Russia: Threats, attacks disrupt gay family conference

Anti-gay threats and attacks forced the cancellation of most of a gay-friendly conference about inclusive families in Moscow in early November.

Yulia Malygina and Anna Golubeva, directors of Resource LGBQIA Moscow. (Photo courtesy of Resource LGBTQIA Moscow)

Yulia Malygina and Anna Golubeva, directors of Resource LGBQIA Moscow. (Photo courtesy of Resource LGBTQIA Moscow)

Human Rights Watch reports:

Russia: LGBT Conference Attacked, Disrupted

Two Volunteers Injured

(Moscow) – A prominent Russian lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) support group had to cancel an annual Inclusive Family conference in Moscow after homophobic threats and an attack with pepper spray, Human Rights Watch said today. Police should conduct a thorough and effective investigation capable of identifying and holding those responsible accountable.

The fifth annual LGBTQIAPP+ Family Conference was to take place November 9-11, 2018, to share LGBT families’ experiences and to support family unions that do not conform to Russian policy and concepts of “traditional family values.” The organizers are Resource LGBTQIA Moscow. Unidentified assailants also attacked volunteers at the 2017 conference.

Graeme Reid, director of the LGBT program for Human Rights Watch

Graeme Reid, director of the LGBT program for Human Rights Watch

“It is totally unacceptable for activists to face threats and attacks simply for holding a conference,” said Graeme Reid, director of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch. “The Russian authorities need to do more to ensure that these threats and attacks stop.”

Yulia Malygina, director of Resource LGBTQIA Moscow and one of the conference organizers, told Human Rights Watch that on November 7 and 8, she started receiving text messages and phone calls from people she did not know with homophobic threats about the conference. She also saw a number of hate speech messages about the conference posted on the Russian social media platform VKontakte (VK).

On the morning the conference was to start, November 9, the conference venue address, which had been kept confidential for security reasons, was leaked on VK and was rapidly picked up by a number of homophobic groups. Malygina attempted to file an online complaint with the police, but due to a technical glitch was not able to finalize it.

Around lunchtime, the site started receiving calls and online messages to cancel the conference. When the organizers and volunteers arrived at 3 p.m., shortly before the conference was to open, the management told them it had decided not to host the conference so as to not jeopardize the security of other events taking place there. “It was clear how difficult this decision was for the management,” Malygina said.

Resource LGBTQIA Moscow notified conference participants about the cancellation but volunteers remained at the site. At 7 p.m., she said, a group of five or six volunteers left for a shop across the street. As they left the shop, an assailant confronted them and sprayed them with pepper spray. Two of the volunteers had eye injuries and were taken to a hospital. They were treated and discharged after midnight.

Malygina said that people at the site told her they had seen the assailant there earlier that day, asking questions about the conference and waiting outside the building.

Immediately after the attack, Malygina called the police, who arrived 40 minutes later. But when they learned who had called them, the police refused to provide any assistance, stating “it wasn’t their territory” and left. They suggested calling another police precinct responsible for that site. Those police arrived two-and-a-half hours later, Malygina said, and asked no questions. They took two volunteers, who were in the attacked group, to their precinct, where they stayed until midnight filing their complaint.

Logo of Resource LGBTQIA Moscow

Logo of Resource LGBTQIA Moscow

On November 10, the organizers decided to start the conference in the form of a live online stream, and by November 11, Resource LGBTQIA Moscow had found another site and was able to hold some of the conference events there. However, when the new site’s address, which had been confidential, was also leaked on VK, the organizers canceled the remaining events to avoid further attacks or harm to conference participants.

Some of the statements on VK, which Human Rights Watch reviewed, refer to Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” law, which bans spreading information that puts relationships among LGBT people in a positive light in public, where children might see or hear it.

This attack is one of many LGBT activists in Russia have suffered in recent years. In November 2017, assailants attacked two activists, Zoya Matisova and Nadezhda Aronchik, near the site of the Inclusive Family conference. In August 2018, the police opened a criminal investigation, and arrested and charged two of the alleged assailants with disorderly conduct. As a part of the investigation, the police deemed Matisova and Aronchik victims of an attack committed “on the grounds of hatred and hostility against a specific social group” that was “distinguished on the basis of belonging to non-traditional sexual orientation.”

