Homosexuals in Senegal acquired in the best way

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

When Abdu* was solely 20 years previous, he acquired loss of life threats and was ostracized by his household. He testifies to the near-impossibility of life in Senegal and the social exclusion of homosexuals in his nation.

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“The scenario is getting an increasing number of severe,” he mentioned. “The anger that folks have… that hasn’t occurred earlier than.”

Tensions over this taboo subject in Senegal are on the rise, based on human rights organizations, with elevated discrimination.

On this 95% Muslim and extremely working towards nation, homosexuality is extensively thought-about deviant. The regulation punishes with imprisonment for a time period of 1 to 5 years for so-called actions “towards nature with an individual of his intercourse.”

“The scenario of the LGBTQI neighborhood could be very tough, particularly the final 12 months and a half has been ‘characterised’ by a large marketing campaign ‘towards homosexuality’ led by non secular and conservative associations that allegedly need to restore Senegalese values,” Ousmane Ali Diallo informed AFP. , Amnesty Worldwide researcher within the West and Central Africa workplace.

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“In the present day, it’s extra dangerous to indicate your LGBTQI id in public than it was a number of years in the past, and there are an increasing number of assaults on members of this neighborhood, which are sometimes filmed and broadcast on social networks,” he notes.

In Could 2021 and February final 12 months, 1000’s of individuals demonstrated in Dakar demanding an elevated crackdown on homosexuality.

The topic can be instrumentalized politically. Fundamental opponent Usman Sonko made the struggle towards homosexuality a marketing campaign argument in Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

– “You disgrace me” –

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Abdou’s childhood and youth had been traumatic: he underwent “non secular” marabout baths to treatment his supposed “illness” and effeminate aspect, to cover himself to be able to dwell his sexuality. He was crushed by kin and tried to commit suicide.

Till the day his life modified on the finish of 2021. He’s spied on by his cousin and informs his father in regards to the dialog with the LGBT Community.

His father, divorced from his mom, instantly kicks him out of the home. “He despatched me messages saying + you disgrace me, you don’t should dwell… +.”

Abdu contacts an abroad affiliation that helps him escape to a rustic within the area. There he took refuge for 5 months, however in early Could, his mom, who remained in contact, satisfied him to return.

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Since then, Abdu has been holed up at residence. 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’re celebrating right now is definitely intolerance of LGBTQI id,” Mr. Diallo notes. “This more and more harmful and extremely political intolerance is linked to the expansion of spiritual discourse and religiosity in Senegal and (…) to the weak point of establishments within the face of this development.”

Sociologist Djibi Diakhate explains that “for a lot of Senegalese, if homosexuality develops, it is going to be a catastrophe; we’re ready for drought, epidemics, unhealthy luck.

Abdoulaye Guissé, a 28-year-old pupil, admits he “would not perceive why Senegal ought to change its place to offer more room” to homosexuals. “They only must do their follow rigorously, the residents usually are not able to dwell with them.”

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Malamine Baio, 32, recommends “investigating the problem to verify it is not a illness” or, “if it is elective,” “management these individuals to allow them to dwell with out hardship.”

Lately, Islamic teams have been on the forefront of the struggle towards homosexuality in Senegal, whose members largely studied in Arab nations. It’s also denounced as a device utilized by Westerners to impose values ​​supposedly international to the nation’s tradition.

– “Deplorable stress” –

In mid-Could, France and Senegal had been rocked by a dispute over Paris Saint-Germain and Senegal worldwide footballer Idriss Gan Gouille, who was accused of refusing to affix the struggle towards homophobia whereas taking part in in France. He acquired an outpouring of assist in Senegal.

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On the identical time, an American artist visiting Dakar was viciously attacked – a video posted on-line – by a mob of dozens of males who, due to his fashion, accused him of being gay.

On the initiative of the Islamic NGO Jamra, in December 2021, 11 MPs launched a invoice that might punish homosexuality with 5 to 10 years in jail. It was rejected by the parliament, which thought-about the present laws to be relatively extreme.

For NGO consultant Mama Mactar Gueye, the LGBT neighborhood “poses an issue” because it “started to invade public house” and “provoke”. The nation is underneath “unlucky stress” and the regulation will defend “society in addition to” homosexuals from “individuals’s justice,” he mentioned.

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

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

Specialists notice that within the absence of official knowledge and given the variety of contexts, it’s tough to ascertain the extent of persecution in Senegal in comparison with different African nations, the place the scenario can be tense.

– Double Rival –

When homosexuality is revealed, the setting typically sees within the riot of his response the one solution to save their “status”.

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

Dauda fled to a rustic within the area the place he was met by AFP, minimize off from his household for eight years.

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

On this context, many homosexual males lead double lives. Even 3 months in the past, such was the destiny of Khalifa *, a bisexual. Married for 4 years, lived to be 34 years previous, not suspecting something within the setting. Not too long ago “condemned”, misplaced his job, profession.

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

Khalifa sees no selection however to hunt asylum overseas because the anti-LGBT motion has recognized him and is prone to harassing him or making his identify public on the web.

Abdou would additionally like to depart Senegal for a spot the place he could be “acquired” and spare his mom the disgrace.

“If I go away, it is going to be peace for my mom…” he mentioned in a damaged voice.

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*Names have been modified for safety functions.

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