Africa Hub




Cameroonian LGBT Advocate, Dubbed 'The Devil's Lawyer' By Opponents, Is An Ally Worth Honoring

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For the better part of the last decade Alice Nkom, a Cameroonian lawyer, has been doing everything in her power to strike down Article 347 of Cameroon’s penal code. Article 347, like many of the antiquated morality laws first created under colonial rule, punishes consenting adults who engaging in same-sex sexual activities. Currently Nkom is in the process of challenging Article 347’s constitutionality through in two separate cases being presented to Cameroon’s Supreme Court.

“If we unite our efforts and our resources, we will get the supreme court to join the other supreme courts in the world to firmly condemn the use of Article 347 as a basis for legal action or verdicts,” Nkom said to The Guardian. “I need everyone because right now, I am a little isolated. It’s on occasions like this that we must show we are one, united, universal in this fight.”

MbedeBoth of the cases Nkom has decide to throw her weight behind stem from seemingly innocuous situations. Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé (pictured right with Nkom), who is now dead, was arrested in 2011 after professing his love for another man via text message. In 2012, two other Cameroonian men were detained by local police for their outwardly feminine gender presentation. Nkom is representing both of these cases to the Cameroonian Supreme Court in an effort to shed light on the country’s mistreatment of its queer population. 

Her actions have earned her the title of  “the devil’s lawyer” from opponents who view her defense of LGBT rights as an a sin. In Nkom’s mind, however, she’s merely fighting against a longstanding, illegal overreach of the Executive Branch of Cameroon’s powers. 

“Even in Europe, when we look at the countries that penalise homosexuality today, and I am thinking of Russia, we see that the problem is an absence of democracy,” she said. “The two are linked.”

Nkom hopes that drawing more global attention to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights will bring the support Cameroon’s sizable LGBT population needs to properly defend itself from dubious legal charges.

“This is a fight for human rights. Its does not pit African traditions against western traditions or the colonised against colonizers,” she explained. “Africa has the same universal values and belongs to humanity. It is not separate, and neither is Cameroon.”


As Uganda's 'Kill The Gays' Bill Returns, Pro-Gay Activists Step Forward

Uganda_Anti-Homosexuality_Bill_protest

In 2009 David Bahati made a name for himself by introducing an early version of what would eventually become Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Law. Colloquially known as the “Kill The Gays” Bill, Bahati’s proposal argued in favor of punishing those thought to be “recruiting” children into the “homosexual lifestyle” with death. By the time the law was passed in 2013 the penalty of death had been reduced to life in prison, but the sentiment became emblematic of Uganda’s social climate in regards to its gay population.

The law was repealed as a result of a procedural technicality, but Bahati and other members of the Ugandan Parliament have made clear their plans of reintroducing a similar bill. This past weekend Bahati reaffirmed his resolve to a new anti-gay bill and confirmed that the planning process is moving forward.

This time around, however, Bahati and Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni are likely to be faced by increased opposition from pro-gay Ugandan activists. Writing for The Daily Beast, Janson Wu, the executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defender, explains that despite the country’s hostility toward queer people, those on the front lines are mobilizing much in the same way LGBT activists organized in the US.

Rather than attacking the law individually, Wu explains, Ugandan activists are turning their sights towards the manifestations of institutional homophobia that paved the way for the law’s creation:

“On a recent trip to Uganda, I met with local LGBT activists – and one lesson consistently emerged as key to their strategy: the fight for LGBT rights must be situated within a broader campaign for human rights and civil liberties.

This is how the early American LGBT movement began as well. It focused not solely on the equal rights of LGBT people, but on the constitutional liberties that all U.S. citizens – including LGBT people – are supposed to enjoy.

As the LGBT movement developed, the focus shifted to equal rights for LGBT people specifically.  This was justified in its time: equal treatment and protection of LGBT people under the law (removing all “gay exceptions” from the books) is essential to equal citizenship and dignity. However, as we begin to move beyond formal equality in the law in some areas of the country, we must also broaden our sights if we truly are to achieve equal justice for the LGBTQ community.”

Read the full piece here.


Two Men in Kenya Charged For Allegedly Spreading Sexually Explicit Gay Material: VIDEO

Kenya

Two men in Kenya have been charged with being part of a group that disseminated sexually explicit gay material, reports BuzzFeed.

The men were charged yesterday before a magistrate after undergoing court-ordered “medical exams” involving anal swabs.

Both men were arrested when community members identified them from photographs published on a local blog. One of the men was being beaten by a local mob when he was arrested.

The men have been charged with “practicing unnatural offenses” and with the possession of 10 CDs with content that allegedly “corrupt[s] morals.”

If the men are acquitted of natural offenses violations, the prosecutor has tabled an “alternative count” alleging they “jointly committed an indecent act with an adult” who is a third party.

Pepela Mate, a lawyer with the Kenyan Human Rights Commission (KHRC), said:

“The medical exam is more like a pretext. [The prosecution] wanted the anal swabs because they were not charged on Friday, and now they may have grounds for charging [the men with] ‘committing unnatural acts.’”

