How Will 14 Years In Prison Be For The Malawi Couple? Hellish, Basically

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga held a gay engagement ceremony in Malawi, got charged with “unnatural acts and gross indecency,” and received a maximum sentence of 14-years in prison with hard labor. Even the U.S. government — and that Madonna person — are outraged. And while you might think that means getting “3 hots and a cot”, lifting weights, and busting rocks on the chain gang, it’s unimaginably worse. Over-crowding, hatchets, malnutrition, scabies, and sleeping next to dead people are just some of what await the unhappy couple.

But so not to depress you into a horrified stupor, we’ll end with some good news about the couple as well as things you can do to help.

(Images via)

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  • chris

    What a horrific story.

    How tragic to see all the people in the photos laughing or smiling as they go by in that truck. Cut off every fucking dime of aid support and business to this country of idiots.

  • Jocaine

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Please note the widespread trans-erasure that is going on at Queerty and almost everywhere this site is being covered!!

    Prisons are terrible everywhere, including the US, and are a racist, sexist, and classist institution leftover from medieval times. They are used today to feed the gluttonous military-prison-industrial complex and to keep oppressed groups away from resources which would empower them and instead exploit their labor and the income provided by prison construction and maintenance and paid for with tax money.

  • Lamar

    @chris: The quick, easy simple technique is often the worst or least appropriate. Cutting of aid to the country would cut of aid to friends of gays, family of gays, lesbians, people who support gay rights and most importantly the gays themselves so if the government doesn’t cave then it would do more harm than good. Devout Christians mostly have a very VERY hard time changing their mind on same-sex issues so it is unlikely the government would change their mind, besides, if the US stops funding lots of other rich countries in Europe for example would continue funding.

  • paulcanning

    Read the judgment against Malawi gay couple

    Peter Tatchell issued a plea for action in support of them:

    Send a letter or postcard of support to Steven and Tiwonge. In this difficult time, they need to know that people around the world love and support them. Get all your friends to do the same. Write to:

    Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, Prisoners, Chichiri Prison, P.O.Box 30117, Blantyre 3, Malawi

    Make a donation by post or BACS electronic transfer to OutRage!’s Malawi Defence Campaign. OutRage! will use all money donated to support Tiwonge and Steven with food parcels, medicine, clothes, blankets etc. and to help fund the campaign for their release.

    By BACS electronic transfer:
    Account name: OutRage!
    Bank: Alliance and Leicester Commercial Bank, Bootle, Merseyside, GIR 0AA, England, UK
    Account number: 77809302
    Sort code: 72-00-01

    For electronic transfers from overseas (outside the UK), please
    ADDITIONALLY quote this code:
    IBAN: GB65ALEI72000177809302

    By cheque:
    Write a cheque payable to “OutRage!” and send to OutRage!, PO Box 17816, London SW14 8WT. Enclose a note giving your name and address and stating that your donation is for the Malawi Defence campaign.

  • The Artist

    The movement to help them and others, must be organic and home grown. With a global outcry, many individuals could be helped, so contact the Malawi Embassy. Help spread the word… PEACELUVNBWILD! I will…

  • Black Pegasus

    Just when I thought I’ve seen all there is to see
    regarding the “Ugliness of Humanity”; some group of
    scumbags from some corner of the Earth proves me wrong
    yet again.

    Human Beings Suck!

  • hoodwink

    Tragic. And look at the disgusting happy faces in the background cheering on their torture.


  • gollygeegaygoy

    2 Facebook pages are praying that these sentences are continued for other gay men around the world.

    Protect Marriage, One Man One Woman!/oneman.onewoman?v=wall&ref=ts

    Christians United in Support of Malawi

    The first, includes the remarks ‘I commend the judge for his strength ! God please protect him and others in this country, who are trying to enforce Gods laws.’ The second, commends the Malawi government for their ‘courage’.

    Sick. Cunts.

  • cantstandthisbs

    this is sad to hear

    anyway death penatly in uganda has past for homosexuals.

    christians have been going to africa to brainwash the africans into believe homosexuality is the biggest threat to them, wait i thought not having food water and developed infrastructure was. they won the christians one telling african churches that “homosexual men rape teenage boys all over america and destroy families”

    homosexuality is not africa’s biggest problems poverty is. those priests are down right scum. holy shit i weep for my brothers who get accused of being gay, like a salem witch hunt.

  • Bill Perdue

    @chris: Wrong.

    Dead wrong.

    Except the dead won’t be Americans. And the dead won’t be bigoted politicians, priests, ministers, cops and military officers form Malawi.

    The dead will be children, people with HIV-AIDS, and the elderly who are denied medicines and treatments.

    The dead will people suffering from malnutrition.

