Cameroon to celebrate national anti-gay day

Cameroon association to mark the 21 August as a national anti-gay, promising a homophobic parade through the streets of the capital

Cameroon to celebrate national anti-gay day
14 July 2012

The Rassemblement de la Jeunesse Camerounaise association (Cameroonian Youth Rally, or RJC) announced that it will ‘celebrate’ a gay hate day.

The association doesn’t want to hear about gay pride, instead it announced on Thursday (12 July) that 21 August will be ‘celebrated’ as the national anti-gay day of Cameroon.

According to Afrik.com, the chosen date marks the savage murder and alleged rape of Narcisse Olivier Djomo Pokam by, a 31 year old student, by what the association labelled ‘gay mafia’.

The myth of a ‘gay mafia’ was widely disseminated by the Cameroonian press at the time, alleging a conspiracy of ‘homosexual predators’ within the highest echelons of the state.

The existence and combat of the alleged ‘gay mafia’ is one of the principal concerns of the RJC which proudly announces its homophobia publicly.

The association promises that 21 August, will be celebrated yearly, stating it aims to glorify homophobia with a parade to take place through the Yaoundé, Cameroon’s capital city.

During a recent televised debate, Sismondi Barlev Bidjocka, spokesperson for the RJC, stated that ‘homosexuality is a crime against humanity.’

There are no official association to help LGBT people in Cameroon, which has one of Africa’s most severe anti-gay laws.

Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender carries huge risks in Cameroon; same-sex sexual acts are illegal under section 347 of the penal code with a penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 (about €300 $375) Cameroon Francs. If the offender is under the age of 21 a more severe punishment is likely.

In 2010 four NGOs published a detailed report outlining the legal and social dangers that LGBT people face in Cameroon, including arrest, rape, loss of their children, social stigma and discrimination based on both sexuality and HIV status. The report and the level of homophobic campaigns launched by the church and media indicate that Cameroon is one of the most hostile countries in Africa for LGBT people.

Recently an evangelical rector based in Cameroon called for his country to be more tolerant and defend LGBT rights.

Watch the televised debate between RJC spokesperson and human rights activist here: 

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