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Evolution of Kenya LGBT Rights and Spaces Since 2008.

| February 18th, 2013 | Comments Off

By David Kuria Founding Director, Gay and Lesbian Coalition Kenya (GALCK) August 2012 Here is update on the LGBT situation in Kenya for our LGBT community in recent years. I have focused on the broader picture of the movement and the social scene. Having been involved as the first director, of Galck, it is likely that I have presented a much more rosy picture than may be the actual case, though I tried to be as objective as possible. Introduction The Gay and Lesbian Coalition (GALCK) in their website (www.galck.org) say LGBT spaces and groups have expanded exponentially since 2008. GALCK is an umbrella organization bringing together a membership of six organizations including, ISHTAR MSM, Gay Kenya, Minority Women in Action, Transgender Education and Advocacy, Afra Kenya and PEMA Kenya. The latter is based in Mombasa – the Kenyan coastal town. Thus of the original nine members only three remain

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Gay Life in Angola

| January 13th, 2013 | Comments Off

Compiled by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com February 2012 Introduction A rare glimpse into gay life in Angola where the social environment is toxic for LGBT  people. Because they are an invisible population, gays are ignored in government health planning, “there are not enough gays to worry about” said one official. To cover their truth, many Angolan gays use marriage as a way of avoiding harm, but once married, continue to have occasional sex with other men. In many cases, the casual sex does not involve the use of condoms. In Angola, a commonly-held assumption that only men with feminine mannerisms are homosexual means that many who have sex with other men do not self-identify as gay.   PlusNews http://www.plusnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=78814 19 June 2008 Invisible and vulnerable Luanda – It was a wedding that pulled out all the stops, including a party at the Marine Club on the island of Luanda and a

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Being Gay in Algeria Today

| January 13th, 2013 | Comments Off

Intro: Living their sexuality mostly in hiding, the gays of Algeria are cautiously more evident, but face a reactionary social mentality. The penal code severely condemns homosexuality so gays are faced with major difficulties for meeting or socializing. The Internet is helpful but finding privacy is a problem.   Source: Gay Maroc By Slimane September 13, 2010 [translation by F. Young] Algiers With its suburbs, its minarets and its streets where pedestrians stroll by, an air of tranquility lives in this city bathed by the sea and the sun. It is 10 a.m. Salim, 25, a hairdresser who looks like a model, leaves his home on foot to go to work. A resident of the popular Badjarah neighbourhood East of Algiers, he is one of the gays that live in hiding. Although he smiles for his customers, he doesn’t hide his despair. “I wonder why I’m not like the others,”

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Tunisia, La Marsa & Gammarth Towns

| January 1st, 2013 | Comments Off

La Marsa is an upscale suburban town north of the capital of Tunis, located on the Mediterranean Sea. It is a pleasant beach town and popular in the summer with many restaurants and a few hotels. It is also home to numerous affluent Tunisians and expats who enjoy the ambiance. I rented an apartment here during my visit and took the local TGM tram into Tunis each day; on the way the tram goes through the ancient town of Carthage. The next town north of La Marsa is a wealthy place called Gammarth, famous for the five-star hotels, fine beaches, the French war cemetery as well as destroyed mansions of the former corrupt president Ben Ali.   Posted Gabes, Tunisia.

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Tunisia, Sidi Bou Said Town

| December 31st, 2012 | Comments Off

Sidi Bou Said is a small suburban town near Tunis. The town itself is an attractive tourist location known for the extensive use of blue and white colors on buildings. Here is located the former palace of Rodolfe d’Erlanger, a wealthy French banker who built his manse overlooking the sea between 1909 and 1921. He named it Ennejma Ezzahra (sometimes spelled Nejma Ezzohara). The grand structure now houses the Centre des Musiques Arabes et Méditerranéennes, a music school. He helped to revive the musical genre known as ‘ma’luf’ during the 1920s. He transposed the Arabic musical scale to that of Western music, maintaining his own orchestra of Arab musicians to do so. He is also known for his six-volume work about the history of Arabic music. Rodolfe was an accomplished painter whose art works hang throughout the palace and in numerous museums. He lived from 1872 to 1932 and died

