LGBT rights in Africa

  1. Ghanaian activists call for release of LGBT members

    Thomas Naadi

    BBC News, Accra

    Civil society organisations are calling for the release of 21 LGBT people who were arrested in Ghana's Volta region.

    They were holding a meeting in the town of Ho on Thursday to discuss ways of protecting their rights in Ghana.

    The police said they were arrested and detained for promoting an LGBT agenda at an unlawful assembly.

    A court on Friday denied their bail application and the 21 are due to appear in court next week.

    It isn't unlawful to identify as LGBT in Ghana but sexual acts between males are illegal in the country.

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  2. Namibia allows entry to gay couple's twins

    Namibian citizen Phillip Luhl holds one of his twin daughters as he speaks to his Mexican husband Guillermo Delgado via Zoom meeting in Johannesburg,
    Image caption: Phillip Lühl and his husband have been battling for citizenship for their daughters

    Namibia has issued travel documents to twin infant daughters of a gay couple who have been in a legal fight to take them home from South Africa where they were born.

    Namibia's home affairs ministry, which confirmed issuing the documents, however said the move did not confer citizenship on the twins.

    Phillip Lühl, a Namibian, and his Mexican husband Guillermo Delgado have been battling for Namibian citizenship for their daughters, who were born in March to a surrogate in South Africa.

    The twins were refused entry to Namibia in April – with the authorities requiring that Mr Lühl prove a genetic link that he was the father of the children.

    However a new minister appointed in April, Albert Kawama, studied the earlier documents and "authorised the issuance of emergency travel certificates applied for", the AFP news agency reports.

    The couple have welcomed the decision, but noted that it had been disruptive to the family.

    Namibia forbids sexual contact between males but the law is rarely enforced.

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  4. Protests ahead of hearing on Namibia gay man's twins

    Esther Akello Ogola

    Women's Affairs Journalist, BBC News

    Protesters have taken to the streets in Namibia ahead of a court hearing on whether a gay father can return home from South Africa with his newborn twin daughters, who were born to a surrogate mother.

    Phillip Lühl says his daughters are stateless after the Namibian authorities refused to issue emergency travel papers.

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    He says the South African birth certificate recognises him and his Mexican husband (Guillermo Delgado) as the twins’ parents, not the surrogate mother.

    Namibia does not allow same-sex marriage.

    Activists have decried the government’s stance saying it is discriminatory and undermines equality especially for members of the LGBTQ community.

    Update: The ruling in this case is now due to be delivered on 19 April, meaning Mr Lühl and the twin girls must stay in South Africa until then.

  5. Video content

    Video caption: Members of Ghana’s LGBT community speak out about anti-gay discrimination

    Members of Ghana’s LGBT community speak out about the discrimination they face, after a centre for the community was forced to close amid an anti-gay backlash.

  6. Is Africa ready to talk LGBT rights?

    Alan Kasujja

    BBC Africa Daily

    A member of South Africa’s LGBT community holds an umbrella in the rainbow flag colours.

    Times are changing for LGBT Africans.

    In Angola, being in a same-sex relationship is no longer a crime, thanks to a new law that has just come into force.

    “This was a historical moment not just for me, but for the whole community in Angola”, says David Kanga, an LGBT activist in Luanda.

    And yet, well-rooted beliefs mean that life for the LGBT community there won’t change overnight.

    Just look at Ghana, where this week a number of religious groups have called for an LGBTQI resource centre in the capital to be shut.

    For long, LGBT Africans have struggled to come together and have their voices heard. But social media platforms finally provided them with a space to do so.

    “All this representation on social media is definitely changing other people’s attitudes”, says Florence Kyohangirwe, Sexual Minorities Editor at Minority Africa.

    Is it enough though? And what obstacles remain in the way of LGBT communities?

    Find out in Wednesday’s episode of Africa Daily.

    Subscribe to the show on BBC Sounds or wherever you get your podcasts.

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    Video caption: LGBT: Persecution at home made me an immigrant

    Faced with persecution from family and society, most LGBT members in Africa are left with no choice but to seek asylum in other countries.

  8. Gabon's senate votes to decriminalise homosexuality

    A gay couple
    Image caption: Homosexuality is still broadly seen as a social taboo in Gabon

    Gabon's senate has strongly voted in favour of decriminalising homosexuality, a week after the lower house in the national assembly voted for a similar change.

    If the move is ratified by the president, Gabon will become one of only a few African countries to legally allow homosexuality.

    A number of prominent politicians, as well as Christian and Muslim leaders, have reacted angrily, describing it as a change designed to appease foreign donors.

    Last year, the central African nation criminalised homosexuality and made gay sex punishable with six months in prison and a large fine. Activists said that the move had sent the LGBT community further underground and had led to harassment.

    Many African countries impose jail sentences on homosexuals, who are in some cases threatened with the death penalty.

  9. Gabon MPs vote to decriminalise homosexuality

    BBC World Service

    Two men holding hands
    Image caption: Homosexuality is still broadly seen as a social taboo in Gabon

    Members of Gabon's lower house of parliament have voted to decriminalise homosexuality.

    If the proposal is approved by the upper house and president, it could be one of the few countries in sub-Saharan Africa to reverse a law that punishes sexual relations between people of the same sex.

    Last year, the central African nation criminalised homosexuality and made gay sex punishable with six months in prison and a large fine.

    Activists said that had sent the LGBT community further underground and had led to harassment.

    Forty-eight members of parliament have now backed the proposal to change the 2019 law and lift the ban; half that number opposed the amendment.

    Same-sex marriage is still not allowed in Gabon, where homosexuality is still broadly seen as a social taboo.

    One MP in favour of keeping the ban said the lawmakers who had voted to legalise homosexuality had shaken the nation's customs and traditions.

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