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Malawi Frees Imprisoned Couple, But Gays Are Still Evil

After being sentenced to 14 years in hell and placed into separate prisons, the Malawi couple of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza have been pardoned by President Bingu wa Mutharika. But the Malawi government still finds them disgusting, just so you know.

You can thank the international pressure from human rights groups for their release. But while pardoning them and asking for their unconditional release, Mutharika made sure to add, “These boys committed a crime against our culture, our religion and our laws.” Malawi culture still considers their engagement ceremony an unnatural act of gross indecency and just because they’re released doesn’t mean that other Malawi LGBTs won’t ever face a similar fate.

Even though Chimbalanga identifies as a woman, Malawi’s religious leaders equate same-sex relationships with Satanism and during their trial the judge kept Chimbalanga and Monjeza imprisoned because he feared for their own safety.

Considering the myriad pictures of Malawians jeering the couple as they went to jail, the courtroom observers laughing as Monjeza threw up in court, and the haters screaming that the couple deserved much worse after than 14 years hard labor, it makes you wonder just how safe these Satanic queers are gonna be on the outside.

They may still love their country. They should get out of it while they can.

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  • Joseph

    WOW – I’m so happy to hear that! And now, they need to get the heck outta there!!!

  • Hilarious

    Get out how? Are any of their supporters going to assist them with that?

    I mean while we’re speaking on the evil of their country why not the evil of using them to further selfish gains while not really assisting them in any way?

    Now that the “story” and “drama” have died down who’s going to send them enough money to help them leave?

    I’d love to see people prove they actually care about these two and really help them rather than just talking about how terrible Africa is.

    In other words: Put your money where your mouth is.

  • ossurworld

    I hope these two have the means to flee to another place.

  • romeo

    I saw on a more serious site that there is an effort being organized to help them. Apparently they would like to leave the country. Also, I think the president of Malawi deserves some credit here as there obviously was opposition to releasing them, albeit international pressure played a part, it was decent of the president nonetheless.

  • DR

    hopefully Amnesty International or one of the other international groups who called for their release will step up now. This was a great gesture by the President, now let’s see those groups do something to capitalize on it.

  • Distingue Traces

    What on earth does “Malawi UN chief Ban Ki Moon” mean?

    Ban Ki Moon is the Secretary General of the whole UN. He is in no way a representative of Malawi or its legal system.

    He visited Malawi to negotiate for the couple’s release. As a diplomat, he does not really have any standing to “pardon” them himself as Queerty says he did.

    And did he really say, “These boys committed a crime against OUR culture, OUR religion and OUR laws”? What laws — the laws of South Korea?

    Please, Queerty: it’s nice that you cover international stories like this as well as sex n’ celebrity stuff, but … be a little more careful!

  • Michael

    Ban Ki Moon is the United Nationals Secretary General, not “Malawi’s UN Chief.” Moon is the one who brought pressure on Malawi to release the two men.

  • Sage

    These guys are so courageous for giving a face to homophobia in their part of the world. As bad as the crowd jeering is, I’m really optimistic that incidents like this change people for the better because it forces them to start talking about the issue. Africa’s stance on homosexuals is not unlike the U.S.’s in the past. I’m confident that there will be progress, especially thanks to people like these guys who refuse to hide. Madonna had it right when she said something about how the free thinkers of Malawi should support them. There are free thinkers everywhere, progressives who will support them even if their support won’t get covered in the press.


    We had to pull a lot of strings for them but it was well worth it and they WILL be emigratibg. Arrangements are being finalized.

  • Daniel

    @Distingue Traces: Thanks for pointing out this error. The mistake is entirely mine. I’ve corrected it above.

    @romeo: Care to post the link to this “more serious site”?

  • Fitz

    Does one of us know how to set up a non-profit donation site? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the (typically bitter, caustic) queerty readership could set up some simple way to funnel small donations to them? (hopefully enough to move someplace better). I don’t know anything about how to go about this, but I would be willing to chip in, for sure. Let’s do something positive guys!!