Resource LGBTQIA Moscow said it will continue organizing their annual conferences. “We’ve decided that we will never hold closed events,” Malygina told Human Rights Watch. “Instead, we will make them open. We don’t want to hide anymore, run away, or hide the venue address.”

“The attack on ‘Vth LGBTQIAPP+ Family Conference’ is yet another example of how the anti-gay propaganda law has emboldened hate groups,” Reid said. “If the authorities want to end hate-based violence, they should start by annulling the ‘gay propaganda’ law.”

Related articles:

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Liberia again weighs tightening anti-gay laws

Liberia legislators are considering proposals to tighten the country’s laws against same-sex intimacy.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


Liberian Rep. Clarence Massaquoi, sponsor of bill to make same-sex intercourse a felony. (Ida Reeves photo courtesy of BushChicken.com)

Liberian Rep. Clarence Massaquoi, sponsor of a bill to make same-sex intercourse a felony. (Ida Reeves photo courtesy of BushChicken.com)

The exact scope of the latest proposal was unclear in press coverage.

The bill would make same-sex marriage a crime, according to Liberia’s Daily Observer and Rex Wockner’s “Int’l LGBTQI news” report.

But a report in Liberia’s BushChicken.com describes the bill differently — as a proposal to make same-sex intercourse a felony.  Under current Liberian law, it is a misdemeanor.

The Liberian legislature’s joint Committee on Judiciary and Gender, headed by Representatives J. Fonati Koffa and Julia F. Wiah, is reviewing the proposal.

Under Liberia’s current Penal Code, “deviate sexual intercourse” is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison. In a confusing account published in the Daily Observer, the proposed punishment as a felony could be “imprisonment for life or for any term of not more than 10 years.”<

The BushChicken account also was confusing. It quoted Massaquoi as stating that “same-sex practices will now become a criminal offense,” after his bill was accepted by the House.  They are already a criminal offense, though there are no reports of anyone being jailed for violating the current law.

Under current law, “deviate sexual intercourse” is defined as any anal or oral sex except that between a married couple or a couple “living together as man and wife though not legally married.”

Massaquoi, sponsor of the latest bill, said it is intended to preserve African culture. The Daily Observer noted:

However, the issue of same-sex marriage remains complex and controversial. It has raised human rights and constitutional law issues, as well as a lot of social, religious, moral and political questions.

In 2012, similar attempts to amend Liberia’s anti-gay laws failed.

At that time, some members of the Liberian house of representatives also pushed for a bill to reclassify the offense as a felony, while the Liberian senate voted for a plan to prohibit same-sex marriage.

The then president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said she would veto any bill whether to toughen or loosen the laws related to homosexuality.

Related articles:

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Liberia again weighs tightening anti-gay laws

Liberia legislators are considering proposals to tighten the country’s laws against same-sex intimacy.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


Liberian Rep. Clarence Massaquoi, sponsor of bill to make same-sex intercourse a felony. (Ida Reeves photo courtesy of BushChicken.com)

Liberian Rep. Clarence Massaquoi, sponsor of a bill to make same-sex intercourse a felony. (Ida Reeves photo courtesy of BushChicken.com)

The exact scope of the latest proposal was unclear in press coverage.

The bill would make same-sex marriage a crime, according to Liberia’s Daily Observer.

But a report in Liberia’s BushChicken.com describes the bill differently — as a proposal to make same-sex intercourse a felony.  Under current Liberian law, it is a misdemeanor.

The Liberian legislature’s joint Committee on Judiciary and Gender, headed by Representatives J. Fonati Koffa and Julia F. Wiah, is reviewing the proposal.

Under Liberia’s current Penal Code, “deviate sexual intercourse” is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison. In a confusing account published in the Daily Observer, the proposed punishment as a felony could be “imprisonment for life or for any term of not more than 10 years.”<

The BushChicken account also was confusing. It quoted Massaquoi as stating that “same-sex practices will now become a criminal offense,” after his bill was accepted by the House.  They are already a criminal offense, though there are no reports of anyone being jailed for violating the current law.

Under current law, “deviate sexual intercourse” is defined as any anal or oral sex except that between a married couple or a couple “living together as man and wife though not legally married.”

Massaquoi, sponsor of the latest bill, said it is intended to preserve African culture. The Daily Observer noted:

However, the issue of same-sex marriage remains complex and controversial. It has raised human rights and constitutional law issues, as well as a lot of social, religious, moral and political questions.

In 2012, similar attempts to amend Liberia’s anti-gay laws failed.

At that time, some members of the Liberian house of representatives also pushed for a bill to reclassify the offense as a felony, while the Liberian senate voted for a plan to prohibit same-sex marriage.

The then president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said she would veto any bill whether to toughen or loosen the laws related to homosexuality.

This article was revised on Nov. 20 to cite only the Daily Observer for the information contained in its article and to restore a missing link to the Bush Chicken article.

Related articles:

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Struggling Nigerian musician Waconzy turns to homophobia

Afro-soul Nigerian musician Obinna Kelvin Anyanwu, popularly known as Waconcy, tried to revive his musical career by promoting homophobia. Online he has condemned gays and lesbians, saying that they have nothing to offer but HIV.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


Obinna Kelvin Anyanwu, popularly known as Waconcy.

Waconzy, who was born in Port Harcourt, gained some popularity with his song “I Celebrate” in 2010 but since then has struggled. His attempts at making a comeback have not succeeded.

So the musician took to Instagram to display his ignorance and homophobia. He posted “Gays & lesbians are bad children wey no gree change. They have nothing to offer to this world but HIV.”

“It’s a scam,” he added. “Why can’t they learn to love the opposite sex?”

Read also: Nigerian doctor: Homophobia boosts HIV

Given Nigeria’s increasing homophobia toward homosexuals due to ignorance on the issue, his statement can only encourage further  discrimination and stigma.

It reinforces the mistaken notions that homosexuality is a choice, that homosexuals can decide to be attracted to women, and that HIV is limited to the gay community. Such ignorance and stigma hinder efforts to prevent HIV and care for LGBTQ+ persons living with the virus.

Some Nigerians, upset by what Waconzy published, wrote that he needed to learn that anyone regardless of their sexual orientation can contract HIV, the virus which causes AIDS. If he understood the harm that such a post can cause to innocent lives, he would quickly take it down and apologize, they stated.

Perhaps Waconzy saw what his critics wrote and learned something. In any case, he has now taken down his offensive Instagram post.

Source: Rights Africa

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Stella Nyanzi: A mom / activist’s writings from prison

In her writings from prison, longtime gay activist Stella Nyanzi proves herself to be a devoted mother as well as a fierce opponent of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Earlier this month, the Museveni regime  threw her into prison again on charges of insulting him online.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


Stella Nyanzi remains a devoted mother as well as an outspoken political activist. (Photo courtesy of Voice of America)

Stella Nyanzi’s writings from prison show that she remains a devoted mother as well as an outspoken political activist. (Photo courtesy of Voice of America)

Photographed letters from her prison cell, posted on Facebook, include the following:

  • A description of the harsh conditions in Luzira Women’s Prison.
  • A protest against police abuse of a young mother, and
  • A loving letter to her daughter on her birthday.

These are transcriptions of those three of Nyanzi’s writings from prison:

Crowded sleeping quarters at Luzira Women's Prison in Uganda. (NTV photo via YouTube)

Crowded sleeping quarters at Luzira Women’s Prison in Uganda. (NTV photo via YouTube)

From Luzira Women’s Prison, Nov. 9, 2018:

We sleep as sardines packed in a tin.

Buttocks touching buttocks.

Buttocks bent into thighs.

Thighs kissing thighs.

Backs bent into each other.

Nostrils breathing out

What other nostrils breathed in.

We are remandees,

Convicts and escapees.

We are women detained in Luzira Women’s Prison.

 

We sleep as logs tightly packed together.

The cold floor cools out hot bodies.

Lucky ones have a thin mattress.

Four beds host four of us.

