Since January 2009, the US State Department requires a comprehensive and holistic human rights agenda including pressuring for the recognition and protection of the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In light of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling regarding the unconstitutionality of DOMA, it was great to see President Obama raise the issue in Senegal yesterday. I hope he continues to push the issue as he moves on to South Africa and Tanzania later this week.
In four African countries, homosexuality is punishable by death. But being killed by your government is often the least of the concerns of the LGBT community. In 2011, Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was murdered. That same year, Noxolo Nogwaza was raped, stabbed and beaten in South Africa-apparently based on her sexual orientation. Noxolo was a gay rights activist in her community. Her killer(s) have not been caught despite our pressure for a proper investigation of her murder. Currently, two men are in prison in Zambia facing criminal penalties, subjected to forcible anal examination by the government, on allegations of homosexuality.
Amnesty released a report this week, Making Love A Crime, on the status of discrimination and anti-homosexuality laws in sub-Saharan Africa. Considering Mr. Obama took the time out during his travels to call the plaintiffs in the landmark gay rights cases before the Supreme Court after the announcement of the decisions, it is expected he similarly carves time into his agenda to speak up for gay rights in Africa while he is there. All the information he needs is in our report.
Help us urge Mr. Obama to continue to speak out on behalf of the LGBT community in Africa. Stand with us as we demand justice for Noxolo, brutally murdered for who she was and the work she did. The US took one more giant step closer yesterday to removing all barriers and obstacles to love. Africans deserve the same.