crackdowns

Are These Porn Allegations the Beginning of Malawi’s Full-Fledged Assault On Queers?

The bigger story is the arrest of engaged couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, who engaged in gross public indecency, according to Malawian prosecutors, who will try their case Jan. 15. But there are rumblings that this sliver-sized East African nation is building momentum for an even wider crackdown on queers. So far, that evidence arrives with Monday’s arrest of an “administrator from the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), which works to defend the welfare of marginalized communities, including prisoners, sex workers, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” reports Queer Today.

The staffer was detained on charges that CEDEP’s documents and guidebooks promoting safe sex are pornographic, and thus banned propaganda. Now British activist Peter Tatchell of Outrage is getting involved, claiming the arrest is a retaliation for CEDEP supporting Chimbalanga and Monjeza, and who fears CEDEP’s executive director Gift Trapence may now be in danger of arrest.

This could arguably be an isolated incident, tied directly to the arrest of the engaged couple. Or it’s just one public example of Malawian authorities using state power to silence LGBT supporters. You pick.