You may know Africa is not one country....you may know it has no tigers...but did you know it's one of the most intolerant regions in the world when it comes to gay rights? If you ever thought gay pride took guts, you might be impressed at what millions of Africans undergo in their quest to be true to themselves. Here are a few facts about LGBT life in Africa that may surprise you.
South Africa is the most progressive nation in Africa regarding gay rights. It allows same-sex couples to adopt, and in 2006 it was the first nation to grant gay couples the same rights as straight couples, including marriage.
Anti-gay activists in Africa frequently refer to homosexuality as "a Western disease" that has taken hold only in recent decades. Refuting this, reports of cross-dressing African men who lived as other men's "wives" date back to the 1500s. Even more, Zimbabwe has cave paintings over 2000 years old that depict homosexuality!
Numerous countries, including some where homosexuality is against the law, host annual "Mr. Gay ___" competitions (such as Mr. Gay South Africa, Mr. Gay Namibia) to elect an LGBT community spokesperson.
11. Binyavanga Wainaina is an inspiration to many.
In 2014, one of Africa's most prominent writers, Binyavanga Wainaina, shocked the African community when he publicly came out. He declared his comfort at being openly gay in his home country of Kenya, where homosexuality is still illegal””demonstrating the new middle-class African paradigm where homosexuality is against the law but homosexuals are largely accepted.
The spread of HIV in the African gay community is still progressing at an alarming pace. Gay men are 19 times more likely to be HIV-positive than straight men, and transgender women are 49 times more likely to be HIV-positive than heterosexual women.