Issues facing LGBT people in sub-Saharan Africa: suggested reading - Commons Library Standard Note

Published 29 July 2011 | Standard notes SN06043

Amended 12 August 2011

Authors: Jon Lunn

Topic: Africa, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Human rights, International politics and government

Over the last decade, there has been a gradual increase in awareness in the UK about the human rights abuses being experienced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people across sub-Saharan Africa. Many of these abuses are at the hands of the authorities, but religious leaders and traditional forces within civil society play a major role in perpetuating and deepening ideas that such expressions of human identity and sexuality are ‘un-African’. There is a growing community of activists campaigning for change across the sub-continent. Their activities mean that they are often particular targets of harassment and violence.

Many African states retain criminal sanctions for same-sex relationships that derive from the colonial era. In a few cases, there have recently been moves to strengthen those sanctions. Removing such criminal sanctions from the statute book remains very much an up-hill struggle.

This introductory bibliographical note gathers together a selection of press articles and official and civil society sources of information about the issue. It includes links to recent key UK Government documents on the promotion of the rights and equality of LGBT people, including in sub-Saharan Africa.

The note is not comprehensive and will not be automatically updated.

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