Discrimination | South Africa | Uganda

Report: Attacks On Gays In Africa On The Rise

The Washington Post has published an article today on the recent increase in anti-gay sentiments and horrific violent crimes against gays and lesbians all across Africa.

Africa "'It has never been harder for gays and lesbians on the continent,' said Monica Mbaru, Africa coordinator for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, based in Cape Town. 'Homophobia is on the rise.'"

So what's the reason for the increase?

"The growing tide of homophobia comes at a time when gays in Africa are expressing themselves more openly, prompting greater media attention and debates about homosexuality. The rapid growth of Islam and evangelical forms of Christianity, both espousing conservative views on family values and marriage, have persuaded many Africans that homosexuality should not be tolerated in their societies."

American gay rights advocates are helping one side but American anti-gay Christians are helping the other, especially when it comes to Uganda's "kill the gays" bill:

"American gay activists have sent money to help the community here. Western governments - including aid donors - have vocally criticized the bill and denounced the treatment of gays. That has angered conservative pastors here, many of whom are influenced by American anti-gay Christian groups and politicians who say that African values are under attack by Western attitudes. They say their goal is to change the sexual behavior of gays, not to physically harm them."

"'In Uganda, we look at homosexuality as an abomination. It is not normal,' said Nsaba Butoro, Uganda's minister on ethics and integrity and a vocal supporter of the bill. 'You are talking about a clash of cultures. The question is: Which culture is superior, the African one or the Western one?'"

An update on the African tabloid named Rolling Stone which published the names and addresses and called for the hanging of people it claimed are gay: Gay rights activists "have taken Rolling Stone to court, seeking to stop it from publishing more anti-gay articles. In a packed courtroom last month, their attorney argued that the stories violated constitutional rights of privacy, dignity and right to life."

As the piece points out, homosexuality is illegal in more two-thirds of African. As a refresher, check out how these laws appear on a map of the continent, AFTER THE JUMP.

(The image above accompanies the Post article and is that of a Ugandan man who is seeking asylum in the United States)


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  1. Shouldn't I find it ironic that only South Africa recognizes same sex marriage on the entire continent?

    I have been to Zimbabwe. During a safari, cruising on the Zambizi River in a flat bottomed boat, the guide asked me if I was married (I was traveling with a straight couple I know). I answered 'no'. Did I have any children? 'No.' There was less conversation with me after that exchange...

    He definitely had his suspicions about me after that part. Luckily it was on the second on three days in that camp and we weren't with him the entire 9 days of the safari. I knew that Zimbabwe was oppressive, but I had no idea it was so widespread on the continent.

    Posted by: princely54 | Dec 12, 2010 10:03:08 AM

  2. "The question is: Which culture is superior, the African one or the Western one?'"

    Obviously the western one since they are taking ideas of American evangelicalism and inserting them into law in order to prosecute and kill people.

    To frame this as a west for africa conflict is ridiculous, since it is so obvious that American evangelicals have exported their brand of hatred around the world.

    Posted by: Joe | Dec 12, 2010 10:39:14 AM

  3. And the evangelicals in this country get tax breaks to export hatred? What a deal!

    Posted by: mad1026 | Dec 12, 2010 10:59:07 AM

  4. This is so disheartening. The wingnuts are losing the battle in the US, so they are exporting their hate to Africa. They are truly evil.

    Posted by: Mike | Dec 12, 2010 11:00:02 AM

  5. TAX THE CHURCH!!!!!!!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 12, 2010 11:14:56 AM

  6. The Obama administration should put those American kill-the gays pastors from Uganda and the United States on a restricted travel list, where Scott Lively can not visit Uganda and the pastors from Uganda can not visit the United States.

    Posted by: Matt Munson | Dec 12, 2010 1:10:58 PM

  7. Why is it whenever something about Africa and homophobia, brutal persecution of gays comes up, almost every post PREDICTABLY drones on and on about 'religion', evil 'western' Christianity being primarily to blame? It's become a tired cliche. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say even if there were no 'Christians or Muslims in Africa, it would still not be a gay friendly and gender equality kind of place.

    As for S.A.:

    Modern, post-apartheid S.A. is a creation of and heavily influenced by 'western' liberal, leftwing institutions and ideology. Basically, the S.A. government says the 'correct' things, enacts the 'correct' laws, and they get rewarded with recognition and $.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Dec 12, 2010 1:57:07 PM

  8. Thank you Tank for that racist analysis (as if "race" means any goddamned thing).

    And please don't respond to me.

    (and by your measure, than the Asian continent should be a gay paradise)

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Dec 12, 2010 3:47:18 PM

  9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Philippe_Rushton#Opinions_on_Rushton_and_his_work


    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/06/stephen_jay_gould_and_the_poli.php (search for Rushton)

    Posted by: Blub | Dec 12, 2010 6:26:48 PM

  10. Thanks to the commenter who alerted us to the racist trolling going on here. We depend on you to alert us when this is happening and we will delete comments and ban commenters who misuse this forum, write off-topic, or use hateful language.

    In the past week or so we've blocked certain language that is inappropriate and typically used to incite flame wars in these threads. We hope that it helps make these comment threads a more welcoming place for everyone.

    Please continue to alert us of misuse of comment threads. Thank you for participating. Please try to keep discussion civil and on-topic. Thanks.

