State-sponsored homophobia in Olympic nations (part 1)

State-sponsored homophobia in Olympic nations (part 1)

The world has gone mad for the Olympics games.  We celebrate that sport, not war, has brought 205 nations together in competition.  There are 21 openly gay athletes at this year’s village.  Diversity reigns in the Olympic games!  But sport isn’t the only thing bringing these 205 countries together.

This the first article in a 5 part series about gay rights in Olympic nations.  Let’s start with the continent of Africa.

In Tanzania the law is complex, but the minimum penalty is 20 years in prison.  Angola, on the other hand, hasn’t specifically outlawed being gay, but it does sentence “habitual” offenders to hard-labour.  It isn’t alone – Burundi also use this approach which begs the question, how can one habitually break a law that doesn’t exist?  Fortunately for Africa, Djibouti has answered this question: people are commonly arrested for being gay, although there is no law against it.

To get around the lack of illegality in homosexual acts Mali uses public indecency laws to arrest and detain gay organisers without trial.

Other countries have moved outside statute law entirely: Sharia law is used to prosecute LBGT people in Egypt.  Mauritanian law requires a 15 year prison sentence for gays, but if you’re found to be a gay in Mauritania, chances are you will stoned to death under Sharia Law.  In Serria Leone they don’t bother with having a legal framework – gay advocates are routinely and brutually murdered, usually by gangs of men who try to first rape lesbians to help them understand the errors of their ways.

In the western world we could be forgiven for thinking that things are getting better, but globally speaking they’re not.  Some countries like Burundi have only outlawed homosexuality in the past few years.  In Sierra Leone gay advocates are routinely murdered with no investigation into the death.  In spite of signing the UN Declaration on human sexuality and identity, some African countries like Mauritius haven’t changed the law (Mauritius is still sending gays to prison for 5 years).  Lesbianism is legal, though.  Swaziland, where male homosexuality is illegal on religious grounds, is also fine with female homosexuality – I’m guessing because Swaziland’s straight males want to watch.

Not content to outlaw homosexuality, Zimbabwe has also criminalised any behaviour “perceived as homosexual”. Our sources suggest this would include a man participating in Masterchef, playing netball or frisby or joining any of those Idol television shows.  Since 1995, the government has active programs aimed at rooting out the homosexual menace: including infiltrating gay groups, torture, imprisonment and the “disappearance” of gay organisers.

As you can tell from the table below; only one country gets the gold-medal for gay rights – that’s South Africa, where not only is being gay legal, but anti-discrimination laws are in place and gay marriage is encouraged.  Frankly none of the others even qualify.

In the next installment we will look at LBGT rights in Asian Olympic countries.

In the Olympics big countries have an advantage over smaller countries – more population means more chances for genetic abnormalities that lead to uber-sportsmen.  One of our supporters has normalised Olympic results by population – so that we can work out who is really winning the games – it makes for interesting reading.

Africa
Country Legal? Protection? Marriage? Comments
Algeria 2 years in Prison No No
Angola No No No Not specifically outlawed, yet habitual offenders are sentenced to hard-labour.
Benin Legal No No
Botswana 7 years in Prison Some No
Burkina Faso Legal No No
Burundi 2 years in prison No No Only made illegal November 2008
Cameroon 5 years in prison No No
Cape Verde Legal No No
Central African Republic Legal No No
Chad Legal No No
Comoros 5 years in prison No No
Congo Legal No No
Côte d’Ivoire Legal No No
Djibouti Unclear No No People are commonly arrested for being gay, although there is no law against being gay
DR Congo Legal No No
Egypt No No No There is no specific law against being gay, however people are arrested, tried and imprisoned for being homosexuality under Sharia law.
Equator. Guinea Legal No No
Eritrea 3 years in prison No No
Ethiopia 5 years in prison No No
Gabon Legal No No
Gambia 14 years in Prison No No
Ghana Illegal for men, legal for women No No Linked to statutory rape provisions – adult, consensual sex is a misdeamour
Guinea 3 years in Prison No No
Guinea-Bissau Legal No No
Kenya 14 years No No Female not specifically covered by criminal code
Lesotho Illegal No No
Liberia Illegal (fine) No No
Libya 5 years in Prison No No
Madagascar
Malawi 14 years in prison No No
Mali Illegal No No Technically legal, usually prosecuted under laws prohibiting “public indecency” and “immoral clubs”
Mauritania 15 years in prison to death by stoning No No Even though Penal code says 15 years in prison.  People are routinely sentenced to death by stoning under Sharia Law
Mauritius 5 years in Prison No No Signed UN declaration on human sexuality and identity, hasn’t changed the law.  Lesbianism is legal.
Morocco 3 years in Prison No No
Mozambique Legal Some No
Namibia Illegal, not enforced No No
Niger Legal No No
Nigeria 14 years in Prison No No In areas not under Sharia law, Lesbianism is legal
Rwanda Legal No No
S.Tome & Principe Illegal No No Was meant to be decriminalised in 2011
Senegal 5 years in Prison No No
Seychelles Legal Some No Decriminalisation is proposed – the employment act also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Sierra Leone Life in prison No No Gay advocates are routinely murdered, with no investigation.
Somalia 3 years No No
South Africa Legal Yes Yes
Sudan 5 years minimum, up to death penalty No No
Swaziland No No No Illegal on religious grounds.  Lesbianism is legal
Tanzania Life in prison No No The law is complex, but minimum penalty is 20 years in Prison
Togo 3 years prison No No
Tunisia 3 years prison No No
Uganda Life in prison No No In a stunning display gender-equality, lesbianism was outlawed in 2000.
Zambia 14 years in prison No No
Zimbabwe Death penalty imposed without trial. No No Not content to outlaw homosexuality, Zimbabwe has also criminalised any behaviour “perceived as homosexual”. Our sources suggest this would include a man participating in Masterchef, playing netball or frisby or joining any of those Idol television shows.  Since 1995 the government has active programs aimed at rooting out the homosexual menace: including infiltrating gay groups, torture, imprisonment and “disappearance” of gay organisers.
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