Seeking African dialogue on behalf of LGBT Zambians

Published: December 8, 2014

Colin Stewart
Original Article:

Chalwe Charles Mwansa, a human rights defender and LGBT activist from Zambia, says that his country, and other African countries, need “an African-centered dialogue that tackles the social and political issues that currently drive homophobia across the continent.”

“These discussions must also sit within a broader dialogue that is centered on a human rights approach, and focuses on the protection and promotion of self-determination in all areas of life, without discrimination on the basis of gender, age, etc.,” says Mwansa, who is currently working in the United States.

He discusses LGBT activism in Zambia in the following excerpts from an interview with Democracy in Africa.

While lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in some sections of the world have progressed in recent years, equality remains elusive in other parts of the world, such as Zambia.

Defendants Philip Mubiana and James Mwape leave the courtroom during their trial. (Photo courtesy of the Lusaka Times)

On the 2nd July, 2014, Philip Mubiana and James Mwape, both in their early twenties, were acquitted by the magistrate court from charges of having sexual relations “against the order of nature”.

They had been held since May 2013, and faced up to 15 years in jail if convicted. Zambia’s tough anti-homosexuality laws date back to the British colonial era and public opinion remains strongly against sexual minorities.

This case is one of the many ways that LGBT men and women in Zambia experience homophobic discrimination and persecution at the hands of both state and non- state actors.

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