    And the dead will be GLBT folks subjected to violence and lynching at the hands of US and Malawian christian ministers, pastors and priests.

    1. We should urge Obama and H. Clinton to offer opened ended asylum to GLBT folks everywhere who face prison, torture and death, especially since the US is directly responsible for so many of the problems our brothers and sisters face.

    2. We should demand that the US confiscate and hold bank deposits of the rulers and wealthy.

    3. And we should demand that the US permanently end military aid to anti-GLBT governments in places like Malawi and Iraq

  • tjr101

    If there is ever a hell on earth this must be it.

  • Bill Perdue

    @tjr101: Not quite as bad as the hell faced by Gwen Araujo, L. King, Sakia Gunn and hundreds of others over the last decade, but bad enough.

  • drums

    According to the Amnesty International press release (which you can read here if you want), Malawi is actually violating its own charters by doing this.

    “Criminalization of individuals on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is banned under treaties ratified by Malawi, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Malawian Constitution. These obligate Malawi to respect and protect freedom from discrimination, freedom of conscience, expression and right to privacy – human rights that Malawi has violated with this judgement.”

  • Bill Perdue

    @gina: Thanks, That’s the first info I’ve seen on that.

  • Lanjier

    The hate-filled opinion sentencing the defendants to fourteen year — the maximum sentence, will go down in history as an evil and an abuse of the Malawi judicial process. The judge stated he wanted to set an example, something prohibited in civilized nations. The law should be removed, the poor judiciary should be removed.

  • Ken S

    It’s too bad they don’t have oil and harbour terrorists– then maybe the U.S. would invade them in the name of “liberating the people from a corrupt regime” and overhaul their government & legal system. It would be like a corrective imperialism!

    Like last time was “O hai Africans, we’re Europeans. You look different from us and– hey, what’s that behind you!?” {thwack!} {rape rape rape} “Yeah bitch, this is how it’s done, you like that. {rape rape rape} When we’re done you’re gonna be just like us but without the money. Yeah, take it.” {rape rape money-shot} {centuries of fucked-up colonial evil}.

    But this time it could be like “O hai again Africans, we’re the new cultural and economic superpowers– kinda like those Europeans you remember but we ‘discovered’ something called Human Rights that we’re pretty fond of now… most of the time… Anyway it’s much nicer than what we did to you before, here, put down the machete and let us show you.” {Barry White Barry White Barry White} “Mmmm, yeah, see? Just like that. You can still be dicks to your homosexuals without murdering or even imprisoning them, and enjoy the subtle bigotry without all the international hippie condemnation.” {Barry White Barry White Barry White} “Awww yeah. Okay, that was nice. We’re gonna go now, we’ll be in touch. By the way, you owe us a billion dollars but don’t worry baby, we won’t demand payment as long as you keep borrowing money (from us) to buy food aid (from us) so that our farmers can stay in business.”

    Ugh, humanity is offensive. Bring The Meteor.

  • ewe

    This is more than enough to stop paying federal taxes until we discontinue every cent of aid Malawi receives. Of course nothing here will be done before England because we essentially always have and still behave as the colonies we are.

  • Zoe Brain

    She’s at least Trans – possibly Intersexed.

    “Tiwonge Chimbalanga looked like a man but said he was a woman. He helped with the cooking and dressed in feminine wraparound skirts.”

    “Jean Kamphale, Mr. Chimbalanga’s boss at a Blantyre lodge, testified that she accepted “Auntie Tiwo” as a woman and assigned her cooking and cleaning chores. But after the article in The Nation appeared, she made her employee disrobe and refused to let him stop until he was naked from the waist down and “that’s where the cat was let out of the bag.”

    Three days later, Mr. Chimbalanga arrived in court noticeably ill. His lawyers said he had contracted malaria in the hideously overcrowded jail, though the defendant later blamed guards for trying to beat him into a confession.

    As Mr. Chimbalanga fell to the floor and began to vomit, spectators mocked him. “Auntie Tiwo is pregnant,” some called out. Mr. Chimbalanga was led away, only to return with a mop and pail to clean up the mess.”

    “Mr. Chimbalanga, 33, was simply indignant. “I have done nothing wrong but fall in love and declare this love for my husband,” he said.

    He explained later: “I have male genitals, but inside I am a complete woman. Maybe I cannot give birth to a child, but I menstruate every month — or most months — and I can do any household chores a woman can do.”

    “Menstruation through his penis” had begun by then, a condition that may have some extremely rare medical cause, some experts say, but could also be the imagined claim of a gay man in a repressed society desperate to think himself a woman.”

    “Some Experts” means everybody even remotely familiar with Intersex conditions. A reverse flow analysis (RFA) on the urinary tract is usually done in such circumstances, if ultrasounds show anomalies.