The rest of us 78 inmates

Sleep safe on the floor in Ward 2.

We are remandees,

Convicts and escapees.

We are women detained in Luzira Women’s Prison.

 

Police baton (Photo courtesy of The Inquisitr)

Police baton (Photo courtesy of The Inquisitr)

Police abuse of a young mother, Nov. 3, 2018:

Tina’s violent arrest

Afande OC Operations, shame upon you! You are a violent misogynist!

Tina carried her 7-month-old baby to our police cell.

Tina was limping.

Tina was crying.

Tina was shaking as she held her crying baby.

Tina showed us her swelling fresh wounds.

You beat her with your baton, Afande.

You beat her arms.

You beat her back.

You beat her thighs.

You beat her buttocks.

Tina fell down and banged her head.

You backed at her to hurry up and climb the truck.

You did not mind about her wailing baby.

Did you not see the wailing baby?

Did you not hear the waiting baby?

You only focused on the money from fines.

Shame upon you, Afande OC Operations !

That baby was a patient at a nearby clinic.

That baby was ill with malaria.

That baby slept on the cold floor of the police cell.

That baby was innocent and pure.

Why punish Baby Tinashe?

Why arrest and detain innocent Tina?

Why beat up a nursing mother?

How come you released both without charge?

Back in 2017, prison officers had to assist Stella Nyanzi before her appearance in court on the first set of charges she faced for insulting President Yoweri Museveni. She was suffering from malaria. (Betty Ndagire photo courtesy of the Daily Monitor)

In 2017, prison officers had to assist Stella Nyanzi before her appearance in court on the first set of charges that she faced for insulting President Yoweri Museveni. She was suffering from malaria. (Betty Ndagire photo courtesy of the Daily Monitor)

To her daughter, from Luzira Women’s Prison, Nov. 9, 2018:

My daughter Baraka,

Tomorrow will be your fourteenth birthday. I will be absent from the preparations, cooking, decorating, wrapping of gifts, feasting with family and friends, dancing, singing “Happy Birthday to You,” taking your photos, watching you unwrap your gifts, and praying with you. Although I will be physically absent, my thoughts will be with you, child. Have fun. Enjoy your day.

I am back in Luzira Women’s Prison. In many ways, this feels like another of my homes away from home. It was great to reunite with former friends and catch up with what has been happening in their lives since I was last imprisoned with them. The prison wardresses are generally fine and they manage us with respect. Only one midget refused to listen to my response about my marital status and erroneously wrote that I am divorced. I told her to change that entry. She refused. Power is making her write a wrong record about my marital status. Otherwise, I am very fine in this place.

Prison is a great honour for those of us who are sent here for dissenting against dictator M7 [Museveni]. Each night I sleep on the floor of this dear old Maximum Security Prison, I add a badge of honour to my many credentials. Imagine, the dictator reads my Facebook posts! I will continue writing against impunity until I die. I am neither repentant nor remorseful. I have no regrets for writing truth to power.

I encourage you to continue writing your own poetry. Keep your poems going. We shall share them when I come home finally. Do not stop being curious! Do not stop asking questions. Do not shut up. Do not be docile. Be loud. Be bold. Be daring. Be sweet. Be good. Be kind. Be you. Be the best. You are my best daughter Baraka.

Love,

Mama Stella

For more information, read the article “Mom, activist, gay ally Stella Nyanzi imprisoned again.”

 

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Source: 76crimes

Uganda: Mom, activist, gay ally Stella Nyanzi imprisoned again

Political activist and devoted mother Stella Nyanzi, a strong gay ally, has been imprisoned again, this time for new online insults directed at Uganda’s strongman president, Yoweri Museveni, and his family.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


Stella Nyanzi again faces charges in court. (Photo courtesy of The Observer)

Imprisoned activist mom Stella Nyanzi again faces charges in court. (Photo courtesy of The Observer)

In prison, Nyanzi has proved herself to be a dedicated mother as well as a fierce anti-Museveni activist.

