Sunday, February 1, 2009

Now, news from Ethiopia

ethiopian gays threatened as clerics seek homosexuality ban

Why are we such easy prey for all the moralists in the world? Why do all sorts of moralists find it pertinent to use the state to punish us for our sexuality? Why?

Mongezi Mhlongo (BTM reporter)

Ethiopia – 27January 2009: Ethiopian religious leaders have called on the country’s government to amend the constitution and ban homosexuality, a law which was never mentioned in the constitution of that country before.

In a meeting held in December 2008 in Addis Ababa, where heads of various congregations including the Roman Catholic, Ethiopian Orthodox and Protestant churches met, a resolution was made that seeks to end homosexuality which was branded as “the pinnacle of immorality.”

According Sonic Casuist of ETHIOGLBTI, a gay rights group in Ethiopia, homosexuality is still perceived as taboo and nonexistent in that country and many homosexuals are still in the closet.

“It is hidden, no one is out. The general population would like to claim that it does not exist”, she revealed.

Abune Paolos of Ethopia’s Orthodox Church, the second most influential church in Ethiopia with 40 percent of the population being its devoted followers, told reporters that homosexuals are “stupid” and should not be tolerated.

“For people to act in this manner they have to be dumb, stupid like animals. We strongly condemn this behavior, they have to be disciplined and their acts discriminated, they have to be taught a lesson.”

While homosexuality is illegal under the country’s penal code it is not mentioned in the constitution.

“The Ethiopian constitution bans any discrimination based on gender or any other reasons. However the penal code states that homosexuality is illegal”, Casuist pointed out.

She further highlighted that even though homosexuality is illegal in the country the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community congregates at secluded places.

“For those of us who live here we make and build our communities. We get together and we have places to go in the evenings however nothing is out in the open, it’s a hidden community”, Casuist said.

ETHIOGLBTI is a group that aims to increase public awareness and understanding of LGBTI issues in Ethiopia

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