African queers of all colors will gather in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss the continent’s homophobic pandemic. The International Lesbian and Gay Association in Africa will address the thirty-eight African nations that still legally prohibit homosexuality and plan on releasing a comprehensive report on the matter. An ILGA press release remarks:
Although many of the countries listed in the report do not systematically implement those laws, their mere existence reinforces a culture where a significant portion of the citizens need to hide from the rest of the population out of fear.
Whether imported by colonial empires or the result of legislations culturally shaped by religious beliefs, if not deriving directly from a conservative interpretation of religious texts, homophobic laws are the fruit of a certain time and context in history. Homophobia is cultural.
It’s no coincidence the group has chosen South Africa for its first conference – the “Rainbow Nation” has the world’s most progressive constitution, including the right to same-sex marriage. Hopefully this conference will help spread the love.