According to CapitalFM news, gays in Uganda are fleeing to Kenya to escape the wave of homophobic assaults and attacks, which spurred from a recently introduced anti-gay bill.
LGBT individuals have been beaten, killed, jailed or simply have disappeared in countries like Uganda. To escape these fates, LGBT individuals have fled Uganda to Kenya.
But Uganda is not the only country in Africa where this is a fate for LGBT individuals.
According to the article, “some have fled a strict application of Islamic law in Somalia, others are running from general sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and yet others have fled a climate of growing hostility elsewhere in east Africa.”
However, these refugees are in a difficult position: they cannot return home because of the danger to their lives, and they cannot stay in Kenya, since refugees cannot work and since being gay is illegal.
There only option: go to another country. However, where? Most countries in Africa still have a law making being gay illegal.
Africa has become progressive in some regards; however, in the way of human rights for LGBT individuals, it seems to only be regressing.
This can be seen in two aspects:
First, last month UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told African leaders at the AU summit that they must respect gay rights, since being gay is still illegal in most countries in Africa.
Secondly, the CapitalFM article, while I commend Kenya for hosting these refugees for the time and drawing attention to these hateful acts, still refers to those who are gay as “homosexuals.” Homosexual is a medical term coined by doctors to describe the mental problems people who were gay faced. It was a derogatory term that often meant the doctors must “fix” how they feel, who they were. Homosexual is not a friendly term for the LGBT community since it was coined during a time where being gay was considered a mental illness, not a part of “normal” life. So one should stay away from using this term.
Africa has come a long way in the last decade or so; however it still has a long way to go, especially with respect to human rights. Citizens need to be able to live without fear of being killed for who they are. This (in my opinion) is the gravest UDHR violation, and it must be eradicated.