IDAHOBIT in Cameroon: Amid Covid-19 crisis, activists demand LGBTI rights

Despite the global health crisis, LGBTI activists in Cameroon figured out how to celebrate IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia) on May 17.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


By Courtney Stans

Anti-Covid-19 measures such as Cameroon’s lockdown and prohibition of gatherings larger than 50 people presented a challenge to organizations seeking to organize protests against the homophobia and related intolerance that is so common in Cameroon.

Some organizations decided to delay planned activities, but others developed new socially distant strategies for their activism.

Alternatives – Cameroon, one of the largest and most experienced LGBTI rights organizations in Cameroon, launched a public awareness campaign through a video montage that traces the birth  of the organization and how it evolved by overcoming  major challenges while promoting tolerance and acceptance of sexual and gender minorities.

In a collaboration between Humanity First Cameroon and Alternatives Cameroon, activists wrote press releases to denounce the violence and human rights violations that LGBTI people face in Cameroon.

Camfaids held a discussion and information session for its beneficiaries at their headquarters. To protect against transmission of the new coronavirus, this activity incorporated systematic washing of hands, respect for social distancing and the wearing of masks.

The LGBTI anti-AIDS organizations Colibri in Bafoussam and 2HRC in Bertoua held festive evenings, giving LGBTI Cameroonians the opportunity to express themselves positively. (The IDAHOBIT party near Bafoussam was broken up by police. More on that later.)

The legal aid group Défenseurs Sans Frontières postponed the activities it had planned for IDAHOTBIT day.

One LGBTI leader commented:

“What’s essential is not always to organize a thousand activities on  IDAHOTBIT day, but to be able to send a strong signal to those who perpetrate homophobic and transphobic violence in order to make them understand the frustrations we experience and the love we have to share. To break the silence is to challenge consciences.”

Courtney Sans, the author of this article, is a Cameroonian journalist who writes under a pseudonym. Contact her at info@76crimes.com.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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