Photographs of letters from her prison cell were posted on her Facebook page. Transcribed on this blog, they include a loving letter to her daughter as well as a description of the harsh conditions in Luzira Women’s Prison and a protest against police abuse of a young mother who was arrested and beaten.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

Nyanzi was charged with “cyber harassment and offensive communication” under the country’s Computer Misuse Act of 2011. She was arrested after publishing a poem on Facebook on Sept. 16, right after Museveni’s 74th birthday, in which she stated that Uganda would have been better off if Museveni had died at birth.

She pleaded not guilty and is currently in prison awaiting a further court appearance on Nov. 22. If convicted, she faces a penalty of a year’s imprisonment.

Nyanzi told the court that Museveni should be summoned to testify about how he was offended by her Facebook posts.

PEN International, which advocates worldwide for freedom of expression, demanded her release.

“While President Museveni has the right to take exception to Dr Nyanzi’s views, he does not have the right to gag people who find his rule oppressive,” said Dr. Danson Sylvester Kahyana, president of PEN Uganda.

‘Radical rudeness’ as a political tactic

The Rand Daily Mail explained:

“She has embraced a Ugandan tradition called “radical rudeness” that dates back to the pre-independence days of the late 1940s. At the time power relations were encoded in manners, politeness, and conventional rituals of sociability as determined by the British masters.

“As historian Carol Summers has written, activists in colonial Uganda, especially the kingdom of Buganda, disrupted this power relationship by using tactics of rudeness, performing “a rude, publicly celebrated strategy of insults, scandal mongering, disruption, and disorderliness that broke conventions of colonial friendship, partnership, and mutual benefit.”

Campaigner for LGBTQIA+ rights and women’s rights

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian wrote about Nyanzi:

Nyanzi is a medical anthropologist who has written about HIV/AIDS, sexuality and women’s health. She has campaigned for the rights of girls, women and LGBTQIA+ people in Uganda and leads Pads4GirlsUG a campaign to provide free sanitary pads to girls. She holds a PhD from the the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is also a leading scholar in the emerging field of African queer studies.

Celebrating at Uganda's first pride parade. (Photo courtesy of RachelAdamsPhotography.com)

In an academic article, Stella Nyanzi analyzed the Uganda’s first pride celebration, in 2012. (Photo courtesy of RachelAdamsPhotography.com)

She is the author of numerous articles that provide sorely needed critical insight into the effects of patriarchy, misogyny and homophobia in Uganda, The Gambia and Tanzania. These include “Homosexuality, Sex Work, and HIV/AIDS in Displacement and Post-Conflict Settings: The Case of Refugees in Uganda” (published in International Peacekeeping, 2013) and “Queer Pride and Protest: A Reading of the Bodies at Uganda’s First Beach Pride”.

Her article “Dismantling Reified African Culture through Localised Homosexualities in Uganda” was published in the academic journal Culture, Health and Sexuality in 2013. In the piece Nyanzi critiques Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which was introduced in 2009 and passed into law in February 2014. It was repealed on the grounds that it had been passed without a quorum in August that same year.

She argued that the justification for the Bill “lay in myopic imaginings of a homogeneous African-ness and pedestrian oblivion to pluralities within African sexualities.”

Her ethnographic research conducted with people in Uganda shows how, counter to the arguments that homosexuality is un-African, “same-sex-loving men, women and transgender people variously assert their African-ness.”

Uganda is one of 38 countries in Africa where homosexuality remains illegal.

Related articles:

 

 

 

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Rising transgender murder rate: 369 since last fall

The murder rate for transgender people keeps rising. Transgender Europe cites a total of 369 reported killings of trans and gender-diverse people between October 2017 and September 2018.

The majority of trans murders cited by the Trans Murder Monitoring project from 2008 to 2018 occurred in Central and South America.

The vast majority of transgender murders cited by the Trans Murder Monitoring project from 2008 to 2018 occurred in Central and South America.

The majority of the transgender murders reported during the past 12 months were in Brazil (167), Mexico (71), the United States (28), and Colombia (21). This is 44 more deaths than were reported in 2017.

That depressing information has been added to this blog’s repeatedly updated and perpetually depressing list of “1000s who died in anti-gay, anti-trans attacks.”

