Monday, April 02, 2012

Courageous LGBT Voices in Sudan

I was amazed to learn today that a few LGBTs in Sudan have had the courage to launch an online magazine to speak of their concerns.

A brief notice is available here, from The Daily Activist. A more extensive story is available here at PinkNews.

As the PinkNews story reminds us, "Sudan is one of the strictest countries in the world to criminalise homosexuality. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal and, according to Article 148, capital punishment applies to a man or woman engaging in such acts."
I encourage you to read the PinkNews story. The courage of these gay/lesbian Sudanese is astonishing. If their identities become known, they can probably be put to death. That puts our U.S. actions at Stonewall in perspective.
It appears that the Sudanese involved in this publishing effort are mostly located in the Muslim country of Sudan. But the article makes clear that the nation of South Sudan -- with Christians and animists in the majority -- is not much more progressive. As one commenter writes: "It will be interesting to see how the mainly Christian breakway nation of South Sudan develops when it comes to LGBT issues." Another commenter writes: "If it doesn’t end up as another Uganda it will be a very pleasant surprise." Indeed it will.
Gay-bashing is very popular in Africa -- and certainly among those with a link to the Anglican Communion. I hope homophobia will not overtake the national climate of South Sudan, which has so many more life-and-death issues with which to deal.
I spent a couple of weeks in South Sudan in 2006 as part of my diocese's Companion Diocese Relationship. I wasn't there with a partner. I wasn't there as an advocate for LGBT concerns. But I couldn't help being the lesbian I am. And I was in constant fear that some Sudanese force would identify me and nab me. I was well aware that I could have been snagged away from my Missouri and Lui friends by the Sudanese government. If they suspected or declared me "gay," the government could have killed me. Nobody that I am, I knew the State Department wouldn't do anything to help me.
How much greater is the courage of these Sudanese citizens who are publishing this online magazine! I am in awe of their courage. I wish I knew some way to offer my support. But I'm as ignorant about help them as my friends would have been had I been nabbed by Sudan back in 2006.

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