A man in Cameroon has been convicted of homosexuality after drinking Bailey’s Irish Cream. He’ll now spend the next half a decade in jail for consuming what a judge called a “woman’s beverage.”
Michel Togue, the man’s attorney, says this sort of thing happens all the in the west African nation, where having gay sex can land a person up to five years behind bars. He told ThinkProgress that he has defended dozens of men and women “accused” of being gay, most of whom were never actually caught in the act of having sex.
Togue explained that in Cameroon, many innocent people have been accused of homosexuality by neighbors, family members or scorned ex-lovers looking to settle scores. Once an accusation is made, police make arrests based on how individuals present themselves. For example, if somebody has a job that doesn’t fit their gender, such as a male hairdresser, it could be used as evidence of homosexuality.
“To catch people having sex, to catch them in the act, you have to break the law. You have to violate their privacy, which is an offense,” he said. “But the police will not focus on the offense of breaking the privacy of someone, but they will focus on the fact that they saw two people of the same gender having sex.”
In Tongue’s client’s case, the judge convicted the man for having “feminine mannerisms” and for drinking Bailey’s Irish Cream, which he believed should only be consumed by women.
Togue says the growing stigma against being gay is scaring people away getting tested for HIV. “They can’t go to the hospital for the treatment or even for a test because they’re afraid,” he explained. He then recalled a case in which a man told a nurse he had engaged in gay sex and the nurse reported him to police.
Togue says he hopes that people in Cameroon will learn that “a homosexual is our friend, is our brother, is our sister, is part of our family — is not a stranger, not someone coming from outside.”
I’m starting to wonder if literally everyone in west Africa is gay or at least a little gay. Where does all this insecurity come from? This is the insecurity we generally attribute to closet cases.
Also, I kind of like cameroons except the coconut gets stuck in between my teeth – I hate when that happens!
“…many innocent people have been accused of homosexuality by neighbors, family members or scorned ex-lovers looking to settle scores.” This suggests that they would be “guilty” if they were in fact gay. Even someone caught in the act of having sex with another consenting adult of the same sex is “innocent.”
So…my very straight, butch, sports-loving, cigar smoking brother-in-law is secretly gay according to this, because he also likes Bailey’s? Interesting.
I thought this sounded familiar… apparently it really *is* common, considering the specificity. There are articles from January of last year where two people, same country, same charge, same *drink* were acquitted.
I wouldn’t go to Africa if you paid me. Where does this kind of stupidity come from???
Baileys equals gay? That must be news to the irish. And I have had more gay sex after drinking good ol’ heterosexual beer than anything else.
@onthemark: it’s not insecurity that drives their ignorance, it’s religion. Cameroon made homosexuality illegal in 1972. However, the antigay laws were rarely enforced until the past decade when underground gay sanctuaries saw raids by police. Most of them were rounded up, jail, tortured or killed.
It was not long ago that America itself lived in an abundance of ignorance as well. It was widely accepted in America to burn crosses on lawns, to burn people alive suspected of being witches, and to hang black people for sport. Africa is a beautiful continent, with most of it’s countries ruled by brutal dictators, and it’s people blinded by religion. It’s a land that’s frozen in time.
Why is this tolerated? Why doesn’t the United Nations get involved in these blatant discriminatory and abusive practices? Why?
DickieJohnson – From the same scrambled thinking that assumes all of Africa – a continent made up of more than 50 widely diverse nations – is the same.
If I had my way, we’d simply cut all foreign aid to any country that has such homophobic laws on its books.
@Chris: That would only make things worse. Most of these leaders prefer to keep their people poor. Easier to control them that way. Plus they get to posture as if they are resisting western cultural imperialism.
@Kevin B: “…keep their people poor.” And then these people go and invade other countries in waves of illegal boat peaple or some other ways: All them undocumented, all them dependents of some social security and thinking because they are poor they have the right to invade other countries. The next time I’ll go to the supermarket I’ll buy a bottle of Baileys to celebrate I don’t live in this filth continent. People there dont do nothing to improve their place. They prefer to fuck other’s countries.
I’d like to see a picture of that Cameroonian “Judge”. Probably has a bone through his nose.
This is some dumb sxxt! How stupid can you be to believe this crazy crap! This is Homer Simpson type thinking. Lol dumbasses!
@DarSco: Except Homer *likes* gay people, last I heard.
@DickieJohnson: Colonialism is one factor. And our old nemesis – religion. Evangelicals from the U.S. played a part in the repressive anti-gay laws in Uganda in recent years. On the other hand, South Africa, which for years was known for apartheid laws, abolished them and now has national marriage equality – something we lack here in the U.S.
Any chance of you checking this story?
I'm Black, and HiV-positive.
How come girls get all the good drinks? You ever tasted an apple-tini? Girl, she is heaven! Maybe we should start pointing our finger at the real enemy here: heterosexual women!
But no seriously, while you’re all pointing your fingers at Africa as though to say that other culture is so backwards, it’s no different than what they did to all of us here. Remember the Mazda Miata? They just didn’t throw anyone is jail, because they successfully scared you away from buying one.
PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
These “leaders” obsess over Gays, while the vast majority of their populations live in dire poverty………….
You have images of that twisted pig “minister” running around Uganda showing Gay porn to packed rooms all stating how “disgusting” the videos they have gone out of their ways to cram into a packed room to view………………………..
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