Zimbabwe LGBT citizens: Mugabe’s anti-gay speech may lead to beatings

After an election widely considered to be fraudulent, Robert Mugabe has used his inauguration speech as president to call gays ‘filthy’ and say they ‘destroy nations’

Zimbabwe LGBT citizens: Mugabe’s anti-gay speech may lead to beatings
23 August 2013

LGBT Zimbabweans have spoken of their fears and the danger of spiraling violence against them after newly re-elected President Robert Mugabe again attacked gays in his inauguration speech.

As GSN earlier reported, Mugabe used the ceremony, attended by thousands of people including African dignitaries, to describe homosexuality as ‘filthy’ saying it ‘destroys nations’.

The dictator regularly attacks the gay community, with critics saying this is to distract from failings of his presidency at home.

By contrast he also made comments calling for ‘peace’ although LGBT people we spoke to were generally cynical about those remarks.

GSN has gathered views from LGBT Zimbabweans, who are worried about Mugabe’s threats during the election campaign to crack down on gay people, using the death penalty against them.

We have disguised the identities of those who have spoken to us for their protection.

GC, a human rights activist from Harare, told us: ‘He thrives on the politics of intolerance. By singling out a small group such as LGBT and declaring their rights as “filthy” makes LGBT people a target of hatred and violence.’

Another LGBT activist in Harare said: ‘It did not come as a surprise, Mugabe is very homophobic and he has used the issue to garner support.

‘He has created an environment where people are not interested to learn about LGBT issues but about the eradication of the practice of homosexuality. This is evident in laws such as sodomy law, and recently the constitution. Although the focus is on marriages, we have seen the repercussions of such laws on the lives of LGBT people.’

MT from Chitungwiza was most concerned about possible further criminalization of gay life.

MT told us: ‘This is his first day in office and already he is attacking us, not that its anything new. The homophobic messages make the environment very tense for LGBT people.

‘We can only hope that he does not stiffen laws, this is a major concern right now.’

ADT from Chitungwiza added: ‘There seems to be an obsession with the same-sex marriages, yet for many LGBT people, they are at a point where they are struggling for recognition for tolerance.

‘He makes it appear as though all LGBT people want to get married. That’s what ordinary people have been fed and thus are not interested in understanding our daily struggles.’

However others seem to have devised methods of handling the stress.

‘For some of us we have developed thick skin, we listen to his speeches to hear what nonsense he has to say,’ said TG in Harare.

‘I know how to prepare my week after his remarks because in my neighborhood there is no peace for me as aim an openly out gay man.

‘ZANU PF youths (Mugabe’s party) will be on my case this whole week, some demanding money, others threatening to beat me but I’ve gotten used to the threats ether is nothing I can do.’

While TN in Bulawayo joked: ‘It can never be an event if he does not mention homosexuality, it’s his trademark, he should thank us we have made him famous.’

As the octogenarian leader takes office for what others speculate could be his last term, LGBT Zimbabweans are hoping his homophobic legacy does not perpetuate.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Canadian volleyball pro comes out as gay

23-year-old Chris Voth, who plays on Canada’s national men's team, said coming out for him was about being a good role model
No thumbnail available

HBO renews gay dramedy Looking for a second season - adds Russell Tovey as regular

Show set in San Francisco had struggled for viewers at the start
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson on his LGBT activism

'My mom has always been a big advocate ... so for me it's always been a part of my soul'
No thumbnail available

Tunisia militia raids pro-gay charity that criticized minister

A pro-gay rights charity’s office was robbed and vandalized following their critique of a statement by Tunisia’s human rights minister saying gays won’t be tolerated 
No thumbnail available

The VW Scirocco gets our emotions going

A cool car with green credentials, we test-drive the Scirocco R-Line 2.0 ltr TDI BlueMotion
No thumbnail available

Gay marrigage bill defeated by committee in Wyoming legislature

But domestic partnership bill manages to advance
No thumbnail available

REVIEW – Avengers: Age of Ultron

Marvel's ultimate super-group bursts back into life on the big screen.
No thumbnail available

Tennessee ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill author Stacey Campfield defeated in bid for reelection

Republican lawmaker had said 'to be gay is like injecting heroin'
No thumbnail available

Hong Kong LGBT rights activists stage 'bed-in' for love

Inspired by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Hong Kong's Big Love Alliance stage the Give Love a Chance art exhibition and 'bed-in'