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Tunisia, Tunis World War II Cemeteries

| December 31st, 2012 | Comments Off

There are two war cemeteries in the Tunis area where the World War II dead are buried. One is American, in Carthage, and the other is French, in Gammarth. The Battle of Tunisia occurred from 17 November 1942 to 13 May 1943. Also called the Tunisia Campaign, it was a series of battles that took place in Tunisia during the North African Campaign of the Second World War, between Axis and Allied forces. The Allies consisted of British Imperial Forces, including Polish and Greek contingents, with American and French corps. British and Commonwealth losses amounted to 38,360 men; 6,233 killed, 21,528 wounded, and 10,599 missing. Free French losses accumulated to 19,439 men; 2,156 killed, 10,276 wounded, and 7,007 missing. American losses amounted to 18,221 men; 2,715 killed, 8,978 wounded, and 6,528 missing. Over 230,000 German and Italian troops were taken as prisoners of war, including most of the Afrika Korps.

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Tunisia, Carthage Ruins

| December 30th, 2012 | Comments Off

Modern Carthage is an upscale suburb of Tunis, Tunisia, with a population of about 22,000. Ancient Carthage is believed to have been founded in the 8th century BC then destroyed by warfare with Rome in the 3rd Puni war (149 BC to 146 BC). It was rebuilt by Rome in the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD to become one of the great cities of the empire. After the fall of the Romans the Byzantines and Vandals ruled the city, eventually followed by the Arabs. The city has existed for nearly 3,000 years. The former magnificence of the city is hard to overstate.   Posted Gabes, Tunisia.

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Tunisia, Tunis Medina

| December 29th, 2012 | Comments Off

The medina (souq) marketplace is the ancient core of Tunis, since the 7th century. Narrow alleyways are lined with hundreds of tiny shops and stalls selling everything from ladies underwear to sweet pastries. Every corner is a different scene, from pizza bakeries to cafes with hookah pipes for rent. Its crowded, colorful and noisy. The main mosque is Zaytouna that dates from the 8th century. Some of the mosque’s columns were taken from the ruins of nearby Carthage, not an easy task since a single column weighs several tons. During the French occupation of Tunisia in the 19-20th centuries the city grew far beyond the medina and is now a modern city of 2.5 million people.   Posted Gabes, Tunisia.

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Tunisia, Bardo Museum

| December 28th, 2012 | Comments Off

The Bardo Museum in the capital city of Tunis contains the world’s largest collection of Roman mosaics as well as hundreds of Roman and Greek eras bronze and marble statuary. It was recently enlarged and renovated to better display the thousands of artifacts of Tunisia’s ancient history.    Posted Gabes, Tunisia.

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Gay Life in Tunisia

| December 26th, 2012 | Comments Off

Introduction There are countless reports from many Arab/Muslim societies about persecution, harassment or imprisonment of gay citizens, from Egypt to Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia where intolerance is the common rule. But Tunisia has a history of moderation and balance between Western and Muslim ideas and lifestyles. Indeed, I saw many Mercedes and BMWs and upscale Euro-style clothing and homes in Tunis. Ironically much of this happened under the 24-year governance of a corrupt and dictatorial president who was driven from office in early 2011 that started the infamous ‘Arab Spring.’ For this story I did not meet LGBT people who were living in fear or shame. This is not to suggest LGBT Tunisians are out and free. Most are not and they live within the confines and closets imposed by conservative Muslim dictates of modesty and discretion. The people I interviewed were fortunate not to be fearful in their

