African Gay Activists Remain Realistic

Of Africa’s 53 nations, 38 outlaw homosexuality. That’s nearly 72% of the continent.

As gay rights movements rise across the various nations, the editors of To Have and to Hold: The Making of Same-Sex Marriage in South Africa chatted with a number of activists to explore their respective nation’s gay progress. One of questions posed ponders the possibility of reform. Here’s a taste of the responses:

David Kato (Uganda): If we begin asking for marriage now our mission will backfire. They will think we’re just looking for sex. What we need is to be tolerated and to have the same rights as other people … to break down discriminatory laws.

Linda Baumann (Namibia): One of the challenges that we face is that people are afraid to be seen. You can count on your hands the strong gay activists in Namibia who are out and proud and able to speak.

Naome Ruzindana (Rwanda): Rwanda is a sensitive country. This is true even of the human rights defenders who are there. They fear the government and they have not helped us at all. Is there potential for these kinds of changes in Rwanda? Maybe in 10 years!

And even that would be a miracle…