In Cameroon, the topic of homosexuality is no longer taboo. Both in Yaoundé and Douala, on the street, in taxis, restaurants, bars, offices and markets, on the radio and on television, it is difficult to spend a day or even an hour without the conversation reverting to this topic.
Opposition to homosexuality has become the focus of increasingly frequent conferences, panel discussions, sermons, religious campaigns, and interviews with politicians, bishops and other religious leaders in Cameroon, especially in the Cameroon Tribune, the government’s bilingual daily newspaper.
President Paul Biya suggests that people in Cameroon may be changing their minds about homosexuality, but the most obvious change is the frequency of discussions of the issue.
Increasingly, the issue of homosexuality comes up in day-to-day conversations. Most people agree: “With as much energy has we can muster, in the harshest terms possible, we must condemn this behavior, which is so harmful for Cameroon and its youth.”
Almost everyone “firmly” rejects the practice of homosexuality and its supposed corollaries, pederasty and prostitution, which together are called “deviance,” “moral decadence,” “true aberrations,” “amoral,” “unacceptable,” “satanic,” etc.
Conversations are fueled by the topic of homosexuality at home, in churches and in the press.
Consider how the Cameroon Tribune responded to the Amnesty International’s Jan. 24 report on human rights in Cameroon, which urged the repeal of Cameroonian laws against homosexuality and the release of LGBT prisoners.
For Amnesty International, those actions are a matter of human rights. But many in Cameroon see the issue differently.
Yves Atanga, the Tribune’s editor-in-chief, wrote a front-page article titled “Human rights in Cameroon: Amnesty’s false accusations. (Droits de l’homme au Cameroun: Le faux procès d’Amnesty).”
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