Gay Zimbabweans Fight Stigma, Harsh Laws

On Jan 12, 2017 Voice of America reported: WASHINGTON — Trymore “Tiara” Gendi of Zimbabwe clearly remembers the moment her life changed forever. In 2008, at age 16, she was outed as being gay to her family by a friend. Gendi, who was born a male but identifies as female, returned home to find her mother devastated by the news.

“My mom was like, sitting on the floor with rat poison in her hand, crying and saying, ‘I am going to kill myself, saying, I will not have a gay son, I am going to kill myself’ that’s how I was outed,” she said.

Gendi’s parents eventually grew to accept her, but that was not the case with society at large. Pictures of her dressed in a wig and high heels began circulating, and people in her neighborhood responded with violence.

“People started gathering around discussing what they are going to do to me. I was hiding for days, but people knew that I was still around,” Gendi said. “So they went and told my friend, ‘We don’t want to see him in this neighborhood, and the next day that we are going to see him, we are going to put wire on fire for three days and that’s what we are going to use to beat him up until the gay could get out of him.'”

Before being injured, Gendi was rescued and taken out of the neighborhood by local LGBT activists who kept her safe in hiding for months.

Gendi’s story is not unusual. Zimbabwe is one of the least accepting countries in the world for gay, lesbian and transgender people. A 2006 revision to the country’s criminal code expands the penalty for sodomy to include acts that “would be regarded by a reasonable person as an indecent act.” This could include two men holding hands, hugging or kissing and could carry an extended prison term.

And Zimbabwe is not alone. Homosexuality is outlawed in 35 African countries and punishable by death in two countries, Mauritania and Sudan, as well as in areas of Somalia and Nigeria, according to Amnesty International U.K.

Read more at Gay Zimbabweans Fight Stigma, Harsh Laws

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s