Monday, April 9, 2012

It's A Start

This is a rundown of LGBT rights in Africa. With the exception of South Africa, no sovereign nation on the continent permits same-sex adoption, same-sex marriage, same-sex relationships, or gays to serve openly in the military. (A few small islands- Saint Helena, Ascension Island and Reunion- have some of these rights by way of being territories of France and the United Kingdom.)

Same-sex sexual activity is legal in 17 countries for both genders, or at least legal by way of lack of legislation concerning it; 10 more allow it in the case of females only, though some of them are debating outlawing that as well. In the places where it's illegal, penalties range from prison sentences of varying length- a few mandate life in prison- and Sudan, Mauritania, and parts of Nigeria and Somalia, it carries the death penalty. (There is also anti-gay legislation pending in Uganda, though the proposed penalties remain up for debate.) Only Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Gabon, the Central African Republic, Rwanda, Mauritius, South Africa, and the Seychelles have signed a UN declaration acknowledging gay rights, and not all of these countries themselves permit those rights for both genders.

What I'm trying to say is that South Africa just held the Mr. Gay World contest, with three of the 22 contestants coming out of Africa- the host nation, Namibia and Ethiopia. Zimbabwe's representative was forced to withdraw following threats on his family. Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana's representatives couldn't raise the money needed to travel to South Africa and also withdrew. (Tanzania being one of the countries carrying a life-imprisonment punishment for homosexual activity.)

New Zealand won, by the way.

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