Liberian Gays Assaulted | African Press and The Anti-Gay Attacks

by Melanie Nathan, January 22, 2012

In Liberia where same-sex relationships are outlawed and sodomy criminalized with fines, a Liberian pro-Gay group, “Movement in Defence of Gay and Lesbian Rights”  came under physical assault when promoting LGBT  rights.

The group’s leaders, LeRoy Archie Pon-pon and Abraham Kamara, apparently escaped death last week at the hands of fellow students on campus where they had gone to rally for support, as reported by anti-gay Zimbabwe Press article which we have carried here to illustrate the anti-gay stance of press as noted in the first paragraph of the article.

In the wake of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s  comments that Britain would withhold aid to countries that do not reform legislation banning homosexuality, and the  pro LGBT human rights speech in Geneva by U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton  calling on African leaders to helm decriminalization of homosexuality in their Countries, the backlash has been severe both on the ground and in the African press.

Cameron, in an interview with BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, threatened to cut aid to anti-gay countries, declaring that nations receiving British aid should “adhere to proper human rights.”

Religious leaders and local anti-gay critics had a field time asserting  the British premier and Secretary lacked understanding of African cultural values.

Here is a recent report, illustrating how the comments of the leaders have been used  against LGBTI people in Africa producing biased and rhetorically enriched articles that can only serve to incite more gay hate in those countries, even in the wake of  physical attacks against gay activists in the country.

It is also important to note that the Articles written in these publications were never gay friendly to start with, often using debauched and insulting language long before western leaders were so forthright. It seems to be a losing battle either way.

Here is the report on the Liberian issue and the attacks written in a way that is typical to African Press. Though it does t does give voice to an anonymous source which is pro -LGBT safety and equality, the rhetoric and choice of language speaks volumes:-

Liberia: More gays and lesbians on show – Throble Suah | 2012-01-19 16:39:00

MONROVIA Liberia is said to have more people involved in homosexuality gay and lesbianism this paper has gathered.  Though there is no exact data to say how many people are homosexuals, many people interviewed believe the number is expected to rise if same-sex marriage is legislated in Liberia.

A man who spoke to this paper on condition of anonymity, but a self-confessed homosexual, said many Liberians were involved in the practice both at home and abroad, including former and current public officials, who could not wait to see the legalisation of same sex marriage introduced.

Besides Liberians, you have expatriates, who are part of it and are inducing others into it.

These people take up assignment with various diplomatic missions here, including foreign embassies, non-governmental organisations, as well as concessionaires and many more, the source noted.

The source, like others behind the scenes involved in the practice, quietly welcomes the campaign by the United States and Europe for gay and lesbian rights.

“I, like others (gay and lesbian) here, are grateful to the US and Europe for their campaigns to get us our rights.  At the same time, we frown on those opposing it. Let them know that love is not force, but a consensus between two people of the same or opposite sex.”

Though gay and lesbian practices are forbidden according to the Constitution of Liberia, particularly in the commission of the crime (sodomy), it is silent on public debate on the issue.

However, the source expressed optimism that when introduced in the House, a Bill seeking the protection of the rights of homosexuals will not face any obstacle.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Alex Tyler and some members of the House have opposed calls for the legitimisation of homosexuality. I am a Methodist and traditionalist.

I will never support a gay Bill because it will be damaging to the survival of the country, Tyler noted.

Speaker Tyler recently told the local Press that any Bill introduced in the House for the protection of gay and lesbians rights will be thrown into the Du-River or the Montserrado River in Monrovia.

Why must people have problems with same-sex marriage and not with forms of pornography? All human beings have their rights to do what pleases them. Therefore, those opposing it must leave us alone, the source noted.

Since the US and British governments set the legalisation of gay and lesbians rights as precondition for giving aid to Africa, there has been strong criticism and opposition on the issue.

In Liberia, there have been public debates at various street corners, offices, entertainment centres, homes and even at higher institutions of learning such as the University of Liberia, where a campaign group named, Movement in Defence of Gay and Lesbian Rights was assaulted.

The group leaders, LeRoy Archie Pon-pon and Abraham Kamara, escaped death last week at the hands of fellow students on campus where they had gone to rally for more support.

I have decided to carry the voices of local activists and local academics here on my site. Such as the articles of Charles Zambia, which will show educated analysis of issues rather than the retaliatory flamboyant nonsense spewed by writers who have no clue about the meaning of human rights.

In the meantime I am posting this article so you can see how gay Africa is fuel for fodder of the ignorant…

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