Category Archives: Africa

Min the Mighty Old Rock-hard God

This 3000-plus year old limestone monolith is over life-size and honors Min, an Egyptian male fertility god whose worship preceded the dynastic era and which continued through it.

Leathers in Mozambique

From the small volume Scouts in Bondage and Other Violations of Literary Propriety. Edited by Michael Bell, a proprietor of secondhand books from the “ancient coastal town” of Lewes, England. Scouts is a collection of amusing covers, this one from 1959 is subtitled “An Adventure Story for Boys.” What? That’s what Neo-colonial crypto-homosexuality was called in the middle of the 20th century…

HuffPost Gay Voices: Liberian Anti-Gay Group Issues Hit List, Governments Do Nothing

This disturbing story from Liberia on Huffington Post reveals that an anti-gay group in the country has published a “hit list” of LGBT advocates that they would like to kill. More disturbing, perhaps, is the complete silence of elected officials around the issue. According to Huffington Post, Liberia’s president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf vowed

to preserve an existing law criminalizing “voluntary sodomy”.

Also disappointing to me, as a US citizen, is the lack of response from the US embassy in Monrovia. International pressure has certainly been helpful in compelling governments to be accountable around human rights issues in the past.
I’m hoping Liberian LGBT advocates will comment on this issue soon – I will publish updates as I get them.

Omar Sharif Jr: Famous Egyptian Actor’s Grandson is Gay AND Jewish!


According to the Jerusalem Post and numerous other media outlets, the grandson of the famous Egyptian actor Omar Sharif has come out as gay and has also revealed that his mother was Jewish. According to rabbinical law, this makes him Jewish. He explained that coming out was a result of his concern over the well being of sexual and religious minorities in Egypt in the wake of last year’s Arab Spring. He urged elected officials to pay attention and not let the efforts of progressive youth morph into repressive results.

Sharif wrote: “I hesitantly confess: I am Egyptian, I am half Jewish, and I am gay. I write this article in fear. Fear for my country, fear for my family, and fear for myself. I anticipate that I will be chastised, scorned, and most certainly threatened. From the vaunted class of Egyptian actor and personality, I might just become an Egyptian public enemy. And yet I speak out because I am a patriot. The troubling results of the recent parliamentary elections dealt secularists a particularly devastating blow. I write, with healthy respect for the dangers that may come, for fear that Egypt’s Arab Spring may be moving us backward, not forward.”

Africa Action Alert: Oppose the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 (just re-tabled)

I’m passing along this press release from our Ugandan LGBT friends. If you have any African contacts, please encourage them to take action. Thanks.


(Please circulate to all your African contacts)

The COALITION OF AFRICAN LESBIANS (CAL), a pan African network of lesbian, bisexual and gender non-conforming people, organizations and individuals, calls upon every person who believes in the dignity, equality and freedom of every human being, to take note of and act urgently to halt the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which has just been re – tabled in Uganda. We look to African human rights activists and defenders, politicians, religious leaders, cultural leaders, scholars, lawyers, medical professionals, educators, parents and all human rights respecting and promoting individuals and institutions, to take such urgent action.

The draconian Bill was re-tabled in the Parliament of Uganda by Member of Parliament, David Bahati, on February 7, 2012. The Bill had its first reading and was referred to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for scrutiny. The Committee is expected to examine it and conduct public hearings, and then it will report back to the House for a formal debate on the Bill.


The Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 was first introduced in the Parliament of Uganda by Member of Parliament, David Bahati, as a Private Member’s Bill in October, 2009. The Bill proposes severe prison sentences, and in some cases the death penalty. It states that anyone who commits the offence of homosexuality will be liable to life imprisonment as the provisions, according to the Bill, are meant to “protect the traditional family by prohibiting any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex.” The Bill further states that “aggravated homosexuality” will be punished by death as it aims to ban all forms of expression advocating for homosexuality. It would also be an offence for a person who is aware of any violations of the Bill’s provisions not to report them to the authorities within 24 hours. Furthermore, the Bill proposes to criminalize the “promotion of homosexuality” which is a provision targeting civil society and human rights defenders. These and other provisions of the Bill go beyond targeting homosexuals, to affect families, human rights defenders, teachers, neighbors, friends, spiritual leaders, medical professionals, shop owners, to mention but a few.

Stand out and up against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 NOW. We have limited time. Resist this unconstitutional bill and take on one, some or all of the following actions;

1. Pass on this Call to Action to as many concerned Africans as you can and urge them to take action.

2. Write emails to and or call Ugandan Members of Parliament (MPs) urging them to resist and reject the Bill in its entirety because it is anti-human rights and affects every Ugandan in different ways. The full list of all 386 MPs can be found at Click on the MP’s name and you will get their email address and phone number. The MPs can also be contacted through social media such as Facebook. Just search for their name on Facebook and or Twitter.

