Gay equality in Africa: Moving with courage

Published: July 8, 2011

Pride season is upon us – and we think it’s high time to recognise the under-reported progress Africa is making towards lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality…
 
Guest blog from Reverend Rowland Jide Macaulay
 
"The good news from Africa is that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) communities are heroically challenging their governments to protect their human rights and dignity under the law.
 
The challenges to achieving gay equality in Africa have been well documented – especially in countries like
 
Uganda at the moment. But we shouldn’t allow this to overshadow the fight-back, the progress and the good news: All over the continent there is growing resistance to homophobia and transphobia.
 
The more inclusive constitution of South Africa, for example, is a beacon of hope for same-sex loving Africans. Did you know that South Africa became the second country in the world outside of Europe to legalise same-sex marriage in 2006? Showing that African countries can be world-leaders when it comes to legal equality for lesbian and gay people.
 
LGBTI Africans are fighting for equality. IDAHO, the International Day Against Homophobia, has become a significant event in many African countries: South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya to mention a few. It promotes public discussion on LGBTI issues and makes us visible. Kenya recently welcomed both a new Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice who stated their support for LGBTI rights before their appointment. We’re proud of the Kenyan LGBTI people for their continuous focus on their human rights. 
 
Every month there are more LGBTI led human rights groups in Africa. The Pan Africa International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association challenges discriminatory policies, and with success: Five African nations (Rwanda, Central Africa, Sierra Leone, Seychelles and South Africa) signed the joint UN declaration on ending violence against LGBTI people this year. Two African nations (South Africa, Mauritius) went further, signing the first UN Resolution recognising LGBTI rights in June this year: a milestone in history.
 
In Ghana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Malawi, LGBTI human rights groups are ever more visible. And across North Africa, campaigning groups are linking up with each other to question discrimination and inequalities based on tradition and religious interpretations.

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