US President has this week used an address to young African leaders to stand up for the LGBT rights that are frequently trivialised or ignored throughout much of the African continent.
The President was the keynote speaker at the Young African Leaders Initiative’s three-day summit held in Washington D.C, and spoke on a range of pertinent issues including economic growth, the Sub Saharan HIV crisis, corruption, and the puch towards greater democratic governance.
While discussing the issues of discrimination and the ritualistic killing of albinos in Africa, Obama also pointed out the severe and ongoing discrimination faces by the LGBTI community.
“The same, by the way, is true for sexual orientation,” Obama said. “I spoke about this in Africa, and everybody is like, oh, oh, we don’t want to hear that. But the truth of the matter is, is that if you’re treating people differently just because of who they love and who they are, then there’s a connection between that mindset and the mindset that led to racism, and the mindset that leads to ethnic conflict. It means that you’re not able to see somebody else as a human being.”
The President’s comments echo those he made on a recent trip to a number of African nations last month despite being warned by his hosts not to discuss LGBT issues.
Despite the Republic of South Africa becoming one of the world’s first nations to introduce same-sex marriage, anti-gay sentiment remains rife throughout much of the continent with homosexuality being illegal and punishable with severe penalties in a number of African nations.