    Posted by: Andy Towle | Dec 12, 2010 7:09:16 PM

  11. Enough with blaming Western religions.

    Note that African homophobia is dividing the Anglican communion. In the US, the Episcopal church is very progressive. Meanwhile in Africa, Anglican churches are very conservative, to the point where the church might split in two over policy towards gays. The ordination of a gay bishop in NH was the catalyst.

    I'm just so tired of supposedly open minded liberals trying to blame the US for everything. It's like they are programmed to hate the US, without being truthful about problems in other cultures.

    Posted by: James | Dec 12, 2010 7:24:21 PM

  12. There are homosexual and homo/lesbian relationships in traditional religions of Africa. One of least known is "women marriages" similar to the greek system of Athens. There are also gay religious leaders similar to S. Pacific. All of this is "embrassing" for those in Aftica trying to crush a minority to support their own power-same story...

    Posted by: miami | Dec 12, 2010 9:12:15 PM

  13. The female marriages are in E afica. There is a movie on the film festival circuit trying to bring attention to this in Africa. But all of this is overshadowed by the "jesus" movie shown to the village poor throughout Aftica by American religious nuts. Heard about that look it up. It what your feed the poor in Africa donations go towards...

    Posted by: miami | Dec 12, 2010 9:15:33 PM

  14. The problem here is that why even bring this issue up?

    Every time somebody calls out the homophobia of certain people, we are called "racists."

    Even Peter Tatchell, a respectable gay liberal, was labeled a "racist" by Rastafarian apologists because he rightly called out the homophobia of reggae artists.

    Now homophobia is hiding behind the race card. Which means that now we cannot attack it and address it anymore without being labeled "racists."

    Posted by: pepa | Dec 12, 2010 9:25:17 PM

  15. BS, PEPA.

    You could still address it in a non-racist way.

    And don't compare yourself with Peter Tatchell. He was accused of racism, but unlike some people her wasn't actually racist. If you can't distinguish that, you have a serious problem.

    Posted by: Blub | Dec 12, 2010 9:52:34 PM

  16. Corruption, bigotry, and genocide are hallmarks of many countries in Africa. The media has focused on the persecution of gays and lesbians in Uganda. But it is important to keep in mind that governments throughout the region are victimizing other groups. Human Rights Watch has done an excellent job in describing acts of violence and discrimination that are taking place against women, refugees, and the disabled in a number of African countries. The International Criminal Court, which started in 2002, has open cases against 16 individuals for crimes in northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and Darfur. Certainly more needs to be done, and the court has an uphill job given the magnitude of abuses that are occurring.

    The United States and the rest of the global community can influence African politics through debt reduction and aid packages that are tied to specific human rights measures. But ultimately those living in the region must demand and hold government accountable for the violation of human rights. Such a change will likely take years, which is unfortunate for the victims of oppressive regimes.

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 12, 2010 10:20:49 PM

  17. @ Ratbastard, You must be a world traveler, or a google hound! But thanks for the input.

    Also @ Andy I seen what you wrote about the pic. That is Bishop Carlton Pearson who is a Gay accepting Pastor.

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 12, 2010 10:34:43 PM

  18. Prejudice people always try to use logic in justifying descrimination against people.

    Posted by: Mel Smith | Dec 12, 2010 11:42:06 PM

  19. All the foreigners who helped spread the homophobia in Africa should be charged with international crimes against humanity.

    Posted by: Mel Smith | Dec 12, 2010 11:52:02 PM

  20. Africa puts a huge strain around us. No good contribution to the free world, corruption to the point of insanity, fighter mentality, homophobia ingrained in and beyond it, it's politically incorrect to call much of Africa out for what it's leaders are. Corrupt, militant, crazies who are a huge threat to the world. That whole part of the world creates far more problems than a single helpful solution to the rest of the world it shares this gorgeous planet with.

    Posted by: Daddolfe | Dec 13, 2010 5:26:02 AM

  21. Since these sleaseball so called christians are losing ground here with their hate speech in the western world, they must feel that they have to go somewhere where the folks are not as well educated to spew their hate crap. Remember when Jesus loved all the little children, now the song goes...Heterosexual, male, and white, they are precious...

    Posted by: billmiller | Dec 13, 2010 8:29:28 AM

  22. @Miami

    One could even look at African-inspired religions in the New World.

    For example, voodoo in Haiti, which the evangelical Christians have been trying to attack; voodoo is a religion that has always been a safe haven LGBT peoples.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Dec 13, 2010 9:10:19 AM

  23. @PRINCELY54: My husband and I went to Africa and lied. We both had wedding bands, and told everyone that our wives had gone to PAris instead because they did not share our interest in geography. Less issues.

    I am out and proud -- got publicly married for corn's sakes! -- but if I really have to visit a country where just being gay can get me 5 years to life, you bet I'll lie.

    As do the poor gay folk who live there. My heart goes out to the poor LGBT kids living in these countries.

    Posted by: Strepsi | Dec 13, 2010 9:27:27 AM

  24. I've never been able to understand this Nation. They have so many Issues but let's make the issue of the main issue. Maybe it's because that is the only thing they can sit-down an agree to. But not that they can unite and really take power they cant even get the UN the recanize a vote . What a waste of Space.

    Posted by: Reginald Drummer | Jan 2, 2011 2:36:42 PM

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