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For Gays and Lesbians Apartheid is Alive and Well

| October 28th, 2012 | Comments Off

Last night on PBS a drama titled ‘Endgame’ was broadcast nationwide that focused on the intense and delicate negotiations in South Africa in the late 1980’s that brought down apartheid and brought a new dawn of democracy in that tormented country. It was a gripping drama of real life brought close up with cameras, script and fine acting by players who had not previously been privy to the dangers and risks of the political and murderous chess match. At any one time, any one of the historical figures could have been assassinated, including Nelson Mandela whose release from 27 years in prison was the keystone to the new order of life in South Africa. I couldn’t help thinking of the poignant parallel between the South African apartheid mentality that justified so much killing and violence, and the ongoing apartheid of today that continues against homo-affectional citizens around the world that

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Gay Kenya Continues Out and Proud in 2012

| September 5th, 2012 | Comments Off

Homosexuality in Kenya continues to be a controversial issue, but gay rights advocates continue their advocacy for equality and tolerance. The most vigorous organization is Gays and Lesbians Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) founded in 2004 which leads the struggle for gay Kenyans everywhere.   Evolution of LGBT Rights and Spaces since 2008 This report was composed by David Kuria (photo right), former longtime director of GALCK. Last year he resigned from that position to run for public office in the Kenyan senate. His first bid was unsuccessful, not surprising since he was the first openly gay person ever to run for parliament in Kenya. He is currently campaigning for office once again, hoping for victory in the March 2013 election. (Financial donations for his campaign are welcome.) The Gay and Lesbian Coalition – GALCK – in their website  say LGBT spaces and groups have expanded exponentially since 2008.   GALCK

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Gay Cruise Ship Forbidden Morocco Landing

| July 2nd, 2012 | Comments Off

This is an outrageous and offensive event: Gay Cruise Ship Forbidden Morocco Landing This is clearly homophobia whipped up by local media hysteria, despite no official government ban. “Morocco’s Tourism Minister Lahcen Haddad said no official decision had been made to prevent the ship from stopping in Morocco.” Too bad  the ship captain didn’t take a passenger vote on this. A landing could have caused a stir in port that might have awakened Morocco to its discriminatory policies–and awakened Holland American Cruise Lines to it’s inadvertent support of anti-gay governments. Refusing to land cruise ships in homophobic countries (especially in Africa and Caribbean) can mean the loss of big tourist dollars and force these regimes to reconsider their irrational and anti-human rights policies. Being gay IS, unfortunately,  political and we all need to push for equality, even when on holiday. We are always human and always feel the pain of

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Gay Life in Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

| March 1st, 2012 | Comments Off

Compiled by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com March 2012 Introduction The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is a partially recognised state that claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. On Feb. 27, 1976, the Polisario Front formally proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and set up a government in exile, initiating a guerrilla war between the Polisario and Morocco, which continued until a 1991 cease-fire. As part of the peace accords, a referendum was to be held among indigenous people, giving them the option between independence or inclusion to Morocco. However, to date the referendum has not been held because of questions over who is eligible to vote. LGBT People in the SADR There is virtually nothing to be found on the internet about LGBT people of Western Sahara. But given the fact that Muslims make up nearly 100% of the population of the area  the

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Gay Life in Cape Verde

| February 29th, 2012 | Comments Off

Compiled by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com March 2012   Introduction Posted here are some stories and reports about LGBT life in Cape Verde. There is little internet insight into the actual lives of gay Verdean other than the one essay by Ivalindo, native of Cape Verde (see #4) some indirect references. Being Africa there is the usual homophobia in society, yet also being Portuguese and European there seems to be less intensity to discrimination.   (1) Country Description The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 ams off the coast of Northwestern Africa. The previously uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th Century, and became important in the Atlantic slave trade for their location. The islands’ prosperity often attracted privateers and pirates, including Sir Francis Drake, a corsair (privateer) under the authority

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Gay Life in São Tomé and Príncipe

| February 28th, 2012 | Comments Off

  Compiled by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com February 2012 Introduction Not surprising there is virtually no recent insight about LGBT life on this small two island nation. There is one short story, posted below, about a gay man in 2003 whose experience and attitude were expressed thus:  “Several people here know I’m gay, and it has NO bearing on my daily life. The overall philosophy being ‘Live and let live’, no one seems to care. I was approached once by a local and that relationship lasted a while. People knew – or at least suspected – what was going on, and it affected no one’s life, in or outside the bedroom.” That was in 2003. Since then homophobia has spread across Africa like a plague and countless LGBT people have been killed or persecuted. On the mainland homophobic legislators are trying to outdo one another with proposed anti-gay statutes, especially since