Reported trans murders keep rising. Trans Murder Monitoring project reports that 62% of those murder victims were sex workers.

Reported transgender murders keep rising, as shown in the annual figures that Trans Murder Monitoring project has reported as of each year’s Trans Day of Remembrance. The project reports that 62% of the transgender murder victims were sex workers.

This year’s Trans Day of Remembrance will be Nov. 20, 2018.

(Info from Equal Eyes and TransRespect.org.)

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S. Africa needs to oppose Tanzania’s anti-gay crackdown

Tanzania’s anti-gay crackdown has run into opposition far and wide, but not yet from South Africa, although equal rights for its LGBT citizens are enshrined in the nation’s constitution.

Johannesburg Pride urged South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to take action on Tanzania's anti-gay crackdown. (GCIS photo courtesy of Business Live)

Johannesburg Pride urged South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to take action on Tanzania’s anti-gay crackdown. (GCIS photo courtesy of Business Live)

South Africa has even wavered in its support for a South African journalist and press freedom advocate who was expelled from Tanzania last week as she and a colleague were beginning a fact-finding mission authorized by a Tanzanian official.

This week, Johannesburg Pride called on South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa to pressure Tanzania to recognize the human rights of its LGBTQ+ citizens:

We are urging you to issue an official statement condemning the current arrests and threats to LGBTQ+ people in Tanzania. It is our hope that in doing this South Africa will go on the record standing up for the very basic human right to free expression, association and joyful gatherings.

It is particularly important to raise these issues because we see several African countries enacting even more onerous legislation than the anti-homosexuality Penal Codes of the Colonizers, as well as committing appalling human rights violations based on sexuality and gender identity, to include unlawful arrests, forced medical examinations, imprisonment, government spying and monitoring of social media as a means to hunt people. This has led to persecution and exile for many LGBTQ+ Africans.

The letter also urged Ramaphosa to advocate for decriminalization of homosexuality throughout Africa:

We believe, by virtue of our Constitution and the legacy of Madiba [Nelson Mandela], South Africa is charged with a duty to lead Africa, through our own experience and our historic resolve to uphold human rights, toward the decriminalization of homosexuality for every country on the continent.

Johannesburg Pride proposed that Ramaphosa establish a Presidential Advisory Committee for LGBTQ+ Decriminalization on the Continent of Africa.

Paul Makonda, governor of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

Paul Makonda, governor of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania: “In Dar es Salaam, homosexuality is not a human right; homosexuality is a criminal offence.”

An international outcry followed news of the latest expressions of Tanzanian homophobia — Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda’s call for rounding up homosexuals, along with  the arrest of 10 allegedly gay men on Zanzibar. Many international organizations responded with protests and reminders of Tanzania’s obligations to live up to its obligations in human rights treaties it has signed:

  • The European Union recalled its ambassador to Tanzania.
  • The United States state department issued a statement expressing concern about Tanzania’s treatment of sexual minorities and many other members of Tanzanian society. The statement called on “Tanzanian authorities to act decisively to safeguard the rights of civil society organizations, human rights defenders, journalists, health workers, political activists, and all people in accordance with the Tanzanian constitution, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and the country’s international and regional obligations and commitments.”
  • Denmark cut off foreign aid to Tanzania, which totaled $9.8 million a year.
  • The World Bank suspended its missions to Tanzania because of  harassment and discrimination against the LGBT community. It also suspended a planned $300 million educational loan because of a Tanzanian policy of expelling school girls who get pregnant.
  • Canadian officials said they were reviewing the country’s relationship with Tanzania, which received $125 million from Canada last year.

But nothing so far from South Africa, though its appeals to Tanzania could be much more influential than pressure from Europe and North America.

Jacqueline Hansen, an official at Amnesty International Canada explained:

“All too often LGBT rights are seen by some countries as a northern, western creation. So sometimes, if the push to protect LGBT rights comes from countries like Canada, it can actually have a negative effect. …

“We know from previous experience that if foreign aid is cut because of LGBT rights, that can actually fuel backlash against LGBT people in that country. So in this case, we would encourage Canada to leverage other channels, to continue engaging in quiet diplomacy.”

