support for the 2011 Joint Statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity at the United Nations Human Rights Council.