IS AFRICA HOMOPHOBIC
Anti-gay laws were introduced to Africa by Western colonialists. Now, as former colonisers recognise LGBT rights Africa is still stuck in the past, writes Val Kalende
Human Rights are not optional!
LGBT rights are human rights. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals are humans and are therefore entitled to ALL Human Rights; let no politician, religious leader or any bigot tell us otherwise. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rightly opined:
“When individuals are attacked, abused or imprisoned because of their sexual orientation, we must speak out. Where there is tension between cultural attitudes and universal human rights, universal human rights must come first. Personal disapproval, even society’s disapproval, is no excuse to arrest, detain, imprison, harass or torture anyone – ever”
Gender should not be a barrier to love or marriage. LGBT rights are Human rights and they are not optional.
What is particularly curious about the spate of anti-gay legislation proposed in Africa is its apparent disconnect from the ideals of purported African renewal. It is unexpected that a continent with such a history of oppression and subjugation should choose to ignore the rights of a minority. Such homophobia sits uncomfortably next to the ideals theoretically espoused by what the Economist newspaper recently deemed the rise of ‘the hopeful continent’. As revealed by the case of Proposition 8 in California, where voters themselves decided to ban gay marriage, the majority should never be given the opportunity to preside over the fate or rights of a minority. Which begs a controversial and perhaps even conspiratorial question: are African elites trying to distract their populations from more pressing issues, such as development, education, land redistribution and housing in their respective countries?
and any bill or law that actively discriminates against someone on the basis of their sexuality is wrong. On the whole, Africa is failing its gay citizens. Even South Africa, the only country on the continent to legalise gay marriage and constitutionally protect the right to freedom of sexual orientation; faces major challenges
- Who are the victims of same-sex consensual adult relationships?
- Are you or the society harmed by the consensual adult relationships of others?
- What do you hope to achieve by jailing the gays?
- Is prison a reform or cure center for homosexuality?
So those of us who believe in equal rights and justice for all will keep on fighting fr equal rights and justice, it does not matter whether we are a majority or minority because LGBT rights are human rights and that is the beauty of democracy.
international LGBT organization and who support LGBTs in countries where LGBT rights are criminalized. International solidarity is important because no country is an island unto itself. One way you can help is by talking about it and bringing it to the attention of your government. You can and also demand that your government act in ways that shows that they do not support criminalization of a minority.
One way they can do this is not issue visas or traveling documents to visiting government officials from countries that criminalize homosexuality. If a lawmaker voted in favour of criminalizing or putting gays in jail, you should put pressure on your government not to issue traveling document to such persons. Let it be clear that you do not want to associate with or open your borders to such persons. That will send a strong message to the lawmakers and the politicians that your country will not tolerate homophobia, will not tolerate human rights violations, and will not welcome dictators or human rights violators into your country. So it is important you stand with us because we know that this is one way our lawmakers do have to stand up and think twice before criminalizing sexual minorities. The Lawmakers are very fond of traveling abroad for shopping sprees, they travel out for every small headache because they can afford to have their health consultants outside the country. If you told them that they will not get traveling documents, because of their support of the violations of the rights of sexual minorities, they will think twice before passing such laws since it will have implication for them too.