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Friday, 28 June, 2002, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Homosexuality in Africa
The issue of homosexuality has excited deep and often extreme reactions in Africa.
In Uganda, for example, the pracitce - referred to as "carnal knowledge of another against the order of nature" - has been outlawed by president Museveni, while Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe claimed homosexuals were "worse than pigs and dogs."
But South Africa has the most permissve gay rights legislation in the whole world, and also hosts several successful Gay Pride marches. Meanwhile events such as the Gay Games are well-attended by people from throughout the continent.
What do you think?
Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Human beings believe they are superior to animals like dogs, cats etc. Why do we have to go below them through our behaviors like homosexuality? A homosexual, I believe, is a person who belongs to another planet not ours and therefore should be treated that way may be to be taken to a different planet. They do not belong on this planet Earth. They are strange and foreign beings. Are they from Mars, Jupiter? You tell us!
Osa Davies, United Kingdom
Of the many things that are stymying progress and development in the continent of Africa, certainly ignorance and disrespect for the lives of others are chief amongst them. I don't think the African continent can afford itself the luxury of being hateful and intolerant. There is far more at stake than any vapid "principles of moral conduct".
Homosexuality is neither an abhoration nor an affront to anything. It is surprising that in a continent such as Africa, a continent that has known the lash of senseless discrimination, some people continue to view the dehumanisation of a particular group of human beings as legitimate or acceptable. Fools.
Much as society sees everything wrong with homosexuality, there is more to blame on society than the individual(s). For instance when one is about 24 without a girlfriend people with start assuming the person is gay. The bottom line is that sometimes one is just so serious with attaining a goal in life that chasing girls as well as attaining that goal will mean making difficult choices. Obviously, one can't look into one bottle with two eyes. Like I say everyday, there are two sins in life; to be poor and live poor. Avoid one.
Does homosexuality really not exist in any traditional African societies? Or have the traditional societies simply turned a blind eye to it, therefore, not politicising the issue as Western societies have recently done? This is an important question. Many people seem to think that homosexuality is a Western import to Africa, whereas I suspect it is a part of every society, it's just a matter of how widespread the awareness and the understanding of it is.
On a personal level, I think homosexuality is extremely immoral. But it is not up to me to decide what others should do and believe, therefore I do not think anyone should be denied something that does not directly harm another.
Homosexuals will not go away just because they have been denied some rights. We were all created with free will - and everyone is accountable for their actions. So I think that all should mind their ps and qs when it comes to personal matters such as these. Bottom line is that everyone of us is human before they are anything else.
I personally feel that homosexuality does not have a role in our society, therefore this is no right for homosexual in the first place in Africa to be respected.
John Ernest Tokpah, Liberian in Minnesota, USA
I dont know what makes people homosexuals but after talking to a few close friends who are gay, I think that it is not their choice to be gay. Denying them their rights to live the way they have to is total deprivation of their rights to live as human beings. That is exactly what is hapening to gay people in africa. I think the african society should face up to reality and accept that some men are just homosexuals and nothing else. Democratic governments have a big role to play by making it unlawful to discriminate and chastise gay men and lesbians.
If Africa is willing to throw away its culture and ethics only to the Western culture and principles and be a fool for the second time, then yes, Africa should to respect the right of the homosexuals. But the continient should be ready to face more health problems than ever. To be in the safer side I suggest that African governments should go all out to suppress the practices and the rights of those people until there are enough medical facilities are in place. Othewise do not attempt because there will be no way out poverty and diseases.
Although homosexuality continues to be a subject of controversy even within the Christian community in the West, it has been consistently condemned as a practice in Christianity and African Traditional Religions in Africa. We are aware that there are persons who have formed homosexual behavior, or have that orientation toward persons of the same sex by either poor parenting or hormonal activities during development. We sympathize with them, but we don't give them any rights or respect their behavior. We respect them as human beings created in God's image, but we literally dispected and reject their pseudo-dichotomy of homosexual orientation and homosexual desires as opposed to the Creator's original will. Principles of moral conduct must not be changed with time in the name of tolerance or human rights. I therefore call on the whole world to disrespect homosexuality and all its privileges.
Africa has no right to respect gays at all according to African tradition and even the Bible. In fact the act of gay is immoral and should be condemmed by all civilized nations of the world.
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