Showing posts with label Homophobia in Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homophobia in Africa. Show all posts

January 26, 2019

Angola Decriminalized Sex Between Gay Men


Why Did Governments get the idea to go into someone's sex life and make it a crime or authorize it
                             



By Bukola Adebayo, CNN

Angola has decriminalized same-sex relationships, according to Human Rights Watch agency.

The agency also reported that the Angolan government had created new sets of laws that ban discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation.

Individuals who refuse people employment or services because of their sexual orientation could spend up to two years in jail under the new law.

Angola's parliament adopted a new penal code on January 23 for the first time since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975, paving the way for lawmakers to remove the provision characterizing same-sex relationships as "vices against nature," the rights agency said.
"In casting aside this archaic and insidious relic of the colonial past, Angola has eschewed discrimination and embraced equality," the Human Rights Watch said in a statement Thursday.
 
As Tanzania's LGBT fear for their lives, HIV will thrive
Angola joins the growing but few numbers of African countries that have decriminalized same-sex relationships.

Neighboring Mozambique removed anti-gay laws in 2015, while Sao Tome and Cape Verde have also abolished laws criminalizing gay relationships.

Despite the changes, LGBT people and communities still face prosecution and hatred in many African countries.
Nigerian police officer tells gays: Leave country or face prosecution
 
A Nigerian police officer tells gays: Leave country or face prosecution

A top Nigerian policewoman asked gay people living in the country to leave or face prosecution this week.

"If you're homosexually inclined, Nigeria is not a place for you," Dolapo Badmos, a Chief Superintendent wrote on her Instagram.
LGBT people risk a 14-year jail term in Nigeria, while anyone found guilty of being in a same-sex relationship faces a 30-year jail sentence in Tanzania.

March 23, 2018

Kenya Just Banned a 'No Merit Humiliating' Exam To See If You Are Gay






[NAIROBI]  Forcing men to undergo anal examinations just because they are suspected of being gay has been ruled illegal by a court in Kenya.
The decision has been celebrated by activists and human rights organizations, and could influence an upcoming ruling in a separate landmark case about LGBT rights in Kenya.
Forced anal exams as a means of determining a man’s sexuality are common practice in at least nine countries — seven of which are in Africa — despite being considered a degrading form of torture in international law and being found to have no medical merits by physicians. And while some have vowed to ban the exams, Kenya is the first country to have a documented case where judges have ruled against them.
Njeri Gateru, the head of legal affairs for Kenya’s National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, said in a statement sent to BuzzFeed News that the advocacy group is “thankful that the Appeal Court has put Kenyan citizens’ rights first. With this ruling, the judges are saying that we all deserve to be treated with dignity and afforded our basic rights, as enshrined in the Kenyan Constitution.”
Gateru added that the “humiliation and pain caused by these useless anal examinations will follow our clients for the rest of their lives. However, we are emboldened to see our constitution at work, ensuring that all Kenyans have the right to dignity.”
The decision was a reversal of an earlier ruling from 2016 on the legality of such exams, and whether or not they violated a person’s privacy. The case involved two young men identified by their initials in the petition as COL and GMN, who were arrested by police near a bar in Mombasa — on the coast of Kenya near the Indian Ocean — in February 2015 because they were thought to be gay.
While they were in custody, police searched their homes. They found a video of the TV show Queer as Folk, which a local judiciary considered sufficient evidence to suggest that the two were having sex with other men. The official then authorized a doctor to conduct the exams, and HIV and Hepatitis B tests. The men consented to the exams, but later argued in court that they had been coerced. They were ultimately charged with engaging in unnatural offenses, a reference to one of Kenya’s penal codes that prohibits “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.”
Human Rights Watch senior researcher Neela Ghoshal, who has interviewed both the men and the doctor who carried out their exams, told BuzzFeed News that the arrests were the result of an online pornography scandal that increased criminal profiling of LGBT people. Many people suspected that some of the men in the videos were from the area.
An attorney makes his argument in a packed courthouse during a hearing on the constitutionality of Kenya's penal codes.
Ben Curtis / AP Photo
An attorney makes his argument in a packed courthouse during a hearing on the constitutionality of Kenya's penal codes.
“There was a lot of pressure on police to do something about it and arrest someone,” she said. “Police had to prove that they were taking action. But rather than go after the Europeans who may have been behind it, they started arresting people they believed were gay or transgender.”
Backed by the commission, the two men petitioned the courts in November 2015, arguing that the state had violated their rights by forcing them to undergo humiliating tests simply because of their perceived sexuality. But on June 16, 2016, the court ruled against them on the grounds that they’d agreed to the tests. They appealed that decision, which was heard on Feb. 8 this year and decided on Thursday .
The ruling could influence an upcoming decision by Kenya’s High Court on the constitutionality of the nation’s penal codes, which petitioners argue are used to criminalize and justify violence against members of the LGBT community.
But Ghoshal said that it will be easier to determine whether or not the ruling on forced anal testing could be an indicator of a turning point for LGBT cases once the language of the judges’ decision has been released. (So far, only the decision has been publicized.)
“If it’s a more expansive ruling that says it looks like people were targeted because of their sexual orientation, that would be more helpful language,” she said. “If the language is more narrow, it might be of only limited help in the decriminalization case.”
An in-depth study on forced anal tests that Ghoshal published in 2016 found that Kenya, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkmenistan, Cameroon, Lebanon, Uganda, and Zambia all use anal examinations as a means of determining a man’s sexuality. More recent reports indicate that Tanzania now also conducts them. She noted that Egypt is by and large the worst perpetrator of the act; a BuzzFeed News report from 2015 found that the tests frequently accompany investigations of a man’s perceived sexuality, and that in two years, more than 150 men were arrested on charges of being gay.
Ghoshal also pointed out that Kenya’s case will likely serve as precedent for other African countries preparing to fight the act in court.
“In Uganda, activists are planning to file a case in the next couple months,” she said, “I’m sure this decision in Kenya will be an inspiration and motivation to them.”
Tamerra Griffin
Tamerra Griffin

