Friday, 11 February 2011

Africa's writers stand up for LGBT

Wole SoyinkaWole Soyinka image via Wikipedia
A growing group of prominent African and diaspora writers have written jointly that "[Africa's] opinions of homosexuality must change for the better, just as our opinion of slavery has changed."

The signatories includes Wole Soyinka the Nigerian Nobel laureate for literature, and writers from Kenya, Uganda, Lesotho, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana as well as African academics in the US, Canada and UK.

The letter reads:
We the undersigned condemn in the strongest possible terms the murder of Mr David Kato, the Ugandan gay rights campaigner. We wish to state emphatically that homosexuality is neither a sin nor a social or cultural construct. It is a biological given. Homosexuals are human beings like everybody else. Scientific research has been helpful in clearing the fog of ignorance entrenched by some religious texts in regards to homosexuality. Our opinions of homosexuality must change for the better, just as our opinion of slavery has changed, even though it was endorsed by those same religious texts. All violence against gays and people deemed to be gay in Africa must cease forthwith.

We call on the government of Uganda to find and prosecute all those involved in the murder of Mr Kato, including the newspaper that called for the hanging of gays. We also call on African governments to learn from the South African example by expunging from their laws all provisions that criminalise homosexuality or treat homosexuals as unworthy of the same rights and entitlements as other citizens. African states must protect the rights of their citizens to freedom and dignity. Homosexuals must not be denied these rights.

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