Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Does the New "Free" Egypt Mean Freedom for Gays & Lesbians There?

by Keli Goff

Huffington Post

February 14, 2011

While models from around the world are here in the Big Apple strutting their stuff for New York fashion week, a group of models halfway around the world narrowly escaped brutal punishment for doing the exact same thing.

In June of last year, seven male models and a makeup artist in the Sudan were charged with indecency and nearly sentenced to a public flogging because the men wore makeup in a fashion show for Sudanese Next Top Model. After a public outcry they ended up paying fines, but the story is a strong reminder that in many parts of the world anything perceived as a threat to traditional gender roles is not only still frowned upon but can actually be dangerous.

The sentencing in the Sudan comes on the heels of the murder of David Kato, one of only a handful of gay rights activists in the African country of Uganda. Kato was killed just a month after successfully suing a Ugandan newspaper for publishing the names and addresses of Kato and other gays and lesbians in the country under the headline "Hang Them." Brenda Namigadde, a lesbian currently facing deportation from Britain, said she fears being tortured or killed if forced to return to the country, claiming that a number of her gay friends there have simply disappeared.

According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association sex between adults of the same gender remains a criminal act in 85 countries. A significant number of those countries are located in Africa and the Middle East.