The defeat and eventual flight of former Gambia President Yahya Jammeh (left) is being seen as a “great relief” for LGBT people.
Lambert Lamba, a leading gay rights activist living in Cameroon, said LGBT people “were often martyred” under Jammeh’s rule.
ADO Jr, president of the Ivory Coast activist group Lesbian Life, added that Jammeh “was a kind of icon of homophobia.”
Unicorn Booty reports:
During more than 22 years in power, Jammeh turned Gambia into one of the region’s most hostile environments for sexual minorities, and would-be activists had to flee the country. The homophobic rhetoric was very frequently present in speeches by the former president.
He denounced homosexuality as “anti-god, anti-human and anti-civilization” as well as “an evil and strange social cancer.” In 2008, he said gay people had 24 hours to leave the country, vowing to “cut off the head” of any who remained, and in 2015 he warned gay men he would slit their throats.
Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow (right) has not yet said anything on the issue of LGBT rights.
However, Janu Camara, a lesbian soccer player who has found asylum in Canada, said that “no matter who rules the Gambia, they will never accept homosexuality. Even if the government wants to legalize it or something,” she added, “the society will never accept it.”