The Sexual Minority of Africa Should Also Be Heard

Published: April 11, 2014

A destructive wave of hatred against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons seems to be gaining force across Africa.

In this groundswell of hate, Nigeria this year enacted punitive laws that criminalise not only same-sex marriages but belonging to gay rights organisations.

And Uganda now has a like-minded law imposing harsh sentences for same-sex acts, including in some cases life imprisonment.


Voices of reason and goodwill must speak out against this hatred and irrationality.

There are 38 countries in Africa that deem homosexuality criminal. This is based on laws introduced during colonialism.


But in Nigeria and Uganda, political pressures are causing tremendous further damage. The new laws are instilling terror among the gay and lesbian community as well as their friends, families, colleagues and acquaintances.


But the laws have a further effect. They put at risk all minorities, all Africans who are “different”. And Africa is a continent rich in diversity and difference.


The refusal to celebrate this diversity has led to unspeakable conflict, grief and death on our continent. The wave of gay-hating laws threatens the same kind of destructive horror.


The presidents of both Nigeria and Uganda, Goodluck Jonathan and Yoweri Museveni, have said that in signing the Bills into law, they are protecting Africans from exotic and outlandish mannerisms.

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