LGBT Violence on Uprise in Africa
I have been less than prolific on El Castillo in the past few weeks. So, to my devoted reader, I say hello again.
I’ll be expanding on my absence in future posts, but suffice it to say that my schedule is getting back to normal and there should be more to fill your google reader or your inbox or whatever portal you use to read this blog.
On with the business of the day. I have been writing some on the treatment of gays in Africa, specifically with regards to what’s happening in Uganda. I will be writing alot more about this in the weeks to come.
There was more news today about violence directed at gay men in the west African country of Senegal. Madieye Diallo, a gay activist who had recently succumbed to AIDS and had been buried, was exhumed from his grave site not long after his funeral. His body was then mutilated and then dumped at the doorstep of his parents.
The event has driven some gay Senegalese into hiding.
‘I locked myself inside my room and didn’t come out for days,’ says a 31-year-old gay friend of Diallo’s who is ill with HIV, ‘I’m afraid of what will happen to me after I die. Will my parents be able to bury me?’
A wave of intense homophobia is washing across Africa, where homosexuality is already illegal in at least 37 countries.
In the last year alone, gay men have been arrested in Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. In Uganda, lawmakers are considering a bill that would sentence homosexuals to life in prison and include capital punishment for ‘repeat offenders.’ And in South Africa, the only country that recognizes gay rights, gangs have carried out so-called “corrective” rapes on lesbians.
Though it is officially illegal to be gay in Senegal, the country has long had a “clandestine gay community” and has generally been tolerated.
This wave of violence against LGBT people in Africa has spread across the continent and it has been helped along with support from various media outlets in that country that have made known their sympathy for draconian laws that outlaw homosexuality.
It is also due in no small part to the support of conservative American evangelicals who have taken their fight against gays and lesbians to Africa. For the leaders of this movement, they see Africa as the one place where they can make inroads with their message of hate and violence. Take, for example, their support for the Ugandan anti-gays bill that would imprison gay men and women as well those who associate with them. This involvement from American evangelicals has spurred recent actions from folks like Martin Ssempa and Ugandan legislator David Bahati, both of whom have done their fair share of fomenting a violent anti-gay fervor.
To be sure, what is happening in Africa has international repercussions. Still, there is a basic level of decency that all humans should be afforded, if no other time than in death. This alone should be enough to drive folks into action to help put an end to this kind of violence.
I’ll have more about what’s happening in Uganda in future posts.