It has been suggested that what is being called a “gay pornography ring” is led by Europeans and exploits minors. However, William Oluchina, a program officer at the KHRC, said the the claim is “more like a cover up to have a good reason to arrest them…There is this myth in Kenya that if you’re gay, you will be recruiting children. This story is part of that fear.”

Mate requested that the men be released on bail in part so that they could seek medical attention.  Although the request was granted, neither of the men could come up with the required $2,250.

The accused are expected to continue to look for ways to post bail, but it has been suggested that they are safer in prison than in their community.

Watch Christian Pastor Justimore Musombi talk about being gay in Kenya, AFTER THE JUMP...

(Photo via @nitwajina / Instagram)

Continue reading "Two Men in Kenya Charged For Allegedly Spreading Sexually Explicit Gay Material: VIDEO" »


A Disturbing Look at the Role Western Anti-Gay Activism Plays In Stirring Up Hate in Uganda: VIDEO

Lively

A new documentary will examine Western-backed homophobia in Uganda, an issue detailed last year in Human Rights Campaign’s report “The Export of Hate.”

Daniel B. Law, a first-time filmmaker, is currently seeking backing for the project on GoFundMe.

Law promises that he already has a interviews lined up with high profile members of the gay community in Uganda as well as some international figures.

His ultimate aim is to “highlight the fact that the homophobia that exists there has been brought there by western evangelicals whose views are no longer tolerated in the west."

Watch a short exposé on Western anti-gay activism in Uganda starring vile homophobe Scott Lively, who compares gay activists to Nazis, serial killers and those responsible for genocide in Rwanda, AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "A Disturbing Look at the Role Western Anti-Gay Activism Plays In Stirring Up Hate in Uganda: VIDEO" »


Nigerian Author and Marketing Exec Kehinde Bademosi Comes Out As Gay

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Kehinde Bademosi, founder of Nigerian marketing school Orange Academy, has come out as gay in a public posting on Facebook. In a similar move Bademosi publically disclosed his HIV-positive status last December on World AIDS Day. Bademosi’s latest announcement coincides with the one-year anniversary of Nigeria’s Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act being signed into law by president Goodluck Jonathan. Similar to bills passed in Uganda and Kenya, Nigeria’s anti-gay bill threatens gay couples attempting to marry with up to 14 years in prison.

In his Facebook post Bademosi describes his previous marriage to a woman (with whom he has a child) who could not accept his homosexuality:

“It will be exactly a year today, when Nigeria instituted a law to jail people like me. What’s our offense? Because we are simply wired differently.

There are only about 5 to 10% of homosexuals in every population as cited by popular findings and documents. Why is a 90% dominant population afraid of its 10%? Shouldn’t you care about us? Don’t you think it’s a lot easier to be seen as part of the 90%?”

Since dissolving his marriage in civil court, Bademosi has been a vocal advocate for Nigerian LGBT rights and made a point of dispelling some of the common misconceptions surrounding HIV. In particular Bademosi has focused on spreading information about being HIV positive and parenting children.

In a follow-up post earlier today, Bademosi wrote: 

 

Activists in Uganda Defy County's Anti-gay Laws, Publish New LGBT Magazine

UgandaUgandan gay rights activists are defying the country’s anti-gay laws by publishing a magazine covering “the realities of being gay” in the country.

The Independent reports that LGBT advocates behind Bombastic risk detention by police and death threats by publishing the magazine, which features health advice, twenty personal stories and articles on the clergy and homosexuality.

According to magazine organizer and activist Jacqueline Kasha, the magazine was started to address “the falsehoods spread by the Ugandan media, which regularly publicly humiliates and degrades homosexuals."

"Instead, we are sharing our stories in the hope that we can change social attitudes. The people we are trying to reach out to are the people who are threatening to burn our houses and beat us.

"We are not journalists and I don't respect the media here in Uganda. The media is furious with us because we are reclaiming our stories. We expect them to retaliate. We are always frightened, but nobody else is going to stand up for us; our community needs a face."

In a statement, the activists involved said:

“This magazine will also shade a light to readers on the extent of the marginalization and discrimination the LGBTI community in Uganda continues to face on a daily basis.

We have been forced to live undignified lives; the authors of the stories are Ugandans who, through their voices, should be heard by policy makers and the general public, and hopefully, help to create a path for attitude change in a community that is continuously growing in homophobia and violence against this harmless group of Ugandan citizens.”

They have also called on the government to “promote humanity, peace, unity and liberation as they report on LGBTI issues” and to suspend all moves to introduce further anti-gay legislation; for the public to establish a dialogue with the LGBTI community; and for religious leaders “to refrain from preaching and instigating hate within their congregations.”

Frank Mugisha, a friend and colleague of murdered activist David Kato, added that the magazine is a “vital step for the LGBTI community in Uganda, which has had its stories told negatively by the media. This offers us the chance to give our community its own voice, and hopefully that will help show society there is a more positive picture of the LGBTI community."

Despite last ditch efforts, the Ugandan government failed to push through a revised version of the country’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill last month.


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