Friday, 5 February 2010

Africa and the Anti-Gay Drive

Earlier in the week, Newsnight broadcasted a powerful piece on Uganda. Today, Pink News reports that 'deputy foreign minister Henry Okello Oryem has said his country's anti-homosexuality bill is likely to be changed before it passes into law'. The exact details are not given. This follows global pressure from Obama and Gordon Brown to abandon a proposed law that would execute homosexuals. With other anti-gay laws proposed in Malawi it seems that Africa is somewhere I should definitely put on the 'no holiday' list. In all seriousness, how many of us do contemplate 'they would kill me' in terms of choosing where they can/should travel to? As ever greater amounts of Africa appear to erect the barbed wire and 'no entry' notice to homosexuals, there is a challenge for global leaders to think more holistically about their approach. Brown and Obama have no worries about telling 'tin pot' African countries that have no strategic importance to the west what to do, but we seem much more reluctant to do so to our neighbours. Brown has an opportunity to condemn the views of the Pope who has announced controversial plans to visit Britain in September and used the announcement of his visit as an opportunity to attack Britain's equality laws, following his earlier attack on gay marriage - calling it an 'attack' on creation.

In this month, LGBT History Month, our political leaders need to learn the lessons of the past and condemn homophobia wherever it might be, and no matter how politically inconvenient it might be. Watch the Newsnight piece here.

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