Senegal Rallies to Criminalize Homosexuality

A man holds a sign reading ‘My son will not be an homosexual’ during a protest called by religious associations against homosexuality on May 23, 2021, on the Obelisque square in Dakar. (Photo by Seyllou and SEYLLOU / AFP)

Several hundred protesters rallied on Sunday in Dakar to demand that homosexuality be made a crime in Senegal.

It is not illegal to identify as gay in the conservative Muslim nation, but same-sex activity is already punishable by up to five years in prison.

According to a 2019 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex association Consensual same-sex relations are legal in 21 of 54 African countries.

The rally was organized by Samm Jikko Yi and a civil society collective that promotes “correct values”. At the rally, Religious leaders and civil society figures addressed hundreds of jubilant protesters, who had gathered in a central square for the rally

A representative of a student religious group Ousmane Kouta, told the crowd that Senegal is a country of faith and values. He said “It is homophobic and will remain so forever.”

A member of an association for young Muslims, Aminata Diallo said she attended the rally to protest homosexuality and demand its criminalization.

Responding to this, Senegal’s President Macky Sall has previously stressed that gay people are not ostracised in the nation of 16 million as same-sex activity ban reflects cultural norms. The government of Senegal has repeatedly ruled out legalizing homosexuality.

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