Forced anal exams are still carried out in several countries despite being considered a degrading form of torture and having no medical merit.


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February 21, 2018

"Taboos" Breaks Just that in Africa Even With an Unfair Porno Classification




 The boys with painted faces and the 'teacher' This ceremony still goes on today Young initiate Kwanda (Ncoyini, left) "represents something extremely positive and for me," says Trengove. "There's a new generation of queer kids in South Africa that is exactly that: defiant, outspoken (and) spirited." CNN photo



South African regulators have classified a touching gay love story as R-rated, “effectively labeling the film as pornography and pulling it out of cinemas,” the film’s producers said.
Released Feb. 2 in South Africa, Inxeba attracted so much protest in some areas that cinemas pulled the film, fearing for the safety of their staff. Yet the film garnered praise on social media and received positive reviews, with some critics urging audiences to see it because of the public outcry.
Protestors contend the film mocks the isiXhosa custom of ulwaluko, the initiation that boys must undergo before becoming men. The secretive practice sees hundreds of young men sent “to the mountain” or “to the bush,” a term meant to describe the isolation of the process during which they also are circumcised.
Shot in isiXhosa on location in the rural Eastern Cape, the film followsKwanda, an openly gay young man who is sent to from the city to rural South Africa to attend traditional initiation school for Xhosa boys. In his ritual isolation from society, he is cared for by Xolani, a lonely factory worker who has not yet come out as gay. Kwanda’s questioning of traditional ideals of manhood upend the tradition he is participating in and threaten to expose Xolani’s secret.
The film’s scenes of the secretive initiation and its conversations around masculinity seem to have irked the more conservative sectors of South African society. Those opposed to the film object to what they say is cultural appropriation, while those supporting the film extol its expression of gay rights. The tenor of the debate illustrates the divide between South Africa’s liberal constitution and its sometimes conservative society.
The Film and Publications Board reclassified the film from 16LS to X18. Its decision for the stricter classification came after complaints from a branch of the Congress of Traditional Leaders and the Men and Boy Foundation (which seems to have no online presence or contact information).

