If you say being gay is not African, you don’t know your history

During his visit to Africa this summer, the US president, Barack Obama, addressed legal discrimination against LGBT individuals. Meeting the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, Obama said: “When you start treating people differently not because of any harm they are doing to anybody, but because they are different, that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode.”

Unfortunately, the response from Kenyatta was that “there are some things that we must admit we don’t share [with the US]. Our culture, our societies don’t accept.”

This is the same argument that Robert Mugabe used to suppress the human rights of LGBT people in Zimbabwe; that the former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, used when he signed the most dangerous law against LGBT people in the modern world; and that President Yoweri Museveni used in a ceremonial signing of the anti-gay bill in Uganda. This year Gambia’s president Yahya Jammeh called for gay people’s throats to be slit.

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