Police in Senegal Release Men Jailed for ‘Gay Wedding’

Several men who were arrested and jailed in connection with a “gay wedding” after photos were published in Icone magazine by its editor, Mansour Dieng, have been released, according to the BBC.

Senegal_2I posted about the arrests on Monday. Dieng reportedly published the photos to lend credibility to a prior article on homosexuality in the west African, predominantly Muslim country.

The number of men arrested is unclear, but the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) reported that the number may have been as high as 20, which also reported “The wedding is believed to have taken place in a discrete location in Dakar more than a year-and-a-half ago. Sources report that the photographs were sold to the sensationalist magazine by the photographer for 1,500,000 ($3000) CFA francs. The arrests were reportedly undertaken upon the orders of Mr. Asane Ndoye, head of the Senegalese Police’s Division of Criminal Investigation.”

Senegal ‘gay wedding’ men freed [bbc]

Arrests in Senegal over ‘Gay Wedding’, Publication of Photos [tr]


  1. says

    Yeah,I saw the article on bbconline (I didn’t know there was a post about this here)and you know what the sad part is?
    Sénégal, like most other third world countries(with maybe the exception of fundamentalist islamic countries,Morrocco and Tunisia aside)have rich and powerful “openly” gay men, and by openly I mean, they have sex with other men and the public knows but due to their social status, no one can touch them. The average joe on the other hand,risks being imprisoned or worse. I really don’t know how long this nonsense will need to go on before the western governments start taking action and *really* pressure these governments to protect their citizens from all types of discrimination. *SIGHS*

  2. Derrick from Philly says

    Thanks for your insight on the subject, Shabaka. And isn’t this another case of a country using “Western Gay Culture” for what’s been a part of their culture(s) forever. Why would the idea of “gay marriage” even be an issue in Senegal if they hadn’t heard about the controversy over here in the US & Europe. Yes, some ceremony may have occured, but it’s news from the West which these governments, and government controlled news media are using to ignite anti-gay sentiment. Some say it’s a case of these governments trying to distract the people away from real problems (corruption, financial mismanagement) with foolishness. Unfortunately, gay people are paying with their lives–from Iran, to Latvia, to Saudi Arabia to Senegal.

  3. says

    Yes Derrick! These corrupt governments feel pressured to attend to the needs of their people and since they can’t deliver, SGL’s are turned into scapegoats. My cousin spent one summer in Dakar and he said that there’s a fierce underground gay life down there. Sad fact but that’s how it is. And they’ve got fine men too! **DEEP SIGHS**

  4. pablo says

    I lived there for a years and really liked the place. Their government is one of the best/most democratic and stable in Africa. Most of the people that i encountered had a live and let live mentality-as long as you were fulfilling your obligations to society(which include having a family)whatever else you did was your business. I’m not sure but i believe that the “crimes against nature laws” are left over from their colonial days.

  5. Andrew says

    Well, at least there are some comments that go beyond bashing “other” societies for weaknesses that characterize our own as well! I’ve spent 40 yrs in andout of Senegal and would make these points:
    a) repression of “gays” is no worse in countries iwth majority Moslem populations than Christian – just look at Africa for the proof (Uganda, Zimbabawe, Kenya, Cameroun, Nigeria – all where the Christians take the lead in public hatred of gays).
    b) MSM (“men who have sex with men” – the official UN term) is different from “gay” in these countries: the former is the reality and generally tolerated (especially in predominantly moslem countries) and the latter is a Western political movement that is what is featured in the media and rejected;
    c) the arrests in Senegal are unusual and have little to do with any laws on the books (from the colonial period, as someone pointed out). The motives for the arrests could be any of the following:
    1) money – $3,000 is a lot of money — a lot! 2) death threats – if Dieng told the police his life was in danger, and named names, they had to respond — Senegal is a very peaceful country with one of the lowest murder rates anywhere; 3) Dieng might have invented the death threat to promote the controversy (and sell newspapers), but the police would still be obliged to act; 4) the govt doesn’t gain anything by this mess – because they now wil appear to the citizenry as caving in to int’l pressure by releasing the guys.
    I’ve read most of the press in French and this is my conclusion. Senegalese decision-makers and intellectuals are very sensitive about int’l opinion and believe (wiht some justification) that their society is more tolerant than most, and note that for many years they have received refugees from all over Africa with little resistence (unlike the US, for example, or Germany).
    Although I support the int’l pressure on Senegal to release those arrested, we need to be careful how we judge the entire affair. And wait for more information.

  6. says

    cheers, Andrew! I second all of that and add – what is this stuff about Western countries needing to pressure other people into gay liberation? Do we think that gay people elsewhere don’t have the rights and abilities to make their own moves? (Beyond the obvious fact that we are in many ways worse off here!) Post-colonialist attempts to “save” other countries from homophobia are wildly unlikely to happen and would just be harmful to the communities there that need to fight their own fights. The queer communities in the US wouldn’t be as strong as they are today if someone had come in a few decades ago and said “Okay, all oppression must stop now!” The political fight we started for ourselves was what built our sense of community and drove us to keep asking for more and more. People in other cultures and other countries have a much better idea of what they want, what they need, and how to get it from their own societies and governments than we do.

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