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Zambia's First Lady Speaks Out For LGBT Rights


Though Zambia has hardly been known as a bastion of tolerance and inclusivity when it comes to LGBT rights, it appears there is now a chance that the government's attitudes toward homosexuality may change. AllAfrica reports that earlier this week, Zambian First Lady Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata Back, a World Health Organization (WHO) Goodwill Ambassador against Gender-based Violence, an advocate for family planning and a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, spoke in favor of protections for LGBT Zambians:

Speaking at a UNAIDS hosted reception, she said that the "silence around issues of Men who have Sex with Men should be stopped and no one should be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation. Rather, we should address reproductive health issues around this issue."

And if this were not enough - and in Zambia, it would have been earthshattering enough - she went even further to assure people working in the sexual and reproductive health sector of her and the president's support.

It is hard to overestimate the importance of what the First Lady said - in a country where the vast majority of people are opposed to gay rights. Indeed, where most people are totally opposed to even discussing the topic.

The First Lady's remarks come in stark contrast to the government's own history on LGBT rights. In 2009 the country's then-Vice President George Kunda called on Zambians to report those they suspected to be homosexuals to the police. Earlier this year, a gay couple (James Mwape, 20, and Philip Mubiana, 21) was arrested and imprisoned for "the offence of sodomy or having sex against the order of nature contrary to the laws of Zambia," after being reported on by a family member. 2013 also saw gay rights actvist Paul Kasonkomona arrested and ordered to face trial for advocating on TV for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Zambia. It is unclear at this time what impact the First Lady's remarks will have on the legal woes Mwape, Mubiana and Kasonkomona currently face.

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  1. Cool

    Posted by: Moz's | Nov 11, 2013 12:01:10 PM

  2. ps;

    taking bets on the xtians flipping out more over her family planning stance or her support of LGBT rights

    Posted by: Moz's | Nov 11, 2013 12:02:43 PM

  3. LMAO only 2 comments now 3 for this but 36 for middle class Tyler saying he doesn't take words seriously like n*gga and f*ggot. SMDH.

    Posted by: Rowan | Nov 11, 2013 12:23:38 PM

  4. It's wonderful to see such remarks coming from someone who has an opportunity to have some influence on policy.

    Posted by: RachelB | Nov 11, 2013 12:50:48 PM

  5. @ ROWAN,

    LOL...I absolutely agree. If she'd said something anti-Gay (which would hurt African Gays more than anybody) they'd be on this blog calling her a savage and primitive, and accusing her of having a hair weave.

    Posted by: Derrrick from Philly | Nov 11, 2013 12:59:08 PM

  6. every bit helps. a trickle becomes a flood, eventually...

    Posted by: Jason | Nov 11, 2013 1:35:06 PM

  7. If it's true that 'people working in the sexual and reproductive health sector' have the president's support, can the LGBT people of Zambia expect him to do anything about abolishing those brutal laws? I'm not exactly certain what she means by people working in the 'the sexual sector'. Does she mean gay activists? Nor am I sure what gay activists would have to do with people in the 'reproductive health sector'.

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | Nov 11, 2013 1:39:06 PM

  8. This is a brave move for this woman. and for Zambia. Very happy to hear someone speaking positively and intelligently about sexual orientation and framing it around sexual health issues in Africa.

    And @ROWAN and DERRRICK.. think you are reaching for something that isn't there.
    The other article is about pop culture/rap and the use of a caustic word by an artist and it resonates more with most readers. It could have been Eminem on Arsenio, talking about his obnoxious use of the word, it would have probably had more comments. Where this article is a world issue and it is a positive message, less likely to illicit a flood of responses. So don't get it twisted.

    Posted by: 604brian | Nov 11, 2013 1:42:31 PM

  9. We need more intelligent and compassionate women in leadership positions. The world would be a better place.

    Posted by: Jack M | Nov 11, 2013 2:09:58 PM

  10. @ 604Brian,

    No. It has more to do with the reaction on this blog to Africans who are homophobic--not a comparison to the First Lady of Zambia and some 22 year old Rapper (who I had never heard of until today).

    If it's a negative story from an anti-Gay African you get many comments here, and many of those comments insult all Africans. Here we have a positive story and hardly anybody's interested. That's what Rowan was talking about.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 11, 2013 3:48:03 PM

  11. I think the fact that she's a doctor explains her rational view on reproductive health and homosexuality.

    Posted by: Luke | Nov 11, 2013 11:09:36 PM

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