             FPB
URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT:
The Film and Publication Board (FPB) Appeal Tribunal has overturned the classification rating of 16 LS given to the film Inxeba – The Wound and gave it a rating of X18 with the classifiable elements of Sex, Language, Nudity, Violence and Prejudice.
The classification means the film cannot be shown in commercial cinemas and “can only be distributed at designated adult premises”—the kind of conditions that hardcore pornography is distributed under in South Africa. The exact reasons for the reclassification are not clear, but the board is legally mandated to clarify its decision, the producers said in a statement sent to Quartz on Feb. 20. They plan to challenge the board’s decision.
“We are taking the matter very seriously and will not let it rest,” said Helen Kuun, head of Indigenous Film Distribution.
The film’s star, Nakhane Touré, received death threats long before the film’s release and has avoided interviews. A musician, novelist and actor who also happens to be a Xhosa man, Touré broke his silence on social media over the banning. Several human rights and free speech organizations lent their voices to the outcry over the classification, while some South Africans began online petitions to challenge the classification.
The film’s co-writer, Thando Mgqolozana has called the ruling “anti-creation and draconian.” Mgqolozana’s debut novel, A Man Who is Not A Man, also delved into the contradictions of this secretive cultural practice. The danger of maiming and death of initiates during circumcision or while they are exposed to the elements in isolation is a constant news item in South Africa. Mgqolozana worked with director John Trengrove to create a short film based on his semi-autobiographical novel before they worked together on Inxeba. 
 Those who oppose the film argue that it disrespects cultural norms by exposing some elements of the secretive ritual. Others argue that a white director and white producers had no right to tell this story, despite starring Xhosa men and being co-written by a Xhosa author.
“This movie Inxeba is an appropriation and complete distortion of black people’s cultural tradition of ulwaluko,” wrote the founders of the Facebook page ‘Inxeba The Wound Must Fall.’
“Some people who are not Xhosa men might say there is nothing wrong with the movie but as we Xhosa men we can see that they are mocking our tradition which was supposed to be kept as a secret,” said Shaun Mgecwa, who started the Facebook campaign to ban the film. Mgecwa told Quartz that the violence and strong language in the film casts a negative shadow on a process that is meant to teach men how to be the head of a household and how to behave respectfully in society.
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March 22, 2017

Jailing of Gay Ivorian Men Brings Fear in an LGBT Safe Heaven






Relaxing on the terrace of a gay bar in Ivory Coast's commercial capital Abidjan, a group of men embraced and laughed as people walked past without even glancing their way.

Inside the bar, a young man caressed his companion's chin in the corner, while a transgender woman greeted everyone before strutting and shaking to the music under the strobe lights.

"Some of the guys who come here don't feel comfortable displaying their sexuality outside of these walls," 34-year-old Michel, the owner of Sass Bar, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Abidjan.

"Others are just fine being themselves in their neighborhoods," he added, his voice barely eclipsing the music.

The bar is one of many gay venues in Abidjan, a relatively tolerant city for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in a region where homosexuality is mostly illegal, and sexual minorities face persecution, discrimination and violence.

Ivory Coast is one of a minority of African countries - around 20 of the 54 nations on the continent - which do not explicitly criminalize homosexuality or same-sex acts.

Yet the recent jailing of two gay men for three months - under a public indecency law that carries a harsher prison sentence for "an indecent or unnatural act with a person of the same sex" - has sent shivers through the LGBTI community.

Yann, 31, and Abdoul, 19, were arrested in the southwestern city of San Pedro in October after rumors spread about the nature of their relationship, leading Abdoul's uncle to file a police complaint as he believed Yann was abusing his nephew.

Rights activists say Ministry of Justice officials are considering changing the public indecency law so that it no longer singles out homosexual acts or relations.

However much more needs to be done to change Ivorians' attitudes - with some still suspicious of or hostile toward sexual minorities, campaigners say.

While Yann and Abdoul were released from prison in January many freedoms still elude the men, who are now openly a couple.

"When you look or a job, they ask for your police record ... and mine is already tainted," said Yann, who worked as a security guard before his arrest.

SAFE HAVEN?

Home to gay bars, gay rights groups, and even an annual cross-dressing beauty pageant, Abidjan is considered a refuge for LGBTI people, both within the country and across the region.

For Yann and Abdoul, who plan to move there soon, the city offers their best hope of having a normal life as a gay couple.

"At least it (Abidjan) is a big city," Abdoul said. "They don't consider [being gay] a big deal there."

