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FOCUS - Africa N. 3 - 20/02/2015

 The hard life of LGBTI people in Africa. The cases of Uganda and South Africa in context

LGBTI people are highly vulnerable and easy targets in Africa. They are exposed to prejudice, discrimination, criminalization and violence. According to recent data, solid majorities across age groups, gender, class and ethnic groups share the opinion that homosexuality should not be accepted by society (98% in Nigeria, 96% in Senegal, Ghana, and Uganda, 90% in Kenya). Even in South Africa, where discrimination based on sexual orientation is unconstitutional, homosexual conduct and same-sex marriages are fully legal, and homosexual couples have access to adoption (with all the same rights and duties as heterosexual couples), 61% of people assert that homosexuality should be rejected by society.“Africa has over time been perceived as the continent that is almost entirely against rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. The reasons for this have often been cited as religion, culture and the general ‘unAfricanness’ of homosexuality. A large section of the African society considers homosexuality as a western import”. Building on the overview of discriminatory and criminalizing legislation that is present in the large majority of African countries, the article discusses, on the one hand, the success and the shadows of the only African country that has a progressive legislation and relatively strong LGBTI movements: South Africa. On the other hand,  it discusses the impact of the recourse to courts where homophobic discourse is used by decision-makers as a powerful instrument to gain cheap political consensus, as  is the case of Uganda. The question of the pertinence of legislation and case-law as means for social change lies at the core of the article... (segue)

Constitutional Court of Uganda, sent. of 01/08/2014 on the Anti-Homosexuality Act 

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