The American roots of homophobia in Africa

Photo Image: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

In a new report launched today, the liberal group Political Research Associates (PRA) documents the role of U.S. right-wing evangelicals and religious institutions in fostering homophobia in several countries in Africa. With data from seven countries (Uganda, Liberia, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Nigeria), the report exposes the impact of U.S. conservatives on policies toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as well as reproductive rights. This latest report builds on PRA’s earlier research on the issue.

The report argues that the culture wars between pro-life and pro-choice groups within the U.S. have been exported to Africa. Homophobia has connected different Christian denominations which are usually suspicious of one another, such as Evangelicals uniting with Catholics and Mormons who promote a “pro-family” agenda.

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MIT Video – Jackee Budesta Batanda: Cutting aid to Africa won’t help gay rights

MIT Video – Jackee Budesta Batanda: Cutting aid to Africa won’t help gay rights.

Cutting aid to Africa won’t help gay rights

First published in the Boston Globe on Saturday, 11 February, 2012

David Bahati reintroduced anti-gay legislation in the Uganda parliament, to a standing ovation. Photo image: Ronald Kabuubi/Associated Press

WHEN Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in Geneva at the International Human Rights Day last year, she sent a strong warning to countries passing anti-homosexuality bills that US foreign aid would be tied to tolerance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. The message was received with both anger and jubilation.

For the LGBT community, it was an outcome of months of lobbying. Within African countries that abhor the idea of gay rights, it was viewed as another imposition of the United States’ continued policing of sovereign countries. Homosexuality is banned in 37 African countries.

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Anti-gay bill gets standing ovation in Ugandan parliament

The last time Ugandan politician David Bahati tried to introduce an anti-homosexuality bill  he was on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show.

This was after Bahati and his proposed law had been roundly denounced by President Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He had called for, among other things, the death penalty for gay adults who have sexual relations with minors of the same gender.

When talking with Rachel Maddow back in 2010, Bahati argued that his bill had been tabled to defend family values and the children of Uganda. But he did say during the course of the interview that he was willing to drop the death penalty clause.

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