On Saturday, a police officer in Cameroon seeking sex with a sex worker was so shocked to find that his intended partner was transgender instead of biologically female that he beat him severely, arrested him, and charged him with homosexuality.
Defenders of the human rights of LGBT sex workers in Limbe in coastal Cameroon said that Nicholas, commonly known as Nicoline, remains in detention awaiting transfer to Buea Central Prison on Tuesday, Feb. 4, where he would await trial on homosexuality charges.
In Cameroon, where homosexual acts are punishable by up to five years in prison, such sentences are frequently used inappropriately against reputed homosexuals without evidence that they actually performed illegal sexual acts.
Nicholas sought help from the Cameroon Association for Empowerment Outreach Programs (CAMEF), an organization that fights for human rights and against AIDS among LGBT people and sex workers in Limbe. CAMEF reported:
“This law enforcement officer happens to be a client of one of the hot spots (in church street) frequented by us sex workers here in Limbe. As soon as he got to this spot, he saw Nicholas and immediately wanted to get intimate with Nicholas but when he realized Nicholas was a biological male, he started punching and hitting him from the moment he discovered to when others came to rescue Nicholas from his attack.
“He said evil people like Nicholas are a disgrace to the community being a trans sex worker is something which is extremely evil and he will not forgive Nicholas because he is going to die.”
CAMEF says that transgender sex workers face double discrimination, both for being sex workers and also for being transgender, which is associated with homosexuality
The organization and a volunteer lawyer are seeking Nicholas’s release.
CAMEF said the beating and arrest of Nicholas is the latest in a series of attacks on transgender people. Previously Franky, Jonas, Doloress and Paul (“Pauline”) have fled from Limbe after beatings and death threats from police. Franky and Jonas had moved to Limbe last year to seek safety from imprisonment and mob attacks that they had endured in Yaounde, but they fled again after they were attacked in Limbe.
Last year, Doloress was stripped naked and beaten, and was about to be stoned to death until CAMEF and others intervened, the organization said. It added:
The local television channel in Limbe broadcast Doloress on TV and her being beaten by the crowd, and they called her evil, etc. Doloress’s friend had a broken skull and had to spend couple of days in the hospital before fleeing town, because he feared for his safety.
- Cameroon: 9 years in prison for gay sex; no witnesses (76crimes.com)
- More mob violence in Cameroon; anti-gay attacks continue (76crimes.com)
- Cameroon: Christmas attack on rights/AIDS office (76crimes.com)