Despite its tolerant reputation, sexual minorities and even LGBTI organizations in Abidjan are prey to abuse, harassment and violence, with little legal protection, several activists said.

In 2014, a mob of nearly 200 people ransacked and looted the headquarters of Alternative Cote d'Ivoire (ACI) - a prominent gay rights group in Abidjan - after days of anti-gay protests.

Last year, several gay men were abused, beaten, and forced to flee their homes after the U.S. embassy in Abidjan posted a photo of them at an event for victims of a nightclub shooting in Florida and identified them as members of the "LGBTI community".

"Most people are reluctant to publicly display their sexuality exactly because of the difficulties associated with the daily lives of [LGBTI] persons," said Alexis Ouattara, president of the civil society group Lesbian Life Association.

Such abuse and violence may be stoked by sensationalist and demeaning media coverage, an ACI official said, citing the example of a newspaper misrepresenting a gay rights group as promoting homosexuality, and using photos of LGBTI activists.

To counter this, the ACI runs a program to raise awareness among Ivorian journalists about the lives of LGBTI people.

The goal is to ensure journalists understand that the LGBTI community suffers widespread discrimination, said the ACI activist, who fearing for his safety, did not wish to be named.

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"When they (the media) understand this, there will be a certain tolerance," he added.

FIRST LAW, THEN ATTITUDES

A justice ministry official in the department in charge of legislation declined to comment on the proposed change to Ivory Coast's penal code.

But approval of the legal revision from government bodies could take several months, said observers including Wodjo Fini Traore, vice president of National Human Rights Commission of Ivory Coast, an independent body established by the state.

While the change would come too late to help the two jailed men, activists say it will strip law enforcement and justice officials of a tool of discrimination that can ruin lives.

"Everyone agrees that the situation (surrounding the law) has been marked by multiple cases of human rights violations, specifically on the basis of sexual orientation," said Traore.

Even if and when the law is revised, there still remains the much more ingrained challenge of improving Ivorian attitudes toward LGBTI people in a conservative society, Traore said.

"The behavior of the population is still what it is," he said. More education is needed for the public to accept open displays of affection by same-sex couples, Traore added.

For Yann and Abdoul - marked as criminals and shunned by their community at home - acceptance is a major concern as they consider how to rebuild their lives in Abidjan.

“We have one foot in prison, and one foot in freedom," Yann said.

ABIDJAN (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - 
(Reporting by Sean Lyngaas, Editing by Kieran Guilbert and Katie Nguyen.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)

February 19, 2017

Tanzania Blows a Fuse over Selling of Gay Sex~Will Publish List





Tanzania announced plans on Saturday to publish a list of gay people allegedly selling sex online. This comes just days after the government shut down dozens of AIDS clinics accused of promoting homosexuality.

Deputy Health Minister Hamisi Kigwangalla wrote on Twitter that his government was investigating “the homosexuality syndicate" and would arrest and prosecute those involved in the gay sex business.
  "I will publish a list of gay people selling their bodies online," Kigwangalla wrote. "Those who think this campaign is a joke, are wrong. The government has long arms and it will quietly arrest all those involved. Once arrested, they will help us find others."
Under the Tanzanian penal code, sex between two males is highly punishable, ranging from 30 years to life imprisonment. There is, however, no such ban on lesbian relations.
Compared to its neighbor Uganda, Tanzanian politicians had not been focusing much on the gay community, until the recent increase of anti-gay rhetoric by the government.
Men suspected of being gay have been detained and taken to the hospitals for an anal test to find out if they are homosexuals. On Thursday, the government announced it was stopping many private health centers from providing AIDS-related services, accusing them of providing services to homosexuals.
 "We have suspended the provision of HIV and AIDS services at at least 40 drop-in centers operated by NGOs countrywide, after it was established that the centers were promoting homosexuality, which is against Tanzania's laws," Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said in a press conference.
Last year, Mwalimu said it was estimated that 23 percent of men who have sex with men in Tanzania were living with HIV/AIDS. 
abj,cl (AFP/AP)  

June 30, 2016

Gay Men Chased from Their Homes After Signing Memorial Book on Orlando Victims


   
  

                                                                                         
Image result for ivory coast gay men
  

Signing condolences to
the family of victims of the Orlando Massacre above.
      U.S. EMBASSY IN COTE D'IVOIRE

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast -- Gay men in Ivory Coast say they've been assaulted and forced to flee their homes after the U.S. Embassy published a photo of them signing a condolence book for victims of this month’s/// killings at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
The photo, published on the embassy's website, shows the faces of six men with the caption "LGBTI community signing the condolence book." It was taken at the embassy on June 16, the same day Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan and other officials signed the book in honor of the 49 people killed in the Orlando attack.

