A woman holds a sign reading “LGBT people are a threat to humanity” during a protest organized by religious groups against homosexuality in 2021. (SEYLLOU / AFP via Getty Images)
Senegalese lawmakers have rejected a frightening bill that would have doubled the penalty for same-sex sex and criminalized allies who defend LGBT + rights.
Senegal is one of 28 of 45 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that criminalize homosexuality.
The country currently punishes “unnatural acts” with five years in prison and a fine, but a group of 15 members of Senegal’s National Assembly last month announced a bill that would have doubled that sentence to 10. years, plus a fine.
The bill would also have jailed intersex people for up to 10 years, claiming they are “adept at every sexual orgies imaginable”, and would have imposed a fine and three to five years in jail for anyone defending homosexual rights or the decriminalization of homosexuality.
This would have been enforceable even if statements in favor of the queer community had been made on private social media pages.
The bill, developed by grassroots activists for years and fueled by the anti-LGBT + lobbying collective Ãnd SÃ mm Djikko Yi, compares LGBT + people to “bestiality, necrophilia and other related practices.”
Fortunately, Senegalese parliamentary lawmakers have now rejected the anti-LGBT + bill.
According to Erase 76 crimes, a publication which “focuses on the human toll of more than 76 countries of anti-LGBTI laws and the fight to repeal them”, the chairman of the majority parliamentary group AymÃ©rou Gningue called the bill a “false debate”.
He said gay sex is “already clearly prohibited and punishable by law in Senegal” and added: “The current law in Senegal, which dates back to 1966 … is clear on this. It is not necessary to add or remove a comma.
Senegalese elections are scheduled for January 23, and Gningue accused the deputies of the National Assembly who tabled the bill of “political instrumentalisation”, claiming that they were trying “to set up a false debate in this pre-election period. “to” hide hidden political objectives “.