    Yes, I do speak from personal experience. It’s rare. It happens.

    But whether Trans or Intersexed, a woman in such circumstances put in a male jail is unlikely to survive long. If she’s unlucky, it could be over a year though. For once, comparison with Belsen or Dachau is justified. It’s going to be bad enough for the guy, for her… unthinkable.

  • Daniel

    All Aid that would have gone to Malawi should instead be distributed to the 15 countries in Africa that do not violate basic privacy rights of consenting adults. Malawi is not entitled to foreign Aid. By giving the money to countries with better human rights records, the money is still going to help children, elderly, the poor, HIV/AIDS patients, etc. but only in countries that do not criminalize consenting gay adults.

  • Tommy

    . So basically if you live in Malawi and you are HIV+ or have AIDs, you are out of luck and will be denied the ability to have the drugs that will keep you alive.
    Since AIDS/HIV is primarily heterosexually transmitted in Malawi, you are saying gay people have the right to live and straight people with HIV don’t.
    I might be agreeable to cut off aid but essential services like health care and anti-AIDS drugs must be excluded from any boycott.

  • Daniel

    Or…more realistically, the million+ HIV patients in Malawi can convince their government (of which they are a part) to stop violating the basic human rights of gay people. Or are you assuming all the HIV+ heterosexuals in Malawi are somehow magically gay-friendly when most people (regardless of HIV status) in Malawi are not? There are plenty of people around the world who cannot afford medication for HIV and they never receive it – why shouldn’t the money go to the ones in need in countries that do not violate basic human rights?

    The Malawi Protestant Churches have been applauding the verdict – so as far as, do unto others as they have done unto you – it seems justice to give the money and Aid to countries that uphold human rights rather than to countries that do not. They do not have to violate human rights; these governments and the secular and religious leaders behind them choose to violate human rights and fill their pockets by stirring up hatred. No reason to sustain such governments.

  • Whoddafunk?

    This… is… beyond… and honestly… why do we have to fight so hard for our rights in our own, so called ‘blessed societies’… am I the only one who wishes a more advanced alien species will rescue us ALL come 2012?

    Or is all this BULLSHIT that exists on our planet for real?

    I already know the answer. These nation-states like Malawi exist only through the colonial powers that created them in a time which was so horrible that all of Europe would today go to war against.

    I am a native American who has lived in Asia and Europe. Asia is today, living as if they need to impress Victorian Europe. Today, conservative Americans and Europeans wish that old Europe was alive and well, and Europe today wishes they had never spawned America, and oftentimes, just as young Americans aren’t always aware of their position in the world and how that position was created by history, many young Europeans don’t realize how America was created through European history.

    And then what’s happening in Africa? It’s what the worst of our own societies wanted to happen, and still want to happen to this day. Europe today wants America to realize that what the average conservative American joe wants doesn’t work… Africa, as it legally exists today, wants to know why anyone came along and f**cked it up.

  • Killa

    I’d rather get the chair than to be in an African Prison.

  • Chitown Kev


    “Of course nothing here will be done before England because we essentially always have and still behave as the colonies we are.”


  • Cheryl Wright = ZZZ's (John From England)


    So he’s had an operation and has no dick?

    Don’t use wierd Western terms for people in other countries just because it sticks here to call a man/woman wanting to be a woman/man a trans.

    Don’t confuse the message and make it worse.

  • gina


    A) It’s virtually impossible for someone from Malawi to get services for gender transition. She refers to herself as a woman, she wears woman’s clothes (except in court where she wasn’t allowed to wear them), changed her first name to a woman’s name, was working as a domestic as a woman and was referred to as a woman by her boss… those are all documented by western news sources. How much more “proof” do you want? So stop referring to her as a man or gay just because it suits your purposes and have some compassion for a person it a crappy situation.

    B) It’s Chely Wright you ignorant prat.

  • FoolMe1

    @ John

    gay men’s needs > than the truth

  • ewe

    @gina: Please. I hear and understand your passion but stop the attacking. It is wasted energy. These two “people” need to escape and receive political asylum. It suits no ones purpose to label them further. The homophobic judge sentenced both of them for being homosexual MEN. They do not have any enemies on this thread and neither do you.

  • ewe

    I mean saying that one of them is trans is not going to fly as a reason for appeal in Malawi. Come on.

  • Cheryl Wright = ZZZ's (John From England)


    I like CHERYL.

    And then WHAT?

    Have you SPOKEN to them? Or anyone there?

    What agenda do YOU have GINA?

    So if I wear a bunch of clothes and call myself Tracy, I’m Trans?? Is that all there is?

    You have gay men or women who when born can’t fight who they are attracted to and are gay but all it takes to be trans is to play dress up?

