• Gay rights in developing countries: A well-locked closet

    by  •  • Posterous

    Gays are under attack in poor countries—and not just because of “local culture”

    May 27th 2010 | From The Economist print edition

     Militancy in Mauritius

    THEIR crimes were “gross indecency” and “unnatural acts”. Their sentence was 14 years’ hard labour: one intended, said the judge, to scare others. He has succeeded. A court in Malawi last week horrified many with its treatment of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, a gay couple engaged to be married. The two men are the latest victims of a crackdown on gay rights in much of the developing world, particularly Africa.

    Some 80 countries criminalise consensual homosexual sex. Over half rely on “sodomy” laws left over from British colonialism. But many are trying to make their laws even more repressive. Last year, Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, signed a law criminalising consensual gay sex, despite the Senate’s overwhelming rejection of the bill. A draconian bill proposed in Uganda would dole out jail sentences for failing to report gay people to the police and could impose the death penalty for gay sex if one of the participants is HIV-positive. In March Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, who once described gay people as worse than dogs or pigs, ruled out constitutional changes outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    I bring this up whenever a charity mugger on the street tries to ask me for money for Africa. The answer will be “no” for a long time.

    Do you hear me Bono, you piece of shit?!?

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