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.



No thumbnail available

Zimbabwe 'prophet' endorses Mugabe's threats to behead gays

Preacher claims economy is improving because of the president's homophobia
No thumbnail available

Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian says he supports gay marriage

Christian pop star says his religious beliefs have changed
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Gay pastor weds in Malaysia to showcase support

Reverend O Young Wen Feng invites friends and relatives for a wedding reception in a country where officials have become increasingly hostile
No thumbnail available

London gay scene duo take on marathon route ahead of 200-mile 24-hour cycle

Club boss Jeremy Joseph and photographer Chris Jepson share their fears over 200 mile London to Manchester bike ride after finishing last major training session
No thumbnail available

Threat to out Russia's gay politicians over Olympic Pride House ban

Russian gay activist Nikolai Alekseev appeals ban on Pride House at 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi at European Court of Human Rights
No thumbnail available

Sainte Foy - something special in the French Alps

Searching for the destination for your annual ski trip? It’s hard to beat France
No thumbnail available

Live like a local: Discover Hoxton in East London

Confirm your street-cred with a stay in inner-East neighborhood Hoxton
No thumbnail available

The Fosters' Jude and Connor talk to Gay Star News about reaction to their historic kiss

ABC Family show about lesbian couple and their large brood has season finale tonight
Jesus was gay or 'at the very least' queer, says theologian

Jesus was gay or 'at the very least' queer, says theologian

'For my own spirituality, I would love to jump into bed with him'