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.
|Algeria||2 years in Prison||No||No|
|Angola||No||No||No||Not specifically outlawed, yet habitual offenders are sentenced to hard-labour.|
|Botswana||7 years in Prison||Some||No|
|Burundi||2 years in prison||No||No||Only made illegal November 2008|
|Cameroon||5 years in prison||No||No|
|Central African Republic||Legal||No||No|
|Comoros||5 years in prison||No||No|
|Djibouti||Unclear||No||No||People are commonly arrested for being gay, although there is no law against being gay|
|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.|
|Eritrea||3 years in prison||No||No|
|Ethiopia||5 years in prison||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|
|Kenya||14 years||No||No||Female not specifically covered by criminal code|
|Libya||5 years in Prison||No||No|
|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|
|Namibia||Illegal, not enforced||No||No|
|Nigeria||14 years in Prison||No||No||In areas not under Sharia law, Lesbianism is legal|
|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.|
|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.|