Melanie Nathan (Photo courtesy of Pride Shelter Trust)

Melanie Nathan: Ramaphosa “must show his strength and assert critical leadership before he misses this opportunity.” (Photo courtesy of Pride Shelter Trust)

South African/American LGBTQI advocacy blogger Melanie Nathan urged Ramaphosa to live up to the principles of equal rights that he espoused before February, when the South African parliament chose him to fill in as president after the resignation of Jacob Zuma.

South Africa’s LGBTQI community joined the rest of the globe in celebrating the election of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who had been a long been a champion of LGBTQ+ rights in the country and the continent.

He must show his strength and assert critical leadership before he misses this opportunity, as Tanzania provides a new opportunity for redemption for South Africa where it can take its leadership responsibility seriously and apply swift action to the current wave of repression. This is the time where President Ramaphosa will be tested – as to whether his support for LGBTQ AFRICA is mere lip service?

South Africa has the promise of this new president who must show leadership, despite the disappointment engendered through the actions, words and silence of his predecessor.

Attacks on press freedom as well as the LGBT community have been features of the repression instituted by Tanzanian President John Magufuli took office in 2015.

Muthoki Mumo of Kenya (left) and Angela Quintal of South Africa (right) were expelled from Tanzania because of their investigation of the government's harassment of journalists.

Muthoki Mumo of Kenya (left) and Angela Quintal of South Africa (right) were expelled from Tanzania in order to block their investigation of the government’s harassment of journalists.

The latest example was the expulsion of South African journalist-advocate Angela Quintal and her Kenyan colleague Muthoki Mumo, two press freedom advocates for the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists who were in Tanzania to investigate harassment of journalists there.

Quintal wrote about their detention and expulsion in the article “My Nasty Encounter with Tanzanian Repression.” Her account concludes with her description of how the South African government stopped supporting her.

At first, she wrote, “The South Africans were superb and even escorted us to the airport and waited until we were safely on the flight” homeward.

But then:

“When Minister Lindiwe Sisulu ignored what we had told the SA High Commission and accepted Tanzania’s false justification that we had been detained for working with tourist visas, I was outraged. I took it more personally than the government-aligned Tanzanite newspaper’s ludicrous attempts to discredit us with a false and defamatory cover story branding us as spies.”

Related articles:

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Cameroon: 2 lesbians had to pay $514 bribe for freedom

In northern Cameroon, two lesbians were arrested by Garoua police and forced to pay 300,000 (about U.S. $514) to regain their freedom.


By Steeves Winner

La localisation de la ville de Bafoussam au Cameroun. (Carte de Wikipedia)

The location of Garoua in northern Cameroon. (Map courtesy of Wikipedia)

It was September when police in Garoua surprised two women in their twenties who were making love on a vacant street.

Kaika, age 25, no longer attends school and has no career. Akan, age 29, is a businesswoman in Garoua. (Both names are pseudonyms.)

The two women have been dating for a while and live in different parts of the city. On the night of their arrest, they arranged to meet in the city’s entertainment district, visited  several night clubs, BS then retired to an abandoned street for sex.

A passing police patrol heard their cries of passion and arrested them.

The two women were taken to the police station and put in cells in preparation for their transfer to the prosecutor’s office and then to the Garoua prison to await trial for homosexual activity.

To avoid prison, the two women chose to negotiate with the police, who agreed to release both of them in exchange for 300,000 CFA francs (about U.S. $514).  They began making phone calls to their network of friends.

After two days, they had collected the money and were allowed to return home. Police warned them to break off their relationship or risk further trouble with the law.

The author of this article comments:

LGBTI citizens of Cameroon must take care to exercise their civil and sexual responsibilities. If they do not, they risk running afoul of the law.

By behaving in an exemplary manner LGBTI people show that they deserve society’s respect instead of being objects of scorn.

Steeves Winner, the author of this article, is an activist for LGBTI rights in Cameroon who writes under a pseudonym. Contact him at steeves.w@yahoo.

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How to fight homophobia: A partial success story from Jamaica

Montego Bay Pride demonstrated how to fight homophobia through public service. In painting a local hospital, LGBT volunteers achieved  partial success.