3. Write to the President of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and urge him to reject this draconian proposed Bill in its entirety. Urge him to discourage further debate and consideration of the Bill by Parliament and to decline to sign this unconstitutional Bills into law. (Contacts below)

4. Write, call or fax the Inspector General of Police in Uganda, Major General Kale Kaihura, and urge him to ensure the protection of the human rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Uganda and those who defend LGBT people. This includes protection from both state and non-state actors who have started to take the law in their hands by harassing and violating LGBT Ugandans. (Contacts below)

5. Write, fax and or call the Minister of Justice in Uganda, Hon. Major General Kahinda Otafire, and the State Minister of Justice Hon. Fred Ruhindi and urge them to speak out against the unconstitutionality of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 and to discourage any further debate on the Bill. (Contacts below)

6. Write to the Minister of Health in Uganda, Hon. Dr. Christine Ondoa and bring to her attention the implications of this Bill on the fight against HIV/AIDS and on access to medical services by LGBT citizens. (Contacts below)

7. Write to the Cardinal of Uganda, His Eminence Emmanuel Wamala, and the Arch Bishop of the Church of Uganda , The Most Revd Henry Luke Orombi and urge them to stand out and up and oppose the Bill in its entirety. Tell them that homosexuals need their protection. Point out, to the Cardinal of the Catholic Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church which says in Article 6, 2358: The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. They are called to protect and not to remain silent amidst injustice and discrimination. (Contacts below)

8. Write, call, fax your Minister of Foreign Affairs and urge him/her to put pressure on the Government of Uganda against the further debating of the unconstitutional Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.

For more information, please contact;

Victor Mukasa

Advocacy Advisor for East Africa

Coalition of African Lesbians

Tel: +27 11 918 2182

Mobile: +27 78 436 3635


Fikile Vilakazi

Programs Director

Coalition of African Lesbians

Tel: +27 11 918 2182




The President of the Republic of Uganda

H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

Email:, cc:

The Inspector General of Police

Major-General Kale Kaihura

Tel: +256 414 258 114

Fax : +256 414 270 502

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs

Hon Maj.Gen Kahinda Otafire


Tel: +256-414- 230538

Fax: +256-414- 254829

State Minister of Justice

Hon. Fred Ruhindi


Minister of Health

Hon. Christine Ondoa

Tel: +256-414-340872

Mobile: +256772428346/ +256701428346

Fax: 256-41-4231584


The Cardinal of the Catholic Church

His Eminence Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala

Tel: +256 414 510389/510570/510544/510571

Fax: +256 41 510545

Archbishop of Uganda & and Bishop of Kampala

The Most Revd Henry Orombi


Tel: +256 414 270 218 / 9

Fax: +256 414 251 925


Meantime, in Egypt…

A wounded protester is rushed to a field hospital near Tahrir Square during clashes with Egyptian riot police in Cairo, on November 20, 2011. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

The people want a civilian government. The military? Not so much. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss? From the campuses of the University of California to the streets of Cairo, 2011 has been a year of teargas and blood. And the beat goes on. More photos from Tahrir Square here.

Colonialism as an excuse for Homophobia? India’s Health Minister calls being Gay a Western “Disease”

Mumbai Gay Rights Parade - Photograph: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images

We hear this over and over and over again from our gay friends in and from countries and regions that were once under colonial occupation. Homosexuality is cast as a disease brought in by European conquerers, foisted upon an unsuspecting population that had never know of such evils before. Sort of like smallpox-infected blankets.

As a Ugandan pal (not named here – for his protection) pointed out, in the case of sub-Saharan Africa, this nefarious discourse has the effect of making being gay not only a crime, not only a sin, but worse, a sort of Pan-African treason, a wholesale capitulation to the white man and his evil ways. In Uganda, the Anglican Church (which IS a Western import!) is the main vehicle for this evil propaganda.

This thinking is in full effect in India, too. Ghulam Nabi Azad, India’s minister of Health, addressed a conference on HIV/AIDS in New Delhi on Monday, saying: “Unfortunately this disease has come to our country too … where a man has sex with another man, which is completely unnatural and should not happen but does.” For the article published by The Guardian UK, click here.

Action Alert: Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill up for a vote tomorrow

This infamous piece of legislation, which would introduce a death penalty in Uganda for people found guilty of homosexual conduct, is up for a vote tomorrow.

