Africa

Proved: Lesbians, gays, straights can be friends in Cameroon

Rassemblement autour de la banderole de promotion des événements du 14 novembre 2015. (Photo d'AVAF)

Supporters gather around a banner advertising the events of Nov. 14, 2015. (Photo courtesy of AVAF)

A homophobic neighborhood in Yaoundé, Cameroon was the site of a shock action on Nov. 14 that demonstrated the resilience of the LGBTI community and the ease with which gay and straight Cameroonians can interact peacefully.

The event, called “Homosexual Visibility in Homophobic Neighborhoods,” was organized by AVAF (the Association for the Promotion of Women) to celebrate the successes of its first year in existence.

Members of the organization had long planned this day to mobilize people specifically against lesbophobia. The event was made possible by financial support from the XminY association, a new partner of AVAF based in the Netherlands.

On Nov. 14, AVAF hosted about 40 heterosexual Cameroonians, more than 100 lesbians and 15 gay men for three activities:

  • L’équipe de football de l’AVAF. (Photo de l'AVAF)

    The AVAF football (soccer) team. (Photo courtesy of AVAF)

    A football (soccer) match between 15 members of AVAF and the men’s team from the Nkomo Club;

  • A screening of the film “Jenny’s Wedding” about female homosexuality;
  • A fashion show and the selection of Miss and Mister AVAF 2015.

AVAF announced in a press release:

Mister et Miss AVAF 2015. (Photo de l'AVAF)

Mister and Miss AVAF 2015. (Photo courtesy of AVAF)

“We wanted through this day to promote the image of lesbians and to restore their confidence in themselves and in their future. They have real control over their lives. …

“The project allowed the meeting between the lesbian, gay and straight, to get together and share a day of sports, recreational and festive activity without judgment and in solidarity but also to raise awareness of gender stereotypes.”

At the same time that AVAF thanked XminY for its support, it encouraged English-speaking donors to pay greater attention to the French-speaking lesbian community.

Sandrine Ateh, executive director of AVAF, expressed her thanks to participating organizations for their material and organizational support: Affirmative Action, Humanity First Cameroon, Camfaids, Horizons Femme (Women’s Horizons), CAMNAFAW, CELHUSUS, Trésors Progrès and Children of Africa.

Sandrine Ateh, la directrice exécutive de l’AVAF (Photo de l'AVAF)

Sandrine Ateh, executive director of AVAF (Photo courtesy of AVAF)

Ateh said, “We remain confident that, by the daily commitment of all, homophobia in Cameroon as we know it and suffer from it, will become a distant memory so that future generations, no matter their sexual orientation, will be able to live in freedom, responsibility and confidence.”

4 thoughts on “Proved: Lesbians, gays, straights can be friends in Cameroon

  1. Pingback: Why lesbian groups boycotted African LBT workshop | 76 CRIMES

  2. Pingback: Cameroon: Praise for LBT workshop, denunciation of boycott | 76 CRIMES

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