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Gay Life in Lesotho

| February 27th, 2012 | Comments Off

Compiled by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com February 2012   Introduction Male same-sex sexual acts are illegal in Lesotho—a sharp contrast to South Africa, which completely surrounds the country. Lesotho law does not address sexual orientation.  LGBT people face discrimination in employment, housing, access to health care, access to education, or other areas. Homosexual conduct is taboo in the society, and is not openly discussed. But that is now being challenged. Following here are five reports that offer some insight into LGBT life in Lesotho.   (1) First, some Good News About Gay Life in Lesotho: LGBTI Support Group Registered in Lesotho By Fiona Coyle, HIV & AIDS Officer, UNDP In what has been described by activists as a significant milestone for the Lesotho Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, transgender and Inter-gender (LGBTI) communities, November 2010 saw the registration of MATRIX support group as a Non-Profit Organisation by the Lesotho Law Office. Men who

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Gay Life in Swaziland

| February 27th, 2012 | Comments Off

Compiled by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com February 2012 Introduction Off to a bad start: “Very little information is available on same-sex couples in Swaziland and no gay organizations are involved in the government anti-HIV campaign. The Gays and Lesbians Association of Swaziland (GALESWA), formed in the 1990s, has only one known member. The constitution does not safeguard the rights of homosexuals, and sodomy laws dating from the early 20th century are still on the books. King Mswati has reportedly called same-sex relationships “satanic”, and Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini has called homosexuality “an abnormality and a sickness.” (Read full story at Behind the Mask) Corrupt Monarchy Swaziland is an absolute monarchy, and the morally corrupt King Mswati III (with 13 wives and numerous opulent palaces in his impoverished country) has ultimate authority over the cabinet, legislature, and judiciary. According to the 2007 census, the population was 1.02 million. There is a prime

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Gay Life in Mali

| February 26th, 2012 | Comments Off

Introduction Neither male or female same-sex sexual activity is specifically prohibited in Mali, but public laws may be used against LGBT persons. According to the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, 98% of Mali residents said that homosexuality should be rejected by society, making it the highest rejection of homosexuality in the 44 countries surveyed.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Mali) US State Department Human Rights Report for Mali (2010) http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154357.htm In Mali, there were no publicly visible lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations in the country. The free association of LGBT organizations was impeded by a law prohibiting association “for an immoral purpose”; in 2005 the then governor of the District of Bamako cited this law to refuse official recognition to a gay rights association. Although there was no official discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, in practice, societal discrimination was widespread. Societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS occurs. The government implemented campaigns

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Gay Life in Liberia

| February 25th, 2012 | Comments Off

Compiled by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com February 2012 Introduction Not surprising, homophobia continues its march across sub-Saharan Africa unabated in 2012 as Liberia lawmakers take their turn in proposing hateful anti-gay discriminatory laws. Two lawmakers in Liberia have introduced bills that could make homosexuality more dangerous than it already is. In a cruel twist of fate the former Liberian first lady Jewel Haward Taylor, who was certainly complicit in the slaughter of thousands during her husband’s (Charles Taylor) reign of terror in Liberia, is now a senator; she has proposed to amend the country’s laws to specifically forbid same-sex marriage. Her proposed amendment to marriage laws reads, “No two persons of the same sex shall have sexual relations. A violation of this prohibition will be considered a first degree felony.” First degree punishment can range from 10 years to life imprisonment to the death sentence, on the discretion of the judge. Not

