It’s not just U.S.
All things being relative, the U.S. isn’t such a bad place to be gay. In fact, for all of our problems, I can still thank my lucky stars I was born in a country that grants me some basic legal protections for being who I am.
Recently, I’ve been doing some volunteer language work with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission(parce que je parle français). Just this week I stayed up late to help bring you this letter, which I’m asking you to electronically sign and send to officials in Senegal. Why? As per IGLHRC’s Action Alert:
On June 19, 2009, four men from the city of Darou Mousty, in the department of Kébémer in the Louga region, were arrested and subsequently detained at a police station in the city. These four men were arrested for alleged sexual acts “against nature.” There are also reports that the police forced these men to reveal the names of people who are supposedly “homosexual.” The week of August 10, 2009, two of the men were convicted of “unnatural” offenses, despite the only evidence against them being denunciations from townspeople. One man received a sentence of 2 years in prison and the other 5 years. A third man, who is seventeen years old, will stand trial August 24, 2009 in a court for minors. The status of the fourth is unknown.
Their situation isn’t hopeless. Nine members of the humanitarian aid group AIDS Senegal were arrested for similar charges last year and sentenced to 8 years in prison each, but according to IGLHRC, they had their sentences overturned in April by the Court of Appeals in Dakar.
A friend of mine who works for IGLHRC told me the commission’s already seen a great response to their calls for people to sign this letter, and I encourage you all once again to take a moment to do your part and help keep the entire world safe for the LGBT community.