Openly Publishes Op-Ed About Decriminalization In Africa By OutRight's Africa Program Officer

Sixty-eight countries around the world continue to criminalize same-sex relations. Almost half of them are based in Africa, comprising more than half the continent.

These laws are grossly outdated.

In effect, they send the message that LGBT+ people are criminals purely for whom we love or our gender. They give the green light to harassment and violence, legitimize state persecution, and put LGBT+ people at risk of blackmail and extortion as well as forced outing, imprisonment, and even death, leading to many of us by and large living secret lives in fear for our safety.

In many countries that still carry these relics of colonial rule, criminalization laws lie largely dormant, undoubtedly affecting public opinion and hindering acceptance of LGBT+ people, but not looming over them with the threat of imprisonment.

Across the African region, however, events in recent months point to a trend of testing the efficacy of such laws and setting a dangerous judicial precedent paving the way for imprisonment of LGBT+ people in the future.

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