Life has been made unattainable for homosexuals in Senegal

Dakar (AFP) – “Folks right here do not attempt to perceive. You are homosexual: you are expelled, crushed, handed over to the police. So I attempt to keep in my nook; I am afraid of working into somebody who is aware of me and hates me,” exhales Abdou, a younger Senegalese gay.

At simply 20 years outdated, Abdou* obtained demise threats and suffered ostracism from his household. He bears witness to the virtually unattainable life in Senegal and the social exclusion of homosexuals in his nation.

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“The state of affairs is getting extra critical,” he stated. “The anger that individuals have…it is not one thing that existed earlier than.

Tensions over the taboo topic are rising in Senegal, which human rights teams say is marked by a rise in discrimination.

On this 95% Muslim and really working towards nation, homosexuality is broadly thought of deviant. The regulation punishes so-called acts “towards nature with a person of his intercourse” by imprisonment for one to 5 years.

“The state of affairs of the LGBTQI neighborhood may be very difficult, particularly the final 12 months and a half ‘characterised’ by an enormous ‘anti-homosexuality’ marketing campaign led by non secular and conservative associations who supposedly wish to restore Senegalese values,” Ousmane Aly Diallo tells AFP. , Amnesty Worldwide Researcher within the West and Central Africa Workplace.

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“It is extra dangerous to publicly show your LGBTQI id at the moment than it was just a few years in the past; there are an increasing number of assaults towards members of this neighborhood, typically filmed and broadcast on social media,” he notes.

In Might 2021 and final February, 1000’s of individuals demonstrated in Dakar, demanding elevated repression of homosexuality.

The topic can be instrumentalized politically. The principle opponent, Ousmane Sonko, made the struggle towards homosexuality an electoral argument for Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

– “You embarrass me” –

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Abdou’s childhood and adolescence had been traumatic, present process “non secular” baths by marabouts to treatment his supposed “illness” and his effeminate facet, to cover to dwell his sexuality. He was crushed by family members and tried suicide.

Till the day his life modified on the finish of 2021. The cousin spies on him and studies the dialog with the LGBT community to his father.

His father, divorced from his mom, instantly kicks him out of the house. “He despatched me messages the place he stated + you disgrace me; you do not need to dwell… +.”

Abdou contacts an affiliation overseas that may assist him escape to a rustic within the area. He hid there for 5 months, however in early Might his mom, who remained in contact, satisfied him to return.

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Since then, Abdou has been hiding at dwelling. Fearing for his life, his mom locks him in her room when she learns of the assault…

“Goor-jigéen” (male-female in Wolof) have lengthy been a part of the social panorama. “However what we discover at the moment is definitely intolerance in the direction of LGBTQI id,” notes Mr. Diallo. “This more and more harmful and extremely political intolerance is attributable to the rise of spiritual discourse and religiosity in Senegal and (…) the weak spot of establishments within the face of this rise.”

Sociologist Djiby Diakhate explains that “for a lot of Senegalese, if homosexuality develops, it will likely be a catastrophe; we are going to expertise drought, epidemics, unhealthy luck”.

Abdoulaye Guissé, a 28-year-old pupil, confides to homosexuals that he “does not see why Senegal wants to alter its perspective to provide extra space”. “They only need to do their practices discreetly; residents aren’t able to dwell with them.”

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Malamine Bayo, 32, recommends “learning the query if it is not a illness” or “if it is voluntary” to “supervise these individuals to allow them to dwell with out issues.”

In recent times, Islamic teams whose members studied primarily in Arab nations have been on the forefront of the struggle towards homosexuality in Senegal. It is usually condemned as a software utilized by Westerners to advertise values ​​which are allegedly international to the nation’s tradition.

– “Wretched Pressure” –

In mid-Might, France and Senegal had been rocked by the controversy surrounding Paris Saint-Germain footballer and Senegal worldwide Idriss Gano Gueye, who was accused of refusing to participate within the struggle towards homophobia throughout a match in France. He obtained an outpouring of help in Senegal.

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On the similar time, an American artist visiting Dakar was violently attacked – video posted on-line – by a mob of dozens of males who accused him of being homosexual due to his model.

On the initiative of the Islamic NGO Jamra, 11 MPs introduced a invoice in December 2021 that will punish homosexuality with a sentence of 5 to 10 years in jail. It was rejected by the parliament, which thought of the present laws to be comparatively strict.

For NGO spokesperson Mama Mactar Gueye, the LGBT neighborhood represents a “drawback” as a result of it has “began to disrupt public house” and “provoke”. In response to him, the nation is in “deplorable rigidity” and the regulation would shield “society, but in addition” homosexuals from “individuals’s justice”.

In 2021, Senegal was faraway from the record of protected nations of origin by the French Workplace for the Safety of Refugees and Stateless Individuals (Ofpra) resulting from dangers related to sexual orientation.

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Whereas South Africa has among the most progressive laws on LGBTI rights and several other nations have legalized same-sex relationships, Amnesty says in its newest report that in a number of nations on the continent, individuals have been harassed, arrested and prosecuted due to their sexual orientation. . Nonetheless, in a few of these nations the LGBT neighborhood is expressing itself, which is unthinkable in Senegal.

As a result of absence of official information and the range of contexts, specialists be aware that it’s tough to find out the extent of persecution in Senegal in comparison with different African nations the place the state of affairs can be tense.

– Double Look –

When homosexuality is revealed, these round him typically see the violence of his response as the one approach to save his “fame”.

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That is what Daouda*, an solely son who led the lifetime of a pupil, skilled till the day his father came upon about his homosexuality. “Then he pulled out a gun, he needed to shoot me (above)…”.

Daouda fled the nation within the area the place AFP met him, minimize off from his household for eight years.

“In Senegal, dwelling with homosexuality means being at risk from morning to nighttime; it is a very darkish path.” A number of of his associates dedicated suicide. They could not dwell in hiding.

On this context, many homosexual males lead a double life. Simply 3 months in the past, this was the destiny of Khalifa*, a bisexual. Married for 4 years, he lived till he was 34 with out these round him suspecting something. He not too long ago “condemned” misplaced his job, profession.

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His father threatened to “kill” him, he not sees his spouse or youngster and survives in a metropolis removed from Dakar.

Khalifa sees no different possibility however to hunt asylum overseas as a result of he has been recognized by the anti-LGBT motion and dangers persecution or publishing his title on the Web.

Abdou, too, want to go away Senegal to a spot the place he could be “accepted” and to rid his mom of the stigma.

“If I go away, it will likely be peace for my mom…” he stated in a damaged voice.

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*Names modified for safety causes.

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