Liberia’s LGBT Community Seek Rights Ahead of Int’l Day against Homophobia
Report by Al Varney Rogers, [email protected]
Monrovia – In Liberia, mentioning the rights of homosexual and bi-sexual is considered a taboo, while engaging in such practice is a criminal act under the law.
But Rights groupings in Liberia are advocating for the inclusion and rights of minority communities which includes Lesbian, Gay, Bio-Sexual and Trans-gender (LGBT) people.
Action Aid-Liberia in collaboration with Stop Aids in Liberia (SAIL) is using the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia which is slated for May 17 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people in Liberia and elsewhere.
Evan Adofo, Program Manager of SAIL, said the celebration is created social consciousness and it is observed around the world.
Adofo said there are too many discrimination, abuse and violence against LGBT people face globally.
“We have to engage State actors, even though there are laws but we have to make them to understand that LGBT are humans,” Adofo said.
The SAIL Program Manager said the celebration will bring people to the table who are anti-LGBT and those who are supporting LGBT to begin the conversation.
“There is a global conversation and we (Liberia) cannot be out of that conversation,” Adofo said.
A transgender woman preferred to be called Ricco narrated how she has been arrested and put in jail several times for her sexuality.
Ricco said members of the LGBT community are denied access to healthcare and access to justice.
“I have been to the police station, arrested and put in jail, my only charge is that I am a gay,” Ricco said.
Ricco is calling on lawmakers to repeal laws that criminalize same-sex, adding that they are being stigmatized and discriminated against.
“In the near future I want to see a transformed mind (Liberians) and to see it as our fundamental rights, people need to respect the right of others,” Ricco said.
But Pastor Solomon Joah believes that there should be no space for such people In Liberia, describing LGBT people as criminals.
“I don’t know we have such people in this country, the day I see one that will be his last day walking free, I will arrest a gay if I see one, they are criminals,” Pastor Joah said.
The religious leader averred that the idea of homosexuality is foreign to Liberia, and maintain that there are laws on the books that prohibit such sexuality in the country.
“Maybe people have rights in America to do evil but in our country, we have our laws,” Pastor Joah said.
“For the safety of our people and children, such things have no place in our country they are not good human beings, they are dogs.”
The Clergyman considers the situation of homosexuality as a non-human rights issue, claiming that Western nations are forcing the rest of the world to adjust its mind to wrong.