The photo has been widely shared on social media and two of the men said that in the days after it was published an angry mob punched and kicked them while shouting anti-gay slurs. The men spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity for their safety.

Four of the six men, including the two attacked, said they have fled their homes under pressure from family and friends who had been unaware of their sexual orientation.
The men said they were not contacted before the photo was published. However the U.S. embassy did contact the heads of three Ivory Coast organizations that advocate for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, according to press officer Elizabeth Ategou. Those activists gave their approval, but they were not in the photo or at the embassy event.

Ategou said the embassy "deeply regrets that any individuals were attacked based on any kind of orientation they might have." She said the embassy was in contact with the men and encouraged them to report the attacks to police.

The head of one gay rights group who approved the photo, and who also insisted on anonymity for his safety, said he would not have approved it had he known those pictured would be identified so explicitly as members of the "LGBTI community."
The photo remained on the embassy's website Wednesday. Ategou said the embassy had received no requests to take it down.

Same-sex relations are not a crime in Ivory Coast, but there are no legal protections for sexual minorities. In January 2014, a mob ransacked the Abidjan headquarters of the country’s most prominent gay rights organization.

The U.S. Embassy in Abidjan has strengthened ties with the country’s LGBT activists following an Obama administration memorandum in 2011 that empowered "all agencies engaged abroad" to promote and protect the human rights of sexual minorities.


cbsnews.com

August 22, 2015

7 menJailed in Senegal after being found guilty of ‘Homosexuality’



 
A court in Dakar heard police caught the men having sex during a raid. The mother of one of the accused told the authorities her son was gay, but she failed to show up as a prosecution witness at the trial.Homosexuality is banned in the west African country. It is punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to $2,500 (£1,500). Defence lawyer, Abdoul Daff, said the mother's failure to appear in court should have caused the case to collapse. "There was neither material evidence nor testimony in order to corroborate the claims," he added."So, we take note of this and we will see what to do next." Where is it illegal to be gay?Senegal's population is more than 95% Muslim, and people in same-sex relationships are often forced to hide their sexuality.
Gay rights activist Djamil Bangoura from the group Prudence said he was disappointed by the verdict. 
"It is such a pity to see these Senegalese men condemned in front of everyone just because they are gay," he added. 
During a recent trip to Kenya, US President Barack Obama called on African nations to ensure gay men and women are treated equally. 
Homosexuality is illegal in 38 countries on the continent and is punishable by death in Sudan, Mauritania, Somalia and northern Nigeria.
BBC.com

May 22, 2015

Pres.Obama Sends Gay Envoy to Homophobic Uganda through Homophobic Jamaica




Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
 submitted on buzzfeed.com the following story about this welcome decision by President Obama. Imagine sending a gay emboy to make the case to one of the most homophobes countries in the World.
 The U.S. State Department’s newly-appointed special envoy for LGBT rights, Randy Berry, is planning a visit to Uganda in July, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
The State Department could not immediately provide further details of the trip or what Berry hoped to accomplish in a visit to the country at the center of one of the longest running international confrontations over LGBT rights. Ugandan and American LGBT activists have previously criticized the U.S. response to the passage of a sweeping anti-LGBT law in 2014 for being slow and sending missed messages, but the law was struck down in August of that year. Attempts to restore the law have so far failed to gain traction in the face of apparent opposition from President Yoweri Museveni.
Berry, who was selected for the post in February and began work in April, will first be doing swings through Latin America and Europe in the coming weeks, said the State Department spokesperson. Berry told attendees at an event at the Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday that he planned to visit more than 15 countries in the next month, according to a source in the room. 
On Tuesday, the State Department announced that Berry will fly to Jamaica on Thursday, which has some of the highest rates of anti-LGBT violence in the region.

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