Gay Rights in Africa
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Africa are limited in comparison to many other areas of the world. The International Gay and Lesbian Association estimated in 2008 that homosexuality was forbidden in 38 African countries, although legal or had no laws concerning it in 13 others. Many African leaders feel that gay rights are against their cultural and religious value systems.
In Mauritania, Sudan, and northern Nigeria, homosexuality is punishable by death. In Uganda, Tanzania and Sierra Leone, offenders can receive life imprisonment for homosexual acts. In addition to criminalizing homosexuality, Nigeria has passed a law that would make it illegal for straight family members, allies and friends of the LGBT to be supportive. This supporter could receive a 10 year jail sentence for committing this. South Africa's constitution has the most liberal attitudes toward gays and lesbians, with a constitution which guarantees gay and lesbian rights, and legal same sex-marriage. However, even here, activists say, openly gay and lesbian people have been threatened, detained and arrested. “In Ghana, everybody is culturally and religiously blinded,” says Fred K., an openly gay man living in the Ghanaian capital of Accra who didn’t want to share his last name for fear of criminal and social repercussions. “They think that it’s demonic … so I just pray that a time comes that they decide to change and be like the Western countries.”
Lesbians from across Africa have called on African governments to stop treating homosexuals like criminals. The demand came as about 75 activists gathered at a conference in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The Coalition of African Lesbians called the conference to highlight discrimination across the continent. One participant said the conference was helping to provide support for lesbians across Africa.
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