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What happened at the Against The Law panel at Digital Pride?

What happened at the Against The Law panel at Digital Pride?

Panel speaks on criminalization of homosexuality

Digital Pride played host to a fascinating and thoughtful conversation entirely populated by African LGBTI voices.

Aderonke Apata from Nigeria, Edwin Sesange from Uganda, Romario Wanliss from Jamaica, Pastor Jide Macaulay from Nigeria, and Mohamed Abdel from Egypt.

Wanliss, who chaired the debate, asked all of the panel to speak openly about their experiences. He opened the panel by saying that when we speak about the criminalization of homosexuality, it is difficult to even begin to open up about the conversation of gender and transgender.

Mohamed said: ‘When people talk about homosexuality being illegal, it is one of all human right issues. It is one target. Quite often, authorities will arrest 100 people of one minority and then two gay guys. The only arrest that will matter in the media now are the gay arrests.

Pastor Jide said the Bible hasn’t been lost in translation, it’s been lost in the ways how people should use the Bible. ‘We should stop calling the Bible the “word of God”,’ he said. The Bible itself is a book that helps to guide people’s thinking.’

Aderonke spoke about her experiences about going through the asylum system.

She said: ‘Once you are claiming based on sexuality, we cannot be. Immigration, numbers down, go to claim, there’s a quota, the culture of disbelief is there, nothing you can say that can change their mind. That damages your claim.’

Edwin said: ‘We want UK to apologise, we have to make this clear. The UK government brought homophobia to commonwealth countries.’

The panelists were asked what normal people can do.

Edwin said to support campaigns, sign petitions, join picket lines, writing to members of parliament. Aderonke said to lecture anyone who is homophobic.

‘We’re all minorities an it’s not right to persecute minorities’.

Mohamed urged people to vote with your dollar, and support companies that stand for LGBTI rights around the world.

Jide urged: ‘Look out for people who are missing around your table. And then invite them in.’

Watch the video of the Against The Law panel below: