Queer Notes, September-October 2012

October 10, 2012

by Suzanne Rose

Yaounde, Cameroon—Human rights leaders from Africa united to denounce “Gay Hate Day,” which took place on Aug. 21 in Cameroon, and the ongoing arrests of people suspected of being Gay. The Archbishop of Yaounde contributed to this homophobic backlash calling homosexuality “shameful” and “an affront to the family, enemy of women and creation.” He also said homosexuality belongs with pedophilia and bestiality. The Aug. 21 date marks the savage murder and alleged rape of Narcisse Olivier Djomo Pokam. And in Aug. 2011, Roger Jean Claude Mbede’ was arrested for “homosexual behavior” and sentenced to three years in prison.

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Harare, Zimbabwe—Police arrested 44 members of the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) at their offices the weekend of Aug. 10. According to the members, some of the police were visibly drunk and assaulted them using baton sticks, open hands and clenched fists before detaining them without charge. Some people required hospitalization from their injuries. The group had earlier launched a book chronicling human rights violations against them. Everyone was released on that Sunday.

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Grand Rapids, Mich.—A clash with those protesting the inaugural Gay Day led a local human rights group to call for Grand Rapids police protection of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people. Rape and death threats were made against those celebrating the community’s diversity. Police said that “nobody came forward with a specific complaint, no charges were filed and the report has been closed.” The National Organization for Women stated that the police’s “failure to take action to protect our community from such horrendous threats of violence is alarming and unacceptable.”

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