Africa On the Pink Line


...Thus was the Pink Line drawn: between those places increasingly integrating queer people into their societies as full citizens, and those finding new ways to shut them out now that they had come into the open.


Two weeks ago, Sudan announced that the whip and the noose would be removed as penalties for sodomy, amidst a raft of human rights reforms. The crime itself remains on the books, with prison time rather than lashings or the death sentence as punishment. But the move was an important symbolic gesture of the new government's intent, as articulated by the US-educated justice minister, Nasreldin Abdelbari: "We are keen to demolish any discrimination that was enacted by the old regime and to move toward equality of citizenship and a democratic transformation."

In fact, the Sudanese state uses public order laws rather than the hard-to-prove sodomy law when it wants to control queer people. But by adding this symbolic reform to others (banning female genital mutilation and allowing women to travel with children without spousal permission), the government of Abdalla Hamdok signaled its wish to migrate across what I have called The Pink Line: a global human rights frontier around sexuality and gender that...


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