On Jan. 20, as the United States inaugurated a president who might roll back advances toward LGBT justice and equality, troops thousands of miles away in West Africa were reported entering the Gambia, seeking to install the newly inaugurated president who would replace that nation’s violently anti-LGBT strongman.
New U.S. President Donald Trump, who took the oath of office Jan. 20, has said contradictory things about LGBT rights, as he has about almost every topic. But he has selected many anti-gay conservatives to key government positions, so LGBT rights advocates are worried that recent advances will be rolled back.
The slim evidence that Trump might not be a disaster for LGBT rights is that he has some LGBT supporters, including gay Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, and says he will be a “real friend” to the LGBT community.
But his vice president, Mike Pence, is solidly anti-gay, as are his picks for secretary of education and attorney general, among many others.
In the Gambia, the loser in December’s presidential election was incumbent Yahya Jammeh, who received only 36.7 percent of the vote to challenger Adama Barrow’s 45.5 percent.
Until Jan. 20, Jammeh refused to cede power to Barrow, despite pleas and visits from the leaders of neighboring African countries. Barrow was inaugurated Jan. 19 in Senegal.
As troops from West African nations entered the Gambia on Jan. 20, there was reports that Jammeh was finally accepting his defeat and preparing to leave the country. That occurred after the Gambia’s chief of defense forces pledged his allegiance to Barrow. Barrow announced Jan. 20 on Twitter than Jammeh had agreed to step down. [Jammeh finally left the country late on Jan. 21.]
In the past, Jammeh has had LGBT people arrested, called homosexuals “vermin” and said the government would exterminate them like malaria-carrying mosquitoes. He threatened to slit gay men’s throats and declared that the letters LGBT must stand for “leprosy, gonorrhea, bacteria and tuberculosis.”
Barrow has been silent on LGBT rights.
Related articles about the United States:
- Donald Trump’s presidency is a grave threat to LGBT students — and Betsy DeVos is just the tip of the iceberg (Jan. 19, 2017, Salon)
- Trump’s Sales Pitch To LGBT Community: Islamophobia And T-Shirts. He’s selling “LGBTQ for Trump” shirts, but offering little else. (August 2016, Think Progress)
- Trump’s WhiteHouse.Gov Disappears Civil Rights, Climate Change, LGBT Rights. The minute Donald Trump was sworn into office, the White House’s web site changed—dramatically. (Jan. 20, 2017, The Daily Beast)
- What a Trump presidency could mean for LGBT Americans (December 2016, CNN)
- Donald Trump is teaching the GOP a different way to embrace gay rights (August 2016, Washington Post)
Related articles about the Gambia
- The Gambia: Jammeh has agreed to leave, new president tweets (Jan. 20, 2017, The Guardian)
- Jammeh offered final chance for peaceful exit (Jan. 20, 2017, Al Jazeera)
- Defeated anti-gay strongman demands Gambian revote (December 2016, 76crimes.com)
- ‘Hope for change’: Gambian voters oust anti-gay strongman
- Many help pro-LGBTI Gambian avoid anti-LGBTI homeland (August 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Gambia: Grim tale of torture; man expects to die in captivity (January 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Days after Obama photo, Gambia arrests 12 in gay raids (August 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Gambia plans life sentences for gay ‘repeat offenders’ (Sept. 8, 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Gambian president scapegoating LGBTI (December 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Report: Gambian arrests of alleged LGBTI now total 16 (November 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Report: Gambian arrests, detention, search for gays (Nov. 13, 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Gambia must stop wave of homophobic arrests and torture (Nov. 19, 2014, 76crimes.com)