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    This is why immigration laws regarding sexual orientation need to be strengthened in the U.S., Europe, Canada and other countries where gays are not subject to persecution. Although there is some protection with regard to asylum laws in the US, etc., they are not enough.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Fitz: Well, I know there are organizations like Immigration Equality. Their mission statement:

    “Immigration Equality is a national organization that works to end discrimination in U.S. immigration law, to reduce the negative impact of that law on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive people, and to help obtain asylum for those persecuted in their home country based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity or HIV-status. Through education, outreach, advocacy, and the maintenance of a nationwide network of resources, we provide information and support to advocates, attorneys, politicians and those who are threatened by persecution or the discriminatory impact of the law.”


    I am not sure if there is an organization for donating money for assisting people in moving. I never looked that up before. You ask a good question. I am also uncertain of what infrastructure in the form of NGOs exist outside of the U.S. to address these issues.

    When I googled the subject, the only thing that came up was the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association as the sole NGO out there working on the international stage to address human rights issues at the UN regarding gay rights issues:


    There seems to be a dirth of groups that are dedicated to these issues, and I am not sure how to find more private organizations that are dedicated to bring people like this couple out of danger. Afterall, this really is a big problem consider the records of countries as far and wide as the countries of Africa (outside of South Africa which actually protects gays in its constitution), the middle east (Special note: Iraq is one of those country and for a long time during the war, the US ignored the torture and human rights abuses), etc. But, it seems the world mostly has nothing really set up for this. This makes sense because when they attempted a resolution recently to condemn criminalization of homosexuality at the UN, this was fought by many countries:


    Which the US (due to pressure by domestic Christian evangelical groups (many of whom are position for draconian bills abroad in Africa like the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda) fought against it. Re Kill the gays and the US role:


    This was one of the real issues I had with Rich Warren being allowed to speak. And , it really pissed me off that Melissa Etheridge would defend Warren’s evil by giving him cover by making it seem like this is man one could sit down with to talk to about human rights. See the above article for some tidbits.

    There are also some recent short documentaries on the influence of evangelicals (which are coming out of the West in African countries) and colonial issues:

    “A new season of Current TV’s Vanguard starts next week, but you can get a sneak peek at the upcoming season starting today here on Hulu. First up: Correspondent Mariana van Zeller traveled to Uganda to report on proposed anti-gay legislation that would put homosexuals in jail for life, a bill that has ties to the evangelical movement here in America. ”



    Anyway, sorry I can’t really answer your question better. To anyone who is interested, this issue of gay rights abroad, and the need for solidarity with gay brothers and sisters across the planet is a vital one.

    This should be a HUGE part of the discussion here in the US by gay rights group to illustrate how this is a world wide problem, but it isn’t.

    Please pass this information along to any sites that you visit by cutting and pasting to leave it there

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Fitz: I hope my comment that I wrote shows up because apparently although its attempting to answer your question regarding organizations and the issues abroad like non-government organizations and the like, the site is requiring that moderation of the comment.

  • gina

    Activists in South Africa have been working for them to emigrate to that country.

    South Africa’s environment for LGBT people is far from perfect, but it’s considerably more tolerant than Malawi and the most progressive in Africa. I wish them well, and that Mr. Monjeza feels better (he’s been very sick recently) and hope their release goes smoothly.

  • gina

    Btw, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it was Tiwonge, not Steven, who threw up in court while she was suffering from Malaria contracted while incarcerated.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    I read an unsubstantiated claim that there are efforts to move them out of Malawi as well.

  • Ian

    Oh THANK GOD!! I’m both so happy for them and also so furious with my American media that this is the first I’ve heard about it. I so dearly hope they can get asylum in another gay friendlier nation so they can be together.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Ian: I thinkt he problem is not whether they can obtain it, but what happesn to all those folks you don’t hear about who are being persecuted.

  • robert

    While this act is to be welcomed, the fact that the president made of point of saying they were against Malawian laws and culture makes it clear it was a decision made out of pure expediency. Who knows what behind-the-scenes threats were made by other (read: Western) countries over this issue? I suspect threats to cut financial aid.

    Has the Malawian Government seen the error of its ways? No. Should Chimbalanga and Monjeza get out of the country as soon as possible? Definitely.

  • mikeandrewsdantescove

    What a backwards country. Shame on them for putting this couple through hell. I couldn’t believe the onlookers cheering on this sentence.

  • drums

    According to the version of this story I read from CBC news, they both want to leave Malawi and Chimbalanga has cousins outside of the country who want to help. Unfortunately, homosexuality is illegal in at least 37 countries in Africa, so I’m not sure just moving over the border will help them.

  • jeffree

    International pressure works, this case seems to show. Problem is that they are just ONE couple and other lgbt couples in Malawi & elsewhere may not get this sort of attention or fare as well.

    I hope this example serves as a serious warning to other African countries (lets include the Middle East too) that the world is watching.

    Once this couple gets out, I hope that int’l pressure will not fade, so that other couples in similar sitiuations will get assistance too.

  • Hilarious

    @jeffree: Homophobia, racism, and pure hatred are only problem in Africa…really?

    America is perfect now?

    Can we not care about these two men without hurling ridiculously large stones from our glass houses?

  • jeffree

    @Hilarious: I agree with you. Until the US recognizes same-sex marriage, I would not recommend they come to the US. They would face homophobia, xenophobia & racism here.
    Oh, and NO recognition of their right to be married.
    It was ++international++ pressure that seemed to make the difference. Read press reports from other countries & you’ll see this case attracted attention from Eur., North Am, South Am., & other African nations.

    I cast no stones.

  • Bill Perdue

    US evangelical missionaries are responsible for the recent wave of anti-LGBT hatred and violence in Africa.

    They’ve invested millions and millions of dollars in promoting homohating and crafting laws like the Uganda bill that would punish being GLBT with a death sentence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU0dwjsLCUU&feature=player_embedded

    Right wing politicians and cult leaders are flooding Africa with hate speech and materials aimed at the creation of ‘christian states’. Their goal in the US is to overturn the Constitution and set up a christian Dominationist government. There is no question that they’d like to import pogromist laws on the Ugandan model back to the US. http://blogs.alternet.org/antbern/2010/03/12/christian-churches-and-u-s-based-anti-gay-promotion-in-kenya/

    We should insist that Obama and H. Clinton offer unlimited asylum and generous health and welfare benefits to GLBT folks from nations where punish us with prison and violence.

  • jason

    Both Chimbalanga and Monjeza are incredibly courageous. They’ve taken a stand in a very homophobic legal system. If we in the West had half as much courage as they, it would be a wonderful thing.

    I honestly think that somebody ought to give these two an international award for courage. I’d give them the Nobel Prixe if it were possible.

  • jason

    Can we get charitable organizations from all over the world to contribute money to these two courageous souls? Let’s start a fund if necessary. No matter what our differences in how we achieve gay rights, these two Malawi men stand tall and serve to unite us as human beings.

    Help these men. Their lives in Malawi will be even more hellish despite the reprieve from jail. Someone please do something to give these men comfort and peace of mind. Let’s all help – maybe we can start by writing to some of the powerful gay organizations in London and New York.

  • ewe

    I don’t care if anyone thinks them disgusting. The problem is that homosexuality is still illegal there. That needs to be changed. I find what occurred to these two people disgusting. Do you think anyone cares? NO they don’t and i don’t care what any stupid fucks think of homosexuality. REPEAT: Homosexuality is still illegal in Malawi. Any and all financial support should be withheld until they repeal that law. Disgraceful. I suggest these two get on a jet and exploit themselves for a change.

Comments are closed.