Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Denounce homophobia in African countries during President Obama’s tour of the continent
Amnesty International, a major human rights group, recently released a report detailing the rising levels of homophobia in sub-Saharan African countries, 38 of which criminalize “homosexual acts.” Recently, President Barack Obama toured Africa, where he called for an end to discrimination against the gay community; Senegal’s president responded that the nation was “not ready” to decriminalize homosexuality. Thank President Obama for promoting LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) equality abroad, and ask him to redouble his efforts to call for an end to the violence against LGBT people in Africa.
Amnesty International released a report days before the president’s tour, detailing a rise in horrific acts of violence against LGBT people in sub-Saharan Africa, where “homosexual acts” are illegal in 38 countries. The organization documented specific cases of violence and abuse in four sub-Saharan African nations, including institutionalized homophobia perpetrated by police, who allegedly beat and forced invasive anal exams on gay detainees, and extortionists, who use accusations of homosexuality to blackmail people. Between June and November 2012, Amnesty International documented at least seven murders, five of them of lesbians, that appeared to be committed because of the victims’ sexuality or gender identities.
While in Senegal, President Obama met President Macky Sall and called on Senegal’s government to decriminalize “homosexual acts.” President Macky replied that though Senegal is a “very tolerant” country, it was “not ready” to decriminalize homosexuality. The next leg of President Obama’s tour is in South Africa, where Amnesty International reportedly “documented a persistently high number of rapes and murders against the [LGBT] community even though same-sex conduct is not criminalized and the country boasts one of the most progressive constitutions in the world.”
In the same week as the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling to strike down a law that denied recognition to same-sex marriages, President Obama has an opportunity to take a strong stand in defense of the LGBT community globally. Congratulate him for his comments to Senegal’s president, and ask him to continue to put pressure on African nations to stop the violence against LGBT people.
Dear President Barack Obama,
I would like to thank you for taking a stand for the rights of the LGBT community in African nations during your visit to Senegal. Your comments reverberated worldwide just as the Supreme Court struck down a law that denied recognition to same-sex marriages in the United States.
However, institutionalized homophobia in Africa continues. Amnesty International recently released a report detailing increasing instances of violence and discrimination in sub-Saharan Africa, where homosexuality is illegal in 38 countries. The level of violence against the LGBT community in sub-Saharan Africa is rising. Influential politicians and religious leaders can help turn the tide against homophobia by promoting equality and denouncing discrimination.
I urge you to continue your strong stand for the rights of LGBT people worldwide.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: torbakhopper via Flickr