Life is already bad in Uganda for LGBT people – all of my LGBT friends from there have had to flee from their lives, and have some of the most horrifying, brutal stories of any LGBT refugees I know.  The Gay Highwaymen did a story on David Kato’s murder in Uganda earlier this year.

Want to do something about it? Credo Action has introduced this petition, which it will deliver to the president of Uganda. has another petition, as well as instructions for how to call your country’s representative in Uganda. Please consider signing, calling, and voicing your concerns about this legislation.


Revolutionary Affection: More Eqyptian Soldier-kissing.

An Egyptian army officer greets anti-government protestors as he walks through Tahrir Square in Cairo February 12, 2011. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Everyone needs a hobby, and it is good to see soldier-kissing becoming so popular. Consider the advantages. It is entertaining for both the participants and the observers. It is non-violent. It is economical; a game for both rich and poor. And it is 100% green. Will soldier-kissing spread beyond Egypt? Will flash-mob kissing the ROTC become the new fad on American college campuses? Where might this lead? Is it a Slippery Slope? We can only hope! More soldier-kissing here. For a great take-off of Lady Gaga’s Telephone as performed by soldiers in Afghanistan, click here.

Death of a Ugandan Activist: Mourning, Reactions, and Action

News of the murder of David Kato, a prominent Ugandan gay activist who was outed in a Ugandan newspaper last year, has been spreading rapidly across the internet. (Previous Gay Highwaymen post here.) Many Western news sources have picked up the story (New York Times: Ugandan Who Spoke Up for Gays Is Beaten to Death”), which prompts me to have several thoughts:

This is terrible news – but at the same time, it isn’t news at all. From the LGBT activists I know around the world, I receive news of brutal murders of LGBT people all the time. Jamaica. Turkey. Uganda. I’m glad that David Kato’s tragic death is receiving the media coverage it deserves, but I’m surprised how many people seem surprised to hear that queer people are being murdered. An old activist slogan applies well in this case: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

As this story is discussed in the West, I hope that we can avoid some of the negative clichés that one hears far too often about LGBT rights and Africa. When news of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill hit the international airwaves last year, many Westerners condemned Ugandans (and Africans in general) as uncivilized and ignorant for considering this bill. But in doing so, they missed a crucial fact: much of the homophobia that produced this bill was imported to Uganda from the West. I don’t want to romanticize the past, but historical evidence suggests that homosexuality was tolerated much more in some pre-Christian African societies, than it is today. The missionaries who brought evangelical Christianity to Uganda also brought homophobia.

It’s a great irony: These conservative, virulently homophobic strains of Christianity that are repugnant to the majority of people in the countries that brought them to Uganda (and other African countries), are practiced enthusiastically in Africa. But how can Europeans and North Americans condemn Africans for these beliefs, and forget that the source (and, arguably, at least some of the responsibility) lies with their own countrymen?

I have received over 40 press releases from LGBT organizations around the world about David Kato’s death. Brazil. Kenya. Germany. Chile. England. Nigeria. Spain. United States. The outpouring of grief is overwhelming. David Kato’s work and his courage touched so many people. The world has lost a truly remarkable person, and extraordinarily brave activist.

Amidst the tears, I am glad to see that many of these groups are making the connections between anti-gay evangelical groups in the U.S. and the hostile climate in Uganda.Sharon Groves of the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C., wrote:

“Since at least 2009, radical U.S. Christian missionaries have added anti-gay conferences and workshops in Uganda to their anti-gay efforts in the U.S. – and now they’re beginning to ordain ministers and build churches across East Africa focused almost entirely on preaching against homosexuality.
These American extremists didn’t call for David’s death. But they created a climate of hate that breeds violence – and they must stop and acknowledge they were wrong.”

SoulForce of Abilene, Texas, concurs:

“[W]e call upon our colleagues in ministry who have contributed to the rise of homophobia in Uganda and around the world to repent of the kind of preaching and public pronouncement that vilify homosexuality as a sin and that purport to offer “cures” for sexual orientation.”

GetEQUAL DC has planned a “Breakfast Without Bigotry” to protest and expose the anti-LGBT group behind the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.:

“Join LGBTQ folks, people of good will and our religious leaders outside the National Prayer Breakfast as we expose “The Family” — the secretive group hosting it — and their dangerous, gay-hating programs in Uganda, the United States, and elsewhere, made possible by events such as this.”

The HRC has identified Scott Lively, Lou Engle, and Carl Ellis Jenkins, as 3 U.S.-based evangelists who are “stirring up hostility” toward LGBT people in Uganda.
If you wish to sign the HRC’s petition to urging these three to “Stop Exporting Hate,” you may find it at this link.

Aidan Dunn
re-posted from