Is Sierra Leone Ready for Gay and Lesbianism?

With Elkass Sannoh

Pen of The Voiceless

Is Sierra Leone Ready for Gay and Lesbianism?

I have been thrilled by an incident in Ghana which went viral in Africa and other parts of the world. For those who are not knowledgeable on the issue, a well-known event promoter was brutally beaten by a mob in Ghana for being gay. Kinto Rothmans was lured into the ambush by a man named Salim, whom he had told he loved. Rothmans is the CEO of Get Familiar (G), which organizes the popular Friday Friends club night in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

Like Democracy, a Western ideology which was imported into Africa, Lesbianism and Gayism or Bisexual and Transgender practices are imported Western ideologies being trumpeted as Human Rights issues. Despites the fact that Gays and Lesbians are said to have been cursed by God/Allah in the prominent holy Quran and Bible, such practices have been glorified, accommodated and highly honoured by the super-world powers, hence become another requirement to give out loan(s) to African Governments.

Whether the Government of Sierra Leone will legalize the status of homosexuals or not have readily engender more controversial debates than answering the question: Is the Sierra Leone Government ready to protect Gays and Lesbians as citizens of the state or not? For absolute clarity, let it be known here that a GAY also known as homosexual, is a male person who is specifically attracted to a sexual partner of the same gender (male to male romantic sex), whilst a LESBIAN is a woman who is sexually attracted to other females.

Today, Sierra Leone is a signatory to many Human Rights treaties, prominent among these treaties/conventions are: International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and other Degrading Treatment. The question should not be whether they have been domesticated; it must be whether every citizen is benefiting from these international treaties/conventions.

Indeed it is an undisputable fact that Sierra Leone is widely respected for her religious tolerance and cultural uniqueness, therefore any law that contravenes those religious beliefs is considered invalid. It is against this backdrop that Gays and Lesbians are not being protected and accorded the full citizenship rights such as Freedom of Association; Access to good medical facility and Right to engage in same sex marriage. The Voiceless Sierra Leonean is not a campaigner for Gays or Lesbians but just wanted to lay bare certain facts. Inherently, the holy Quran and Bible did not make any provision for same sex marriage or courtship. The questions on the lips of many Sierra Leoneans are: Where did this same sex marriage emanate from? Is it from sexual orientation or genetic make-up? If it is genetic makeup, why must we brutalize and further devise laws that discriminate and criminalizes them?

Section 15, Chapter III, Act No. 6 of the Sierra Leone Constitution states: “Whereas EVERY PERSON in Sierra Leone is entitled to the fundamental human rights and freedoms of individual, that is to say, has the right, whatever his tribe, place of origin, political opinion, colour, creed or SEX, but subject to the respect for rights and freedoms…” Also, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon told the Human Rights Council in March, 7th 2012 that “Some say that sexual orientation and gender identity are sensitive issues…I did not grow up talking about these issues. But I learned to speak out because lives are at stake, and because it is our duty under the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to protect the rights of every one, everywhere.”

Shortly after such pronouncement by the UN Secretary General, Sierra Leoneans, especially the religious stakeholders became disturbed, describing it as the end time. In the same year, around June, one Benevolent Secondary School student in Makeni, Northern Sierra Leone, Abdulai Drammeh was physically attacked and victimized for being a gay.

Abdulai who was residing at 2 Piston Lane was always in the company of two of his intimate friends who admitted that they were Gays. His victimization and public embarrassment started when one of his gay friends, age 17 had experience serious stomach pains for over a week. This teen was taken to the government hospital by his mother. On arrival, the boy revealed that he was engaged in anal sex, the mother was vexed and started shouting until they reached the hospital. In a very angry mood, the mother shouted at her son in the presence of the Medical Doctor and the other nurses. One of the nurses laughed and said, “So your son is a homosexual?” The mother in turn said, “his stomach is swollen with sperm and that is why he has stomach pain.”The Doctor did not help the situation; instead he said “I don’t have treatment for people like you so go away.” When they arrived home, the boy was depressed and decided to leave his parents’ home and seek the attention of a herbalist for medication. When the sexual identity of Abdulai’s friends became renowned, his parents ceased from paying his school fees and his classmates where calling him “homo.” Abdulai was uncomfortable in his community and was only walking around at night. He decided to run for his life when groups came beaten him up and described him a witch. Abdulai left Sierra Leone and up-till-now he is nowhere to be found. His father, a vibrant Muslim cleric denounced Abdulai and said he has no place in their community. This is the Pen of the Voiceless Sierra Leone.

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