In the early hours of October 3rd 12 people who had earlier attended the Johannesburg Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade, were arrested at a private house by police in Vosloorus. Witnesses reported that the police used pepper spray and used homophobic abuse at the 12. The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project reported…..
This harassment of lesbian and gay people as well as other marginalized members of communities is not an isolated event. Last year following the Ekurhuleni Pride March in Kwa-Thema, eight lesbians reported being attacked by the police for their sexual orientation, a matter still subject for completion at the same SAPS station and Magistrate Court in Vosloorus. On Heritage weekend this year 5 lesbians and gay men, who asked the police for directions to the Soweto Pride after-party in Kliptown, were held hostage, verbally abused and driven around for hours.
The charges against the 12 have now been dropped but activists are calling for an investigation into the actions of the police. [See here for video report]
Kenyan parliamentary minister, Esther Murugi made a statement recommending “more tolerance towards men who have sex with men” in Kenya. The statement was made in the context of a “National symposium on the most at risk” to HIV/AIDS in Mombassa, being able to access information and treatment without fear of arrest or social exclusion. In response Christian and Muslim religious leaders have begun calling for Ms Murgui’s resignation for “promoting unAfrican acts”. Although same sex relationships remain criminalised in Kenya with punishment of up to 14 years, the government has chosen to include MSM in the country’s HIV programme.
The incoming Anglican Archbishop of Rwanda, Onesphore Rwaje, has promised to continue to fight against homosexuality in the country. On a positive note, last December, the Rwandan government changed it’s mind on the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill with the Minister for Justice following pressure from African and International LGBT organisations declaring.
“The government I serve and speak for on certain issues cannot and will not in any way criminalize homosexuality; sexual orientation is a private matter and each individual has his or her own orientation — – this is not a State matter at all,” said Karugarama.
Once again the Uganda media has outed “100” LGBTI people, including names and photos placing everyone at risk of violence in their communities. Disturbingly, some of the photos were taken from Facebook profiles – a reminder that despite all the privacy settings, activists on Facebook remain vulnerable to abuse. For this reason I have chosen not to publish the photos.