About 37 of the 53 mostly former British colonies still have colonial era laws which criminalise lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identities with same sex sexual activity punishable by life imprisonment in nine of those countries.
The premier raised discriminatory legislation affecting same-sex couples, women and girls, in an address to Commonwealth leaders in London.
"I am all too aware that these laws were often put in place by my own country. As the U.K.'s prime minister, I deeply regret both the fact that such laws were introduced and the legacy of discrimination, violence and even death that persists today".
"The UK stands ready to support any Commonwealth nation wanting to reform outdated legislation that makes such discrimination possible". "They were wrong then, and they are wrong now", she said.
Sports stars such as Tom Daley have also called for the Commonwealth to do more to decriminalise homosexuality in countries where it remains illegal.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in July, 2015, while on a Visit to the United States of America, categorically ruled out any chance of Nigerian being pressured by the America into legalizing homosexuality in the country.
Laws "were wrong then and are wrong now", said May, recognizing Britain's central role in enforcing anti-gay attitudes that still plague people across the continent to this day. "We have a responsibility to ensure that every LGBT+ person in the Commonwealth is afforded the equality and civil rights they deserve, particularly when so many of their diaspora now call London their home", she said.
Former president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill (SSMPA) into law in January 2014.
There is a global trend towards decriminalising homosexual acts, but some countries, like Nigeria and Uganda, have imposed stricter laws.