Volunteers from Montego Bay Pride paint a planter at Cornwall Regional Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Tomlinson)

Volunteers from Montego Bay Pride paint a planter at Cornwall Regional Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Tomlinson)

There he was. As menacing as I remembered. My stomach was immediately in knots at the sight of this burly security guard. I forced myself to breathe calmly and not display any fear. After all, I was at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay to offer them a service.

As coordinator of Montego Bay Pride, the planning committee had tasked me to identify a social justice project as part of our week of activities. With the help of an LGBT community member who works at the hospital we had settled on painting one section of the building that had been neglected for years.

Initially we had planned to return to paint the Freeport police station that we had started last year, but that plan was cancelled at the last minute by police headquarters.

Next, a proposal to paint a new bathroom at my former high school was initially accepted and all the painting supplies were bought but then two days before work was scheduled to start we were told that “plans had changed”. Apparently some of the old boys were upset that a bunch of gays had the audacity to want to paint their school.

Volunteers from Montego Bay Pride paint the steps at Cornwall Regional Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Tomlinson)

To fight homophobia, volunteers from Montego Bay Pride paint the steps at Cornwall Regional Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Tomlinson)

That rejection felt very personal because the new bathroom was located next to my first classroom and I reflected on how much homophobic bullying and awkward moments I would have been spared had that facility existed during my confused high school days.

The rejection was also personal because some of the persons who most strenuously objected to our painting were members of the graduating class for which was I valedictorian. Some of my colleagues had assured me that this group had become less homophobic after the 30+ years since our graduation. But, I had my doubts and, sadly, I was proved correct. I had long sworn not to return to the school once I left. The response to the painting project shows why I was right to feel that way. The rejection triggered very painful memories.

And the hospital was no different. Earlier in the year I had visited my mother there while she had an extended stay for a serious health issue. And every day while I waited outside her ward for visiting hours to begin, this same guard would launch into a homophobic tirade essentially blaming gays for the rape of young boys and a host of other ugly and unfounded lies.

I sat there and endured his verbal abuse because I wanted to see my mother. I did not report his obnoxious behavior to the hospital authorities because the guard’s rants were loud enough for everyone on the ward to hear but none of the staff took any action.

After my mother was released from the hospital I wrote a letter to the Jamaican newspaper outlining my disgust with this guard and the hospital staff turning a blind eye to his bigotry. I was “relieved” and angry when comments to my letter proved that that my experience was not unique. There is a notorious anti-LGBT attitude among staff at that hospital.

The irony is that the hospital also serves as a major source of anti-HIV interventions. But Jamaican men who have sex with men have the highest HIV prevalence rate in the Western Hemisphere if not the world, 33% and many of those men would feel unwelcome at this hospital. So, the HIV public health crisis will persist.

Although anti-HIV interventions such as ARVs may be available at the hospital, many of the persons who need them would not access them because of the abuse that they are likely to face!

Despite my own fears about how the guards would treat us as we arrived to paint in our Montego Bay Pride t-shirts, I was happy to see that we were welcomed by the hospital’s administrators. Our small band of Pridesters worked to deliver a much-needed facelift to the front of the hospital’s nurses’ quarters and we even had some pleasant conversations with the guards who were stationed nearby.

Paint-splattered volunteers from Montego Bay Pride pose with an administrator from Cornwall Regional Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Tomlinson)

Paint-splattered volunteers from Montego Bay Pride pose with an administrator from Cornwall Regional Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Tomlinson)

We shared our drinks and snacks with them and they commented favourably on our amateur paint job. As evening fell we had to leave some of the painting supplies with the guards for the hospital to continue the work that we had started. But, it was a surreal moment seeing this place that had meant so much pain just a few months ago become transformed to one of joy and beauty through an act of service.

I don’t expect that the attitude of security guards at Cornwall Regional Hospital will have miraculously become more accepting because of a single painting project. But I think that at least some of them may start questioning why they hold those anti-LGBT prejudices in the first place.

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The post How to fight homophobia: A partial success story from Jamaica appeared first on Erasing 76 Crimes.


Source: 76crimes