    You’re only Trans, if you get your bits done. If not-you guys need to really sort out what the concept is.

    This is wrong and detrimental to a cause.

    You’re taking the piss.

  • gina

    “She refers to herself as a woman, she wears woman’s clothes (except in court where she wasn’t allowed to wear them), changed her first name to a woman’s name, was working as a domestic as a woman and was referred to as a woman by her boss… those are all documented by western news sources.”

    Would it be possible to stick to the actual facts or are they just going to be ignored once again?

    Accuracy in news is important. What if the murder of Matthew Shepard was reported and they never mentioned he was gay because some reporter thought it was irrelevant and the news editor wasn’t comfortable writing about gay people. Would that have been okay with you? You don’t get to pick and choose which part of a story you think is important and which part is conveniently tossed out.

    Ewe, how this horrible situation is culturally viewed in Malawi is something we’re not likely to influence. (although I’m hoping that, with enough international pressure, they’ll allow them both to immigrate to South Africa, which is what activists there were demonstrating for). What I’m talking about it how the western media and people on forums like this refer to her. Transgender women are referred as men 90% of the time one of them is murdered. Is it too much to ask people have some respect for the way someone else lives their life and experiences themselves?

  • paulcanning

    Gina, I don’t doubt your motives but we simply don’t know how Tiwonge identifies. Via Peter Tatchell, he has been asked this question but has not answered. That is why ‘transgender’ has not been used in any of Peter’s statements. Yes, what was published in the Malawi paper was published, however we can’t describe Tiwonge as trans until he says he is.

  • Cheryl Wright = ZZZ's (John From England)


    Okay Gina what is your point?

    Tell me your fight.

    Not that you would care but as a Brit we’re so much more inter raced then you guys. I also have close family that I STILL argue about religion re simply being gay.

    Tell me what you would create by claiming what you are saying?

    I’m not saying Tiwonge isn’t transgenered but so say if your right. Your saying this isn’t a homosexuality issue and therefore this is about someone actually feeling/being a woman and they are being persecuted.

    What have you done about not making this a gay issue because I can imagine these zealouts MAY forgice him, as ‘he was possesed’?

    I’m not being snarky but interested in what you’re doing.

  • ewe

    @gina: No it’s not too much to ask for at all. One should not even have to ask for it. If it makes good sense to label them as a straight couple because one of them is transgendered to get them across the border, i say go for it.

  • Zoe Brain

    Quotes from the NYT, Feb 14th:

    “Tiwonge Chimbalanga looked like a man but said he was a woman. He helped with the cooking and dressed in feminine wraparound skirts.”

    “Jean Kamphale, Mr. Chimbalanga’s boss at a Blantyre lodge, testified that she accepted “Auntie Tiwo” as a woman and assigned her cooking and cleaning chores. But after the article in The Nation appeared, she made her employee disrobe and refused to let him stop until he was naked from the waist down and “that’s where the cat was let out of the bag.”

    Read more:

    Note that the post is still awaiting moderation. Guess some people objected to it.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Zoe Brain: Thanks, ZB.

    I suspect the bigots don’t make overly careful distinctions between being gay or lesbian, bisexual, or being transgendered or transexual.

    Some of us do and that’s a pity, because the bigots want all of us dead.

    American christers are spending millions peddling their dominationist ‘christer state’ garbage in Africa and elsewhere and they’re the real enemy. We have to be aware that they want violent precedents in Africa that they can import back to the states. Why else would they invest millions in writing and promoting the Ugandan law that calls for state murder of GLBT folks?

    Look at the Obama administrations response to the tidal wave of hatred and terror breaking over our African sister and brothers. Instead of applying laws to arrest and prosecute American evangelicals who spend millions promoting hatred and pogroms, the WH issues statements.

    There are US and UN laws against Americans interfering in the internal affairs of foreign states, like Uganda, and clear laws against promoting murder. What scum like Rick Warren and some catholic groups are doing is illegal. And the response of Obama’s WH, his DoJ, always busily defending Clinton’s DOMA and DADT, and his State Department? Nada, zip, zero, nothing. Another statement and another invite to the Easter egg roll.

    Instead Obama invites them to speak at his inaugural, sets them up as official WH advisors and bribes them with our tax dollars through the White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

    We need to go all out in defense of our African sisters and brothers, even if, especially if the christers hate them for being transgendered.

  • ewe

    @Zoe Brain Malawi LAW has identified them as homosexual men. That is the legal reality they face.

  • Tonya

    This whole thing is horrific. Stuff like this makes me regret being human.

  • ewe

    @gina: That was encouraging. I am surprised that i have not heard of any planned protest in front of any Embassy.

Comments are closed.