“Are you homosexual?” was the question Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity asked minutes before he disbanded a young LGBT activist leadership workshop in Kampala. JASS’ Hope Chigudu, who was there supporting a workshop of young activists, says, “Fear and rage. I’ve never felt such fear and rage as I did when Lokodo invaded our space at that workshop. Then I looked at him and said, “As an elder, and minister, we are training them in leadership and that’s what the country wants. How can you as a church person, as a leader of people yourself appear so angry and without compassion.” This is just one instance in a wave of intense homophobia sweeping the continent.
On March 8th, International Women’s Day, three women will go on trial in Cameroon and face five years in jail if found guilty. Their supposed crime? Choosing who they want to have sex with. Liberia’s in the process of “strengthening” anti-gay laws, and, weeks ago, President Mugabe vowed to exclude gay rights from the Zimbabwean constitution. But even in the face of the dangers and intense backlash, LGBT activists are pushing back and speaking out—including JASS ally, GALZ, which recently presented a vivid analysis on the situation of LGBT women in Zimbabwe before the CEDAW Committee.