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

The internet is both dangerous and helpful for gay and lesbian teens

Report finds gay teens face online bullying, but also have greater access to peer support and health education
No thumbnail available

Labour abandons support for 'wrecking' gay marriage amendment

Shadow Women and Equalities Minister Yvette Cooper tells opposition party MPs to not vote for Tim Loughton's opposite-sex civil partnerships amendment
No thumbnail available

'Gay marriage was an election promise' Tories tell rebel MPs

Gay Conservatives hit back at claims that Prime Minister David Cameron has 'no mandate to redefine marriage'
No thumbnail available

LGBT film released in Indonesia

Sanubari Jakarta features ten tales of LGBT life in Indonesia
No thumbnail available

Adam Lambert wants to guest on Glee

Singing star says he would like to play himself on Fox hit
No thumbnail available

Far-right French politician accused of assaulting gay activists

Richard Jacob is accused of pushing three gay protestors down a flight of stairs at a marriage equality rally
No thumbnail available

HIV on the rise in Australian state of NSW

The Australian state of New South Wales has seen a rise in new cases of HIV to a level not seen since the mid 1990’s but the state hopes to stop new infections by 2020
No thumbnail available

Gay Real World alum has viewers buzzing about which straight castmate he slept with

Danny Roberts: 'Can’t say because he’s straight and married now'
No thumbnail available

Speed skater Blake Skjellerup reveals at Gay Games that he is engaged

The 2010 Olympian plans to marry stylist Saul Carrasco
No thumbnail available

Jamal Lyon comes out as gay in a song on Empire - to horror of homophobe dad

Breakout hip hop drama earns its best ratings to date for episode