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The southern African country, Botswana, definitively decriminalized the country’s homosexuality, upholding the decision proposed in 2019 and rejecting an appeal filed by the conservative government, which wanted to recriminalize same-sex unions. The information are from The Guardian.
Two years ago, the Supreme Court had already decriminalized by unanimous decision, considering unconstitutional two articles of the penal code that criminalized same-sex relationships: 164 and 165, which dealt with “unnatural offences”, providing for seven years of imprisonment for those who “have carnal relations with anyone against the order of nature”.
At the time, it reverberated well throughout the world, being hailed as a “historic movement” expected throughout Africa, considering that there, homosexuality remains illegal in more than half of the countries. However, the government ended up appealing the decision, saying that the “political issue” should be decided by parliament, not the courts.
As Judge Ian Kirby reads out his ruling, Botswana homosexuals live “in constant fear of being discovered or arrested. This leads to depression, suicidal behavior, alcoholism or drug addiction”.
With the final decision, Botswana joins countries like Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola and Seychelles.
South Africa, on the other hand, is the most progressive country in terms of LGBT rights on the African continent, having not only recognized equal civil marriage in 2006, but also has its legislation punishing those who discriminate or are homophobic. In addition, model Lehlogonolo Machaba was the first trans woman to be a finalist in the Miss South Africa pageant.
Although these few African countries have laws that protect LGBTs, it is also known that there is still a lot of discrimination and homotransphobic violence, including in South Africa itself. In everywhere else, homosexuality or transsexuality can even carry the death penalty.