African anti-gay backlash is a sign of LGBT progress?

“Gay Rights in Africa Move Slowly, Cautiously Forward,” states the headline of a Voice of America article. Believing that requires a leap of faith, since anti-LGBT legislation is under discussion or nearing approval in Uganda, Nigeria and Liberia, while Zimbabwe just voted for a new constitution that prohibits same-sex marriages.

But the idea has some optimistic supporters.  As the article states:

This resistance to gay rights across the continent, though, actually may be a sign the movement is starting to gain some momentum, according to Neela Ghoshal, an LGBT Researcher for Human Rights Watch, based in Kenya.

“We know that this backlash demonstrates that we’re making progress. If the governments weren’t getting a little bit nervous, if religious leaders weren’t finding it necessary for them to speak out and say homophobic things, it might be because the movement hadn’t advanced enough,” he said.

Ghoshal said civil society groups in Africa are getting stronger, and becoming more open and less afraid to promote gay rights.

For more information, read the full article: “Gay Rights in Africa Move Slowly, Cautiously Forward.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at

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