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Gay Life in Madagascar

| February 25th, 2012 | Comments Off

Compiled by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com February 2012 Introduction From: US State Department Human Rights Report Madagascar, with a population of more than 20 million, is ruled by an unelected and illegal civilian regime that assumed power in a March 2009 coup with military support. Andry Nirina Rajoelina adopted the title of president of the transition, at the head of a loose coalition of former opposition politicians, and intends to remain in this position until elections are held. Former president Marc Ravalomanana, democratically elected in 2006 is in exile, and the parliament has remained suspended since then. In defiance of a negotiated agreement with the African Union (AU) and local political leaders, the regime failed to establish a legitimate transitional administration that would oversee free and open elections for the restoration of a legal government. Military leaders continue to assert their autonomy from the current political leadership, despite their tacit support

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Gay Life in Eritrea

| February 24th, 2012 | Comments Off

Compiled by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com February 2012 Introduction The news from Eritrea is not good in general and worse for LGBT citizens. Homosexual acts are illegal in Eritrea. Same-sex sexual activity is prohibited in Section II of the penal code from 1960. Article 600 “unnatural carnal offences” can be punished for internment for between 10 days and 3 years. The U.S. Department of State‘s 2010 Human Rights Report found that, in 2010, LGBT individuals continue to be prosecuted under article 600 of the penal code. During the year there were unconfirmed reports that the government carried out periodic roundups of individuals considered gay and lesbian, and gays and lesbian faced severe societal discrimination. The government accused foreign governments of promoting the practice to undermine the government. There were uncorroborated reports that known gays and lesbians in the armed forces were subjected to severe abuse. There were no known lesbian, gay,

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Gay Life in Sierra Leone

| February 24th, 2012 | Comments Off

Compiled by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com February 2012 Introduction Ever since independence from England in 1961 (since 1808) the Sierra Leone government and society have preferred to deny the existence of lesbians and gay men.  But since the turn of the 21st century African homosexuality has become a flashpoint of conflict between old biblical/koranic colonial ideas and progressive human rights activism. Sierra Leone is no exception and today male same-sex sexual activity is illegal with possible life imprisonment as punishment. Social attitudes are hostile to homosexuality and cross-dressing because of religious beliefs. Most citizens subscribe to Christian or Muslim traditional gender roles and are expected to abstain from sexual activity outside of a traditional marriage. Nevertheless, in 2011, the first major study was conducted regarding homosexuality: (1) Breaking The Silence: First Government Study Of MSM In Sierra Leone From Behind The Mask July 15, 2011 by Akoro Joseph Sewedo, Arcus Correspondent

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Gay Life in Niger

| February 23rd, 2012 | Comments Off

Compiled by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com February 2012 Introduction Same-sex sexual activity is technically legal, most likely only because it is not mentioned in the criminal statutes of Niger because most authorities do not think it exists in their country. Of course, there are no anti-discrimination laws for LGBT citizens and no ‘community’. The U.S. Department of State’s 2010 Human Rights Report found that “there were no known organizations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender persons and no reports of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, gay persons experienced societal discrimination.” (http://paei.state.gov/documents/organization/160137.pdf) (1) A Different Kind of LGBT Life in Niger From: www.rainbowfund.org In contrast to the usual stories of LGBT persecution and homophobia, here is a different sort of gay presence in Niger: a charity engaged in humanitarian efforts to relieve suffering. (photo: Niger women; credit galenfrysinger.com) Niger is an impoverished, landlocked country in

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Gay Life in Chad

| February 23rd, 2012 | Comments Off

Compiled by Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com February 2012 Introduction Chad is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world; most inhabitants live in poverty as subsistence herders and farmers. Since 2003, crude oil has become the country’s primary source of export earnings, superseding the traditional cotton industry. Chad is considered a failed state by the Fund for Peace (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chad) Unlike other African countries,Chad is seen to offer little to the outside world, with its poor transport infrastructure including 33,400km of roads of which just 267km are paved. Chad also is off putting to visitors because of its high cost of living. Child trafficking for sexual and other exploitation remains a major concern about Chad. Many children are taken for domestic servitude and other forms of labour both in Chad and to other neighboring nations, and there is also evidence of commercial sexual exploitation of children from Cameroon and

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