MEP stands up for lesbian rights in Africa

British MEP moved to help lesbians in Africa after meeting woman from Uganda who was raped, tortured and made to give birth alone in a prison cell

MEP stands up for lesbian rights in Africa
05 July 2012

A British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) is calling on the European Parliament to take a stand against the brutal persecution of lesbians in Africa.

Marina Yannakoudakis, who is Conservative spokesman on women’s rights in the European Parliament, has submitted a resolution which calls on the 38 countries in Africa where homosexuality is illegal to repeal their gay bans.

It also denounces hatred and violence on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Being a gay woman is illegal in 27 African nations and Yannakoudakis initially tabled the motion earlier this year when the first women ever to be charged with homosexuality in Cameroon were due to be brought before a court on 8 March, International Women’s Day.

The country has also seen the routine harrassment of activist Alice Nkom and the government also recently opposed an EU-funded aid project to provide assistance and guidance to sexual minorities.

‘Recent developments in Cameroon made me realize that we needed to stand up for the rights of LGBTI people in Africa,’ she said.

‘Lesbian women are particularly at threat from violence and rape when their sexual orientation is revealed and I and other members of the European Parliament’s women’s rights committee have been concerned by the worsening situation.’

She says she was also moved to take action after a woman in her London constituency who fled Uganda told of how she was violently abused because she was a lesbian.

‘When her father discovered she was gay he beat her and then denounced her to the police,’ Yannakoudakis explained.

‘At the police station she was beaten further. Later two policemen came to her cell and brutally raped her.

‘She spent over a year in the cell where she was tortured and raped almost every day. She fell pregnant and gave birth alone in her cell. The baby was stillborn and Theresa had to leave the dead, rotting baby in the corner of her cell for days.

‘Theresa escaped and arrived in London in 2006, but she has permanent hearing loss from the beatings.

‘I have been told that this is very typical of lesbians who flee persecution from some African countries.’

She added that she hopes her resolution will bring about ‘real change’ in countries which routinely persecute LGBT people.



No thumbnail available

Gay dads to sue church for right to religious wedding

Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow tell GSN their biggest critics in the fight for a Church of England gay wedding will be the LGBT community
No thumbnail available

Jamie Foxx attacked for making horrific transphobic joke about Bruce Jenner

Bruce's daughter Kylie Jenner was in the audience
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Washington DC is the gayest place in the US

DC is nearly twice as gay as Hawaii while North Dakota is the least gay state
No thumbnail available

Mexico City passes pro-trans bill

City allows trans people to legally change their gender without a court order
No thumbnail available

Singer kicked out by parents for being gay wows America’s Got Talent

Jonathan Allen, 20, has not seen his parents in two years, but it didn't stop him from giving an amazing audition
No thumbnail available

Former Westboro Baptist Church bigot poses for gay rights campaign

Laura Drain, who left the 'God Hates Fags' church after years of gay hate, has now posed for the NOH8 campaign
No thumbnail available

Gambia's president threatens to slit the throats of gays

'And no white person can do anything about it'
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

‘I want Prince Harry to be my new boyfriend,’ says Strictly judge

Craig Revel Horwood wants the cheeky prince to take part in Strictly Come Dancing