Box Turtle Bulletin reports on the anti-gay rhetoric and actions in Liberia while news of a new gay and lesbian publication emerges from Sudan:
Liberia seems to be following a very familiar pattern. First, Liberia’s former first lady Sen. Jewel Howard Taylor (whose husband is being tried for war crimes in The Hague) introduced legislation making homosexuality a first degree felony, which reportedly could result in imprisonment of from ten years to life, or a death sentence at the discretion of the judge. Now fylers are being distributed in Monroeville, Liberia’s capital, by a group calling itself the Movement against Gays in Liberia (MOGAL), saying that those involved in gay rights “should not be given space to get a gulp of air“
Despite President Barack Obama’s announced policy stating that respecing the basic human rights of LGBT people will become a foreign policy focus, the AP reports that the Embassy in Monrovia has kept quiet, and is wary of being seen as ““seeking to impose Western values on more conservative African societies,” according to a spokesman in Washington.
Also, according to The Independent, Tony Blair sat silent when confronted with the anti-gay statements from Liberian President Sirleaf:
Sitting alongside Mr Blair in a joint interview, Nobel peace prize-winner President Sirleaf was questioned about the laws. “We like ourselves just the way we are. We’ve got certain traditional values that we would like to preserve,” she told the Guardian. Mr Blair, who was visiting the country in his capacity as the founder of the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), a charity that aims to strengthen African governments, remained silent.
The Washington Post story is here.
From the Sudan comes news of the launch of an online magazine and ray of hope for LGBT Sudanese.
From Pink News:
A new online LGBT magazine in Sudan, north Africa, will offer an opportunity for the country’s gay people to start discussing their lives and hopes for the future. This is a first for the country, where homosexuality is still punishable by death.
Rainbow Sudan publishes articles discussing topics including being gay in Sudan, the history of homosexuality in the country, Islam and sexuality, being lesbian and Muslim, poetry and more.
Sudan is one of the strictest countries in the world to criminalise homosexuality. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal and, according to Article 148, capital punishment applies to a man or woman engaging in such acts.
Punishments also include lashes and imprisonment.
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