2 January 2016

Malawi: Gay Man Comes Out - 'Either Kill Gays or Give Us Rights'

A Malawian man has come out in the hopes of triggering a response from the government on the issue of gay rights.

Eric Samisa, 26, told Times TV the situation for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the country had become untenable.

Malawi News also carried the story and quoted Samisa as saying: "The homophobic government should either kill and eliminate gays, or give them their rights."

Sambisa was detained briefly by the police after his interview was published online and broadcast on TV. He has now gone into hiding.

Homosexuality is illegal in Malawi and attracts a prison sentence of 14 years. But government has suspended the law pending review on whether to decriminalise or not.

Sambisa told the weekly newspaper that the advent of social media has simplified the networking of gays in Malawi as they are able to find partners in private groups on Facebook and WhatsApp. He says he knows about 200 gays in Blantyre and about 20 lesbians.

They find mates among themselves, and Sambisa said they even have a secret church where a pastor comes to minister to them without the judgement of the traditional Christian church.

Sambisa and another gay man identified as Fortune, 35 also hailed a Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) approach reaching out to one LGBTI member who in turn brings his friends, which allows for the organisation to target them with HIV and other interventions.

"We get training on the dangers of unprotected sex, we also get condoms and lubricants to use during sex from Cedep," said Fortune as quoted by the paper..

Malawi requested for around K180 million from The Global Fund for Tuberculosis, Malaria and HIV and Aids to support activities such as testing, counselling and treatment, condoms and prevention of risky behaviour programs.

But Sambisa expressed fury at this request, saying Malawi government gets so much money in the name of the LGBTI community that actually never reaches them in any way.

Malawi

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