Tanzanian President John Magufuli has decided to up the war on LGBT rights in the African nation. In a statement the leader said:
“Those who teach such things do not like us, brothers. They brought us drugs and homosexual practices that even cows disapprove of.”
Deputy Health minister Hamisi Kigwangalla also tweeted:
“Have you ever come across a gay goat or bird? Homosexuality is not biological. It is unnatural.”
Kigwangalla also asked for gay and lesbian citizens to have their names published in newspapers. The comments are disturbing as Tanzania is currently cracking down of homosexuality. The country is prosecuting gay people, and even detaining some men for ‘anal examinations,’ a clear violation of human rights.
AIDS health centers have been closed and lube banned, both because they are believed to encourage homosexuality. Gay men have been asked to turn themselves into authorities. If found guilty, a Tanzanian man could spend up to 30 years in prison for simply being who he is sexually. Same sex activists are now being targeted too, threatened with deportation or arrest.
Well, actually, homosexuality is noted in many animals and refutes Magufuli’s claims – in goats and birds in fact. Homosexuality is in fact ubiquitous and natural, in the animal kingdom.
As this article from the BBC shows, many animals display homosexuality, as much as, or in some cases more often than, human beings. The article states that 8 percent of rams are only interested in other males – even when fertile female sheep are available.
To not be aware of homosexuality in the animal kingdom is one thing, but to state that it does not exist for the sake of anti-gay propaganda, when it clearly does, is ignorant and hurtful.
The rights of LGBT community continue to be challenged all over the world, but this is particularly disturbing because of the authoritarian nature of these action and that they come from the very top.
As a minority group, LGBT people can suffer greatly due to discrimination and mistreatment all over the world, but hopefully attitudes are changing. Sexuality is not a crime and yet in many places of the world, it is being